I want you to know that everything you said tonight made sense. You didn’t sound crazy or pathetic – you sound like a girl who just had her heart broken by the guy who you thought was the one – I know, because I have been there. It was constant, exhausting and hurt so bad it took my breath away… for weeks. There were days when Satan attacked my broken heart with lies, other times he used memories and other times it was a fleeting encounter with the ex. I get it. The love of your Savior, the presence of the Holy Spirit and that tattered Bible is your way back to wholeness. I’m sending you some clippings from my breakup diary, in hopes that God will use my story to encourage your healing.”
You were wrong. He lied. He found someone else. He didn’t love you like you loved him. He wasn’t good for you, so you ended things. The details of the relationship and breakup don’t really matter, because the end result of every breakup is usually heartbreak. And in our broken-hearted state, our natural reaction is tears, anger, bitterness, and denial.
But as women who are seeking after God shouldn’t our response to heartbreak look different from the world? Since we have the power and love of God, shouldn’t our recovery from a broken heart reflect Christ? But what is the biblical remedy for heartbreak? What does Scripture say about healing from boy/girl relationships?
A Time to Respond
“My heart is broken and bleeding. Because of the shattered state of my heart, I am relationally incapacitated. I am emotionally unavailable to all men. Even if I were to get one of those Hollywood romance scenes where my ex would appeared on my doorstep looking dreamy, holding a dozen roses, on one knee. If all of our former issues magically faded away. If he confessed how I was the best thing that ever happened to him and how if he cannot have me, he will become a celibate monk. If he proposed with a 2-carat platinum diamond ring from Tiffany’s. Even if all that happened, I wouldn’t be able to respond, because I am relationally incapacitated. My heart is broken. Not forever, but in the present, I am unavailable to everyone but God. Even if the man who broke my heart wanted me back, I am too hurt to be in a healthy relationship right now.” – Rachael’s Breakup Diary
Take time to respond to God. While the Bible doesn’t have a section specifically devoted to “recovering from relationship heartbreak,” it does have a lot to say about grief and mourning. No one is more experienced at sadness than King David, who devoted about 40 Psalms to the topic of lament. David prays, “[Lord] hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.” (Psalm 55:2), “Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.” (Psalm 86:6) and “I pour out my complaint before Him; before Him I tell my trouble.” (Psalm 142:2). In times of sadness, heartbreak and emotional pain, everything in Scripture tells us to cry out to God. Turn to Him with the shattered pieces of your heart – He alone can provide the comfort, love and healing you need.
It’s normal at the end of a relationship to experience loss. When you love someone and they leave, it hurts. As humans we do our best to avoid pain and hurt. And when it happens our flesh encourages us to react in the extreme; either wallowing in the pain for months on end or choosing to deny the pain and go on with life like nothing happened. Neither one is healthy nor honors God. As children of God, we are to turn to Him with our pain. We are to cope with heartbreak by the strength of the Holy Spirit in us. There will be tears, anguish, questions, and hurt, but the thing that should set Christians apart is that in our sadness we have a Savior. And it’s the comforting presence of that Savior that allows us to end our daily time of prayer just as David did – in praise. “And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!” Psalm 9:10-11
When we’re broken, the world tells us to ignore it and move on immediately. Satan goads us to get mad at God, be bitter, because we were hurt. But God is calling us to turn to Him in our brokenness and allow Him to grow something beautiful out of it – a closer relationship with Him. Brokenness can be the doorway that God uses to enter our hearts, remove self and make/mold us to be more like Him. Brokenness – whatever the cause – is an opportunity for God to do a big work in our hearts.
A Time to Reflect
“Break-ups are terrible. They turn sane, normal, adult women into four-year-olds. They say the two’s are terrible, but I would beg to differ. Two-year olds are charming as long as you aren’t their parent. But have you been around a four-year-old lately? All they do is ask “why?” It drives me crazy. Around the twenty-eighth “but why?” I just scream right back at them, “nobody cares why!” Yeah, that’s me. The four-year-old-screamer. My broken heart has turned me into a four-year-old who can only ask God “WHY?” eleven-hundred times a day. I am slowly driving myself crazy. Why do I keep analyzing the relationship? Why can’t I stop this incessant pursuit of closure?” – Rachael’s Breakup Diary
Ah, closure. That illusive phantom that follows relationships and drives normal women to bouts of angry questions and incessant sobbing. Our natural human curiosity drives us to seek answers as to why this guy went from being “the one” to being just another one. Now that our hearts have been broken, we long for this nice, neat ending where everything suddenly makes sense, so that our hearts will get a clue and move on. The reality is, while there are some people who have the talks and get closure, most do not. And even those who get to ask their ex ‘why?’ don’t usually find the answer very helpful. Because we don’t really want to know why, we just want to be happy again.
