Breakups can be difficult. It is a brand of pain with which everybody has been confronted at some point in life. This person in whom you have put all of your trust and confidence has left you. They no longer want anything to do with you because of a mistake that you made or because the circumstances do not allow you to be together at this particular point in your lives. This can be difficult. When people are confronted with this pain, they often flee to unhealthy ways of dealing with it. But when a Christian is confronted with pain, they should actively seek out biblical ways to deal with breakups.
The way that we behave during times of adversity is how we may measure our maturity. Anybody can behave maturely when everything is going well. Anybody can be a good Christian when they are not confronted with any struggles. It is easy to say, “I will die for the name of Christ” when nobody is threatening to kill you. It is easy to claim to want to live in righteousness when there are no temptations. It is easy to be mature when emotions are not overwhelming you. What sort of person are you going to be when you are confronted with pain? Are you going to find biblical ways to deal with breakups? I would like to survey a few of them. (When I say “biblical,” I am taking it to mean “in a way that corresponds with Christian wisdom and morality, rather than something that is explicitly derived form the text. The Bible does not say much about breaking up.)
Know When You Are Shielding Pain In Temptation
There are traps everywhere. It can be very easy to give into temptation when you need a few moments of relief. You may be very strongly inclined to turn to those old habits in which you used to take comfort. It may have taken you years to overcome them. But you overcame them, because you knew that they were wrong. Today, they are there and they are powerful. I understand that. But the reason that you abandoned them was because you realized that they do not provide real relief.
Perhaps you struggled with alcohol addiction, left it behind some time ago, and now the temptation is there for you to find that old friend. Perhaps you were addicted to pornography, sex, drugs, cigarettes, and you really want to just pick up that old habit. Well, you need to just take a step back and think about what you are doing. You are not helping anything. You are not resolving your pain. You are shielding your pain. You are making your problems worse. After you smoke that cigarette, you are going to be confronted with more guilt, disappointment, anger, and everything is going to be worse. But if you remain strong even in times of temptation, trusting in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, you will be overcome with righteousness.
Righteousness does not come with an emotional high. It does not get you stoned or drunk. It is about your character. What kind of person are you going to be? Are you a child of God? Then rely on Christ. Paul said in Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. He went on to say (v. 12-13), “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Express Your Pain In Healthy Ways
You have a lot of negative emotion during a breakup. Many people think that the way they need to deal with it is to just ignore it. They need to consume their minds in other things and forget about their emotion. That approach is not healthy and is often ineffective. Their powerful emotions will often overwhelm any other thoughts or activities. After periods of suppression, it will come out and be unbearable.
Rather, you should find healthy ways to express yourself. If you are a creative person, write a song or a poem about the emotion that you are feeling. Do not do it to impress anyone. Do not write a song that you can send to your ex in the hope that they will be wooed and take you back. Write a song so that you can express everything that is in your heart. If you cannot write songs or poetry, then just sit down and write. Open a Word document and just write out your thoughts. Express your emotions. Rationalize them. Ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way? Why am I tempted by this?” Invest yourself in logical thought. When you think about your breakup, think with your mind rather than your emotions.
Honor Their Request
If your ex has gotten to a point wherein they ask you to stop communicating with them, then do not try to override their decision. Do not continually petition them to change their mind. That will probably be more likely to push them away than to draw them to you. If they want you to leave them alone, they probably have their reasons for that. You should honor that out of respect for them. Do not approach, call, message them or e-mail them anymore. Just stop for a little while. If they want to contact you, then they will.
You might think that you just have so much to say. The truth is, though, that they probably do not need to know all of these things. They are probably more like whining and crying than rational thoughts. Even if they are rational thoughts, your ex does not need to hear them. If they want to hear them, then they will ask you. If you need to express them, then as I said, employ biblical ways to deal with breakups and find a healthy way to express your emotions. Write them out. You do not need to share them.
Get Out Of Bed
I do not know what sort of situation you are in. But sometimes in the midst of a breakup, people will be inclined to just stay in bed all day, dwelling on their misery and thinking about their ex, wishing that everything would change. That impulse to just stay in bed can be powerful. When you think about eating, you might think something like, “Why? What is the point?” Perhaps you feel like you have to force feed. If you are just laying in bed all day, dwelling on your negative emotions, you are going to drown yourself in negative emotions. So get up. Even if it takes every ounce of strength that you have, you should get up. Go to work or to school. Conduct your normal routine.
Perhaps you should add something new to your routine. There are some things that have helped a lot of people to overcome depression and negative emotions. Many people will take up exercising. If you are out of shape, then now is as great of time as ever to take up jogging. If you really do not feel up to jogging, then work your way up to it. You can do something. Go to the gym. Take up a hobby. Work on a project that you have been putting off.
The Body of Christ
It can be tempting to just ignore everyone and cut yourself off from the outside world. You feel as though you just want to be alone. By doing so, you are cutting yourself off from the source of comfort that God has ordained. God has decided that the church would be akin to a family. Of his disciples, Jesus said, “Behold my mother and my brethren!” (Matthew 12:49-50). The body of Christ is supposed to be there for you to lean on in difficult times.
They are there for you to express what you are feeling. They can also help you to analyze the situation logically rather than thinking with your emotions. If you relay your struggles to them, they can help you to work through your negative emotions by providing their insight. Since they are not experiencing the same negative emotion, they will have a helpful perspective and will be able to tell you what they would do or have done in a similar situation.
Many people who are struggling with a breakup are afraid of seeming like they are whining too much. While that line is certainly there (if you are intentionally just trying to get attention), if you are struggling, the body of Christ is there for you. This sort of pain often leads people to take comfort in things that they ought not. It often leads to sinful behavior. The body of Christ will serve as a guardian from that.
Rely On Prayer & God’s Sovereignty
I know what you are thinking when you read this headline. That is the same piece of advice that everybody gives you when you are going through a difficult time. Everybody tells you that God has a wonderful plan, that you should trust him and that you just need to pray more. I understand that you are overloaded with cliched advice. I have no interested in giving it to you.
Instead, I am calling you to think about what you are looking for. You are looking for love. You are looking for comfort. You are looking for a relationship. But you have spent so much time thinking that you will find their ultimate satisfaction here, on earth, in humans. But we only possess glimpses of them, and we often falter. We are borrowing comfort, love, and relationships. They ultimately come forth from God’s character. God is love, (1 John 4:8), he is comfort (John 14:16), and he has existed in perfect love and unity in a trinitarian relationship for all eternity.
All of these features that we seek after are borrowed from God. He is the archetype. He is the one from whom they are drawn. When our human relationships fail, it should cause us to incline ourselves to the perfect unity of the holy Trinity that has existed for all eternity. Then remember that God crushed his only Son on the cross for our sake. Imagine the words of despair as the Son, who has existed forever with the Father (John 17:5), as Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). He died in our place, suffering the death that we deserve (Romans 3:21-25) and three days later, he rose again. If you want to see a perfect relationship, a perfect heartbreak and a perfect Savior, look to the cross.
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