I recently received some great questions from a college student about relationships and dealing with breakups. While praying through her questions, I realized there are many ways in which I still idolize relationships. I want a guy to think I’m wonderful, a treasure, worthwhile… really I want to be seen as valuable. And the Lord keeps reminding me, that He is the only one who can- and already has- given me value. But! We must remember that it is a daily battle to find our identity in Christ. So often, I stop fighting against the lies of the enemy. I found an article by a seasoned jazz musician that explains this battle well – it’s long, but oh so good. The author, Fred Hamilton, says,
“When I met Jesus in 1973, I found the reason and purpose for existence. Jesus, Lord of Lords and King of Kings loved me, and ransomed me from a death penalty and I knew I would live in His kingdom forever. I thought that was the end of the struggle. I was unprepared for conflict. As a young Christian, I had not considered two very important things seriously enough. First, after we are born again spiritually we still live in fallen bodies made of flesh, which war against our spirit. Second, we are in a spiritual battle with a very formidable enemy who hates God and all of His ‘image bearers.'” –The Battle for Your Heart
Honestly, I wish there were “how to” answers to questions commonly asked (questions like- how can I move on post breakup, how can I make God my everything, how can I become a Godly woman?) because I really want those hurting or struggling to instantly feel better, but God keeps revealing to me that He cannot be contained in a formula. He is a passionate lover, a protective Father, and a pearl hidden in a field. For those dealing with disappointment or heartache – He is there, but He heals in His time, His way.
So… We do nothing? I thought this was a battle…
That does not mean that we simply sit idle in despair until God shows up. No way is that the case! There is a battle going on for our hearts, which means we must use the resources that God has given us so that we do not become an easy target for Satan during the healing process. Satan is smart and he is relentless. He sees our hurt as an opportunity to whisper doubts about God’s character… You may hear things like, “If God cares about you so much, why isn’t He giving you what you so desperately want? If God is really in control, then why did He let this happen? Do you really want to serve a God who doesn’t give you a say? Like why do you always have to do what He wants? You’re smart enough to figure out your life, and let’s be honest- you could do a lot better job than He is right now…” Yes, Satan will try to bait you into questioning God’s goodness, His sovereignty and His love.
The bad news is that we are not strong enough to fight the battle for our hearts on our own. But, the good news is really good:: we are not expected to fight the battle on our own! It is only with God’s strength that we can overcome, and through Christ who strengthens us, we can do all things. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says,
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
The Message says it like this, ” The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” So, when Satan tempts you to despair or question God- grab the sharpest sword a.k.a Scripture and slice through the lies of Satan with the Truth of God’s Word.
That being said, there are a few things I would recommend not doing when specifically struggling with a breakup or relationship disappointment. These things may seem innocent enough, but really can make you putty in the enemy’s hand.
Suggestions on what not to do post breakup::
#1 – Do not become bffs with Taylor Swift. It is so incredibly tempting! Homegirl has the best “I hate boys and am totally justified in doing so” jams, but I promise – singing/shouting at the top of your lungs “We are never EVER getting back together!” over and over again and then sobbing uncontrollably will only throw you further down into the black hole of self pity and despair.
“I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” -Psalm 13:6
#2 – Do not run out and buy a guitar so that you can become the next Taylor Swift. I mean, if you’re heartbroken, you might as well make some money off the whole situation- right? Plus, the feeling of showing Mr. Wrong what he’s missing out on seems soooo appealing… but just to be real – T. Swift already has that genre covered and you have never picked up a guitar before. Resist!
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” -Proverbs 19:11
#3 – Do not watch romantic comedies on repeat. So, your relationship tanked – might as well find some hope in the movies right? After all, it’s nice to know that it’s possible to find love and that some people are happy. Stop! Yep, stop right there. Romantic comedies are poison to the soul while you’re in this state of disappointment because instead of actually dealing with your feelings, you are simply numbing yourself momentarily. And, I’d just like to add that romantic comedies are fiction, a.k.a not true a.k.a simply meant to entertain- and will only set you up for future disappointment when your next boyfriend doesn’t measure up to McDreamy.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” -Romans 5:3-5
#4 – Do not find solace in his flaws. Suddenly you can see all the ways he so was not the right one for you. I mean c’mon- he dressed terribly, never really treated you as well as you would have liked, wasn’t actually that spiritual in retrospect, and surely God has someone much more handsome in store for you… Yikes. Do you really feel better? Maybe momentarily, but even if your old boyfriend had some serious flaws that you couldn’t see at the time, focusing on his shortcomings isn’t going to help you grow.
“If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.” -Luke 6:48-49, The Message
# 5 – Do not stop talking to God about what you’re going through. Be honest with Him about your feelings – no need to sugarcoat, He knows your heart. As much as it hurts, keep reading the Word- not merely to find a quick remedy, but with a desire to know more about the Creator of the Universe, the lover of your soul.
“You will seek me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13
“The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.” -Lamentations 3:25
Lastly, I want to leave you with a verse that God has brought to mind for the last month or so… It’s Isaiah 54:5:
For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is His name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
He is called the God of all the earth.
After reading this passage, you might be like, “huh?” but as strange as it might sound, and as hard of a concept as it might be to grasp – God keeps reiterating that He is my husband. Marriage was created to be a picture of Christ and the church. He is our Creator so only He can satisfy all of our needs. Plus! We can talk to Him like we would our husband, and we have to make an effort in the relationship to have good communication.
So, after all that, at the end of the day I want anyone struggling with a breakup, or really any life disappointment, to know – you are not in this alone, God is with you. He that began a good work in you will carry it through to completion. (Philippians 1:6)
As Chris August points out in his song “Battle,” we can have hope because the battle has already been won. When Christ died on the cross and rose again, He overcame death and sin on our behalf! If we believe in Jesus, then we are no longer slaves to the things that used to burden us – like the need to be successful in the eyes of others, fear of death, anxiety about being alone, and constantly wondering if God has a good purpose for our life. When we have a relationship with Jesus, we can be confident that He is working out all things for our good and His glory–> Romans 8:28.