The truth is, when it comes to your broken heart, the only one who can truly give you closure is God. But closure doesn’t usually come in the form of answers, it comes from being with God. And it’s when we are in His presence that things become clearer and we can see bits and pieces of what God is doing in our lives. The Scriptural example of this is Job – a godly, wise and wealthy man in the Old Testament. God allowed Satan to test Job (Job 1-2) to the point that he lost his wealth, his children died, his wife cursed him, and he was afflicted with boils all over his body. Job understands grief and suffering. In the 40+ chapters of Job, he feels anger, despair, insult, abandonment, confusion, and humiliation. It isn’t til Job 38-41 that God finally replies. And He doesn’t provide the answers to all of Job’s questions. Instead, God questions Job, “Are you God, that you question Me?” And in the final chapter, we see Job get closure about everything that has happened to him, not because he got answers, but because he saw God clearly and fell on his knees in worship (Job 42:1-6).
You may get closure…you may not. God can give you closure and restore your broken heart, but we have to stop the incessant questions and just seek Him. There is a time for analysis and reflection, once our hearts have begun to heal. Then it’s wise to look back over the relationship, learn from past mistakes and see what to do differently in the next relationship. But first, time with Jesus.
A Time to Recover
“Lets face it, not dating right now is just common courtesy. I would carry all of my shatteredness and issues into the next relationship. No brother in Christ deserves a relationally incapacitated date. So, for the good of mankind, I am off men. And yes, my heart still screams “Won’t somebody love me?” But I don’t search for an answer, because I am not in a position to love anyone right now. So, there will be no revenge dating and absolutely no rebound dating. I am temporarily off the market. No boy deserves to have to tip-toe around the shards of my broken heart, even though he could get quite buff from shouldering all of my emotional baggage.” – Rachael’s Breakup Diary
Take time to recover, allowing God to restore your heart. Every heartbroken girl needs time when her only relationship is with her Savior. The length of time depends on the person and the level of emotional devastation, it could be a month, three or a year. But time alone with God is never wasted. And if Mr. Right happens along during that time, he will wait and respect you more for it.
Chick flicks make me mad. For many reasons, but especially when the token friends encourage the broken-hearted girl to “Get back out there! Just date and eventually you’ll be fine.” What a load of baloney. There should be no rebound relationships among God’s children, because they allow God to heal their heart, so when they begin the next relationship their heart is whole and the relationship is new.
For me personally, my indicator is cauliflower. I have rather strong feelings about my vegetables. I adore asparagus, broccoli and spinach. I absolutely detest carrots. I hate everything about them – the color, the texture, the flavor, the way they get slimy when you cook them. I hate it all. But I have no emotions regarding cauliflower. I never buy it. But if it’s in a dish, I’m not going to pick it out. I knew that I was ready to move on, that my heart had been healed, when my ex was cauliflower to me. When you love someone, it is easy to take that raging ball of emotion and turn it into hate. Loving or hating the ex means you’re still emotionally connected. Cauliflower means no anger, bitterness, sadness, or longing. You don’t burst into tears at the mention of his name. You don’t hate his new girlfriend. You don’t spend hours wishing for his hair to fall out. You don’t pray that he’ll notice you again. You don’t love or hate him other than general feelings for a brother in Christ. As an emotionally healed person, he is cauliflower to you.
Cauliflower doesn’t mean you have to be friends. It’s okay, and sometimes even healthy, to reject the request to “just be friends” with an ex. You can treat them with respect as a brother in Christ, but not allow them a place of significance in your life.
Most of us have experienced a break-up or heartbreak. And depending on how many break-ups you’ve experienced, the chance is high that at least one of them was bad. He broke your heart, and you’ve never quite looked at love the same way. Maybe you’re looking for the closure, the answers, the reason why it just didn’t work out, and you’re coming up short. Let me encourage you, from one heartbreak survivor to another, spend time with your Savior. Take the time to respond, reflect an recover. Allow Jesus to be the closure you so desperately need.
P.S. Jenn, the only remedy I can offer for heartbreak is Jesus. Time with our Savior heals any wound. Remember, God is present in your heartbreak. God is stronger than your pain. He is wiser than your angry questions. You are not alone. You are loved. – Rachael*
*Names changed for privacy