I found him. Love came into my life, and it was incredible. We spent hours talking about getting married, where we’d work and live—all the fun stuff that felt so exciting because he’d be with me. I was 110 percent sure I’d have a family soon—my very own family. We’d planned on spending Thanksgiving with my crew and Christmas with his. Instead, I spent the holidays contemplating how to get over a breakup.
The dates for our plans keep coming, but he’s gone. Our plan to wear matching jogging suits in our seventies is gone. Vacations we dreamed about are gone. My best friend is gone. I was left not with the life I had been promised but with devastation instead. I’m sharing my story with you because, as the Church, we have the opportunity to encourage each other. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit at work. So here are the four steps I’ve discovered for how to get over a breakup:
1. Allow God to help you forgive.The Holy Spirit prompted me to forgive him way earlier than I expected. We both made mistakes, and God helped me see that. He reminded me again and again that Jesus looked on my sin, my imperfections, and still chose the cross. This was a chance for me to model the love and mercy Jesus shows me every day.
2. Share selectively. I didn’t share about my relationship on social media. It was private. I shared the news with my family and close friends. I also didn’t share when we broke up. I cried over coffee, made the late-night phone calls to my bestie, and grieved in front of God. Your heart is precious. Guard it against unhelpful opinions and comments.
3. Embrace the pain. What I wanted to know most after the elusive “why” was when I’d feel better. Christine Caine says, “You grow when you embrace the pain of recovery to truly become free.” I absolutely agree with her perspective. It took 12 weeks before I had a day when I didn’t cry. Heck, I still cry about it. But I don’t carry the weight of guilt or shame. I’m learning to let go.
4. Let go. I wanted to do anything I could to keep my guy around. I couldn’t imagine life without him. Holding on doesn’t do any good. Do I still love him? Sure. Do I miss him? Of course. And that’s okay! I don’t know what’s next for my life, but God does.
I had three very specific prayer requests after we broke up: a remote writing job, a house on my favorite street, and being able to serve at church with my sister. God answered every one of them. When things kept falling into place, my sister said, “Do you see how God’s lavishing His love on you? He sees you and delights in you!” I know He didn’t have to give me all that, but He did because He loves me. His love is unending and never-changing. Let go. Trust Him with your whole heart—He’s always faithful.
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:29-32 NLT
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Colossians 3:12-17 NLT