When I’m in a place of heartbreak, I need some space to work through this. I talked about this yesterday, which you can read here. I also need to be selective about who I spend time with. Navigating the stormy seas of heartbreak warfare is hard, and it is almost impossible to do in a healthy way by yourself. Even if we don’t want to admit, we need people. This doesn’t make you “needy” as in the person who sucks the life out of a room, only takes and doesn’t give in friendships. It makes you a “needing person”, and it is healthy to admit you and I need other people in our lives.
When I am heart-broken, I choose to spend time with people who are emotionally healthy, and who really care about me. Jesus says, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample over them.” I wonder how may people share their heartbreak with people who act like pigs toward them, and trample them with advice, cliché statements, and maybe even a bit of condemnation. I want to be around some people who will walk with me through the fire, and not just leave me when I’m in the fire. I want to be with some people who will listen to me, and when the time is right, challenge and encourage me.
Here’s the challenge – you may wake up with heartbreak and realize you don’t have any close friends. If you pushed close friendships away, then you might feel relationally bankrupt. Who do you turn to so that you can work through this in a healthy way? The good news is heartbreak is not a bad place to begin laying a new foundation of friends, and re-prioritizing your life. (By the way, if you’re relationship history is to forget about friends as soon as you find “love”, then I suggest changing the way you go into relationships and create some boundaries to keep healthy friendships present next time you fall in love.) I’ve learned over the years that especially in heartbreak, I need to be selective in who I walk with through that time.
I Need To Be Selective
When I was in college, my pastor, Jeff showed me three circles of friendship. The outside circle is purely based on enjoyment. The middle circle is enjoyment and acceptance. The inner circle is based on genuine concern for each other. If you’re getting advice from someone who enjoys you, but doesn’t have genuine concern for your life, then their advice is not coming from a place of love for you.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people get hurt even more after a breakup because they listened to bad advice from the wrong people. When your heart is hurting, it is a lot easier to do something rash. Let’s face it. There are a lot of people who will tell you whatever you want to do is a good idea. This simply is not true. If you’re anything like me, then you need someone to talk some sense to you when you’re dealing with heartbreak warfare.
While I may be friends with many people, my inner circle is small. Being selective means my inner circle is made of people who I want to influence me. These are people whose character is trustworthy, and have a consistency in their life. The amazing thing about people like this is they love you for who you are. They also love you enough to tell you when the path you’re walking is heading for disaster.
Here are a few qualities I look for in selecting trustworthy people for my inner circle.
- They are stable. Their life is consistent. You know who they are, and what is important to them is clear. They don’t have to impress you, because your acceptance is not the most important thing in their life. Because of this, they are free to love you for who you are instead of loving you for what you can do for them.
- They speak the truth in love. What this means is they will say something to me that will sting now, to save me from greater pain later. Here is the trick. For the most part, it is difficult for someone to have an accurate view of your life if they haven’t spent time with you. I’ve known a few people who wanted to “tell the truth” to people too much. They had a chip on their shoulder. Also, I’ve run into some people who like to control others, and once you give them an inch to speak into your life, they assume ownership. One way to recognize this is to see how people respond when you hear their advice, but don’t do what they say. If they play power games with you after that, then get away from them. However, if they will say something that stings now, but you know the intention in their heart is good, you don’t have to run from them. Even if their advice misses exactly where you are and does sting a bit, you might want to thank them for having the courage to say something hard to you.
- They will pray for you. When a person prays for me, it tells me they are genuinely concerned for me, and it also shows me they trust God’s plan for my life more than their plan for my life. It shows me their advice isn’t about controlling me, but they do care about me. Prayer is as a check and balance for a person giving advice. It is as if they are saying, “This is what I think is best, but I want you to ultimately be guided by God in this.” When we pray, we are consciously inviting God to help us navigate the difficult places in life. Prayer is a way to submit my wants and desires to God, trusting that God knows what is better for my life than I do.
Navigating the stormy seas of heartbreak warfare is hard, and it is almost impossible to do in a healthy way by yourself. Being selective in friendships may be difficult now, but it will pay off over the long haul.
Who do you surround yourself with when you are broken-hearted? What are the characteristics you look for in others to help you work through heartbreak?