(Author’s Note: This is for the broken-hearted. If your love life is working great, for this blog, feel free to move on. Why? Because life is working really well for you right now, and you might want to share some advice with the broken-hearted about future relationships or a cliché with them about how it will all work out, but broken-hearted people don’t want to hear those things. I’ve never had even one moment when my heart was broken where I wanted to get advice on how to do relationships better, or where a cliché like “everything happens for a reason” was even remotely helpful. There’s a time for advice, and maybe there’s a place for the cliché sayings but there’s no real place for cliché sayings in a world that is filled with real difficulty. If you don’t have the perfect thing to say, it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with simply listening to someone. Don’t you love people who take time to listen?)
What do you do when you’re broken hearted? I’m not sure why, but it seems like this time of year more break-ups happen than otherwise. Maybe it isn’t even a break-up, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going through heartbreak warfare. Maybe you were head over heels in love with her, and she didn’t feel the same way. It is amazing how in one moment, we can go from the top of a mountain of hope, to the deepest part of a valley that feels empty and dark. One of the things I have to remind myself is, “This is not forever, even though it feels like this pain is going to last forever.” This works better for me than listening to James Blunt. I’d rather listen to John Mayer, whose song Heartbreak Warfare, I stole for this blog.
I wanted to write to you today who are broken-hearted. I don’t have all of this heartbreak warfare stuff figured out. I am 29 and single. I enjoy my life for the most part. I do have people who ask me when I’m going to get married, and am wondering why I haven’t “settled down” in that sense. And I’m sitting here going, “Settle down? Never! Pioneer forever!” Anyway, I have experienced some highs and lows in the dating world specifically from college until now. No offense to the high school days, but the stakes are much higher from college on. As of now, each time it doesn’t work out with a girl, I have the joy of telling my family and close friends (who are almost all married) it didn’t work out. When I do, I get to see their disappoint that it didn’t work out with “her”. I’m thankful to have people who care deeply, but it remains difficult still. So for all of you who are going back to the drawing board in dating, this one is for you.
I Need Some Space
Something I’ve learned is that I need some space when heartbreak first happens. I usual am not the most rational person in that moment. While I haven’t tried to cancel Christmas yet, I have been surprised by how I respond emotionally.
I go through all the emotional spectrum. I think we all do, unless you have a coping mechanism to numb out from all of the pain. Without going through the spectrum of emotion, I don’t believe we can move forward and heal. I used to feel like I couldn’t let myself really be sad. I always felt like I had to be happy, and make sure I was there for everyone else. But that me wasn’t real, and people couldn’t really connect with the “always happy me.” Since then, I’ve learned that God really did make every part of my emotions, and they are within me for a reason. It is hard for me to let myself go to the sadness still, but sometimes, that’s exactly where I need to be. Sad. Angry. Confused. Hurt. Disappointed. Strangely hopeful. Angry. Sad. Confused. Strangely hopeful. Hurt. Confused. Disappointed. Sad. Angry. Disappointed. As humans, it is good for us to feel, and to feel deeply. This is why I love the Psalms, especially, Psalms 121, Psalm 130, and Psalm 131. (One thing I’ve found helpful is going to the Bible App (YouVersion) and listening to Psalm 119.)
Anytime I didn’t let myself work through the emotional spectrum, I ended up doing something I wish I didn’t do. Isn’t this where a Rebound comes in? Isn’t this where we’re looking for something to numb the pain? There isn’t enough pizza, whiskey, or porn in the world to make the pain go away. You can numb out, check out, and pretend all you want, but at the end of the day, we’re not moving forward in until we work through the pain.
The part about remembering this pain is not forever is important, because this lets me use the space in a better way. Here are some things I found helpful in the broken hearted space.
I need some space to listen and pray. For me this means, I may be playing some Hillsong, and taking a few walks. Sitting at home and binge-watching Netflix isn’t healthy for me. I’ve got to get some space to listen and to pray. Sometimes, this means just getting quiet, and maybe sitting by the lake or a fire. God uses water and fire in great ways to heal us.
I need some space to read, listen, and respond. This means I’m going to read on the promises of God. If you’re looking for some places to go to, here are a few places I go in that time. (Psalm 3, 23, 73, 112, Isaiah 40-66, Romans 8, 2 Corinthians 1, Ephesians 2, and Luke 15, John 13-17.) I have to make sure I’m getting my heart established on God. I want that to be true always, but I feel shaken during this time, and I want to remind myself God is not done with me, even if that person is.) Sometimes, I want to listen to the Word. Sometimes, I want to read a book by Don Miller, Francis Chan, or Bob Goff.
I need some space to serve somebody. God made us so that when you serve others, we will feel more joy. This doesn’t mean overtime I serve someone, I feel more joy, but I find more joy when I’m helping others.
I need some space to feel. This may sound weird, but I need some space to feel my way through what is happening. If I have some friends who can ask me some questions to lead out what is in my heart, then I can talk with them. If I don’t have those friends close to me, then I may go see a therapist who can ask some questions to help me feel through it, and then re-frame what is happening.
I need some space to be with friends. When your heart is broken, you may not want to be with your friends, because you might feel like you’re draining them. That’s how I feel. I have to remember my friends love me for who I am, not for how funny I am, or the perspective I can share with them. This may mean going on a road trip, going to dinner, going to church, going to a Thunder game, or going camping with them. I want to do some things with people. As time goes on, this will help normalize what is happening with me.
There isn’t a timeline for everything to be okay. We don’t have to work through this overnight. I have to remind myself, “I don’t have to work through all of this right now, but I am going to work through some of this now.” If you’re broken-hearted right now, hang in there. This is not forever, even though it feels like this pain is going to last forever.
What do you do when you’re broken-hearted? How do you work through heartbreak warfare?