"I can’t do this anymore."
"Things aren’t working out between us."
"I’ve found someone else."
You left. He left. You broke up, separated or got divorced. No matter who initiated the breakup, it's the end. It's over.
And it hurts.
Whether you were together a long time or a short time—whether it was true love or a holiday romance—losing a significant person in your life is difficult.
If you're going through a dating relationship breakup or divorce, or know someone who is, this post is for you. Breaking up can be a heart-wrenching season in your life. And who really prepares you for the fallout? There’s no Breakup 101 class. (Hmmm, maybe I should start one.) No one schools you in how to deal with rejection, or handle anger or manage the frustration that often comes with the end of a relationship.
How do you handle these myriad feelings? How do you make the pain go away?
To help navigate the rocky emotional waters of a breakup, here are five helpful ideas to consider:
1. Feel so you can deal. If you're like most people, you want to get out of misery and back into joy and peace as soon as possible. But sometimes they block the healing process by stuffing their emotions. They hold it all in, and don't share their pain with anyone. They attempt to assuage the feelings of rejection, guilt, anger—or whatever the emotion—with substitutes (like eating too much, drinking too much, isolate themselves or ways). And soon the heart is numb; it's as frozen as a Minnesota lake in January. Rock solid. The problem is, if you don't deal with your emotions, you stay stuck in the pain and the past. But if you feel your feelings, and let them out in appropriate ways, you walk forward—inch by difficult inch—into healing. So talk to a trusted friend, journal your feelings, or go for a long walk or bike ride and talk to God about your stuff.
2. Deal with anger. We all get angry once in a while and that's normal. But when we ignore it, hide it, or express anger in out of control ways to destructive extremes then it's a problem. You may feel angry, but don't give in to rage, hostility, or violence. Ephesians 4:26, 27 reads, "'In your anger do not sin': Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
3. Deal with feelings of rejection. No matter how hard someone tries to choose their words as they are giving you the relationship send-off, rejection hurts. Whether you were together two weeks or two years, being rejected can leave you feeling unwanted, insecure, or "less than." When you feel rejected, it's important to remember two things: there's "what happened" and "what you tell yourself" about what happened. Often, a guy is not rejecting you as a person, but making a choice on the best fit for him (just as you make a choice on what’s the best fit for you). Not being chosen doesn't mean you’re not acceptable. You are still worthy and wonderful whether the other person realizes it or not. You may not feel very wonderful right now, but don't let what someone else thinks erode your sense of self.
Besides he may have his own issues to deal with too. When a guy says, "It's not you, it's me" you may want to believe him. On the other hand, you may have things in your own life you want to change, like attitudes, beliefs or actions that are preventing you from lasting love. No matter who initiated the breakup, you will always be significant and important in the eyes of the One who loves you most.
4. Deal with fear. At times, the end of a relationship can put ideas into one's head: What if I'm making a mistake by leaving him? What if no one ever loves me again? What if I'm too old, too fat, too boring, or too whatever to ever find lasting love?
Fear can hold you back from moving forward and taking risks in the future. It's important to know that while some fears are founded, others are irrational and will never come to pass. The Lord wants you to be free from fear, worry, and obsessive reasoning. He wants you to trust Him. When you do, you will find greater freedom, peace, and joy.
5. Let go of the lies; hold on to God's Truth. Here are some common lies that people believe that keep them stuck in post-breakup pain: I am nothing without you. I must have this person in order to be happy. My life is over.
While your relationship with another person has ended, it's not the end of you. Keep reminding yourself of the truth, because truth combats lies like light combats darkness.
Know this, my friend: You matter to God. He has unending love for you. You are enough, and you are worth being loved well. Indeed, your love life matters to God. He is still in control and He is leading you on a path to good purposes.
That's why it's so essential to know God's Word, so you can "take every thought captive to be obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5).
You have the choice to entertain thoughts or boot them out. Just as you would get an unruly guest out of your home, you have every right to throw unwanted thoughts out of your head. Usher them out with God's truth which will give you all the resources you need—His strength, power and wisdom—to do what is right instead of what you feel.
Your feelings don't have to control you. You can challenge false beliefs, reject lies, and choose to live in the power of God’s truth.
Letting go of someone you cared about isn't easy. But as you release everything to God—and surrender your fears and feelings and hopes and dreams—he heals your love-weary heart. He lays down a new path.
When you let go, you hold on to hope to Christ and you make room for healing and for better days ahead.
As you release your grip on whatever it is that you are holding on so tightly, and replace it with Jesus (and his unchanging truth), He will restore your weary, wayward or willful heart and lead you to brighter days and renewed joy.
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