Two words you never want to hear or say to the person you love most. Let’s face it: Relationships are hard work, and sometimes, despite our best efforts, they just don’t work out.
Cue the nights filled with tear-soaked pillowcases, sleepless nights, swollen eyes, and huge waves of emotion that feel like they are going to swallow you whole. We’ve been there (trust us!). Your “well spring of life” has sprung a leak and you are drowning … in sorrow and heartbreak!
Everything feels like it will never be the same, and in some ways, it won’t be. If you’re like me, you’ve got about 1,896 questions about what to do after a breakup.
Remember that “trust game” you played as a kid, in which you fell backwards and trusted your friend to catch you? Your heartbreak might have you reeling, and falling backwards out of nowhere, but you have someone to catch you: Jesus.
Here, we will share a few pivotal steps that can help you bounce back after a devastating breakup … and use it as a guide to your breakthrough.
1. Invite God into the pain.
The shock has worn off and you’re left with this ache — a pain so real no one could convince you it’s not actually physical.
One of the first things to do after a breakup is to invite God into the pain — right in the center of it. If you went to a doctor for a broken bone, you wouldn’t hide it from them; you would tell them where it hurt. You’d describe the pain and trust them to help you heal. Take God to your heartbreak and point Him to where it hurts the most. Tell him about it. He cares more than you know.
The Bible says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
Take your broken heart and your crushed spirit and draw closer to God; feel the hope that comes from knowing you can find healing even while you are hurting, peace even while you have pain, truth even as you are being tested, and joy in the absence of happiness.
2. Turn your love inward.
If you could love this person that much, then imagine how much healing you could do if you loved on you as much as you loved on them. When we are in relationships, we can sometimes forget to love ourselves just as much as the other person. However, the Bible says to “Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)
After loving God, loving yourself is a prerequisite to loving your neighbor. You have to know how to love yourself first in order to know how to love your neighbor properly. So make a list of the things you did to love them, and then make a list of ways you can demonstrate that love to yourself. Saturday nights used to be date night? Turn it into spa night or sign up for that new Zumba class you’ve been meaning to go to. Sometimes it’s about rewiring the narrative we tell ourselves about love. Know that love isn’t exclusive to romantic relationships. God is love, so you can never lose it.
3. Look for the lessons.
Another hurdle after a breakup can be overcoming the feelings (and anger) of having “wasted time.” Know that God never wastes an experience — there is always purpose, even in our pain. Take time to ask God for clarity to see the situation the way He does, and list out the lessons and revelations you receive. What you are getting in this season is going to make you wiser, stronger, and more prepared for the next season, but there are some things God needs you to know before you get there.
4. Forgive yourself, and the other.
Whether it’s forgiving the person or forgiving yourself, often wishing things were different than they are keeps us stuck in a cycle of unforgiveness, blame, guilt, and living in the past. These are the very things God wants to free us from. We are each imperfect and so even the best relationships are … well, imperfect. In seeking God, we gain access to a level of humility, mercy, forgiveness, and grace that heals us and allows us to move forward — with purpose. If you are struggling to forgive, try prayer journaling. Write out your thoughts and any barriers to forgiveness. Look for areas where you can offer grace to yourself or others. Ask God to help you remove unforgiveness so that you can move forward to what’s next and free yourself of that weight.
5. Move forward.
The last thing to do after a breakup is to move forward. The key to getting over a breakup is to go through it. Congrats, you made it through! Now the question is — for what?
We’ve said all along “your pain has purpose,” so now that you’ve made it to the other side and you’ve got the healing, the lessons, the love, and forgiveness, ask yourself, how is God calling you to use those experiences for His glory?
… Maybe it’s a stronger foundation for your next relationship. Maybe it’s a testimony for a friend? Maybe it’s a blog you’ll write to share how he healed and restored you? Or maybe, it’s all of the above and more (like me!).
As you move forward in your healing, honor that chapter of your life, honor the love you had, because those lessons, that pain (and even the heartbreak), God can use to mature your faith, grow your self love, and give you a healing encounter with God that will change your life.
Aria Bias is a servant leader who resides in Washington, D.C., and has a passion for God and God’s people. Her greatest desire is to help others to see who God has called them to be more clearly and to help them identify their purpose through practical applications founded on biblical principles. She is at her best when she is loving on God’s people, sharing an inspirational word of encouragement, and using life experiences to reflect God’s glory. Some of Aria’s favorite things include nature trails, travel, concerts, and italian food! Follow her on Instagram @gracefully_becoming