FRIENDS, oh dearest friends, we just finished a month of diving into truly discovering a deep steadfast LOVE for ourselves, our stories, and our bodies to start off 2018 with a giant bang!! BOOM. But now, I want to go into another month long kind of series, because I feel inspired by a particular topic that I thinkkkk might interest you too.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Dating lessons from the Breakup-ee. You guys LOVED this post, and I am so very thankful to everyone who read it. Relationships have been a particularly important topic to me over the course of this last year [and more!] and because of that I have decided to make February the month of LOVE and RELATIONSHIPS. ALAS! I will be dedicating every post in February to talking about the topics of dating, love, and heartbreak.
To start, I figured there was no better way than to do a follow up to my post,Dating lessons from the Breakup-ee and speak to the hardest lessons I learned from HEARTBREAK… in general. Aka, a cumulation of breakups that stung, but taught me a whole heck of a lot! Though they can be extremely painful, I don’t only think, I KNOW that there is so much God wants to show us through these times of hardship. Throughout all of my breakups, God revealed Himself to me in incredible ways, more intimately than ever before. I haven’t always done it perfectly right away, but over time I have seen how the only way to heal is to look to Him to put back together the pieces of my fragile heart. I believe wholeheartedly that it is truly through hardship in which we grow in deeper intimacy with the Lord.
So!! I have decided to give you some insight into the beautiful yet simultaneously somewhat painful realizations I have learned through heartbreak over the years and how it has helped me on an even greater level in preparing my heart properly for the future. My hope is that whether you have just gone through a breakup, have been hurt by relationships in the past, OR are in a relationship currently, this will also encourage you to rethink some of the priorities in dating and love.
TRUTH, I wrote the entire post but it was actually far too long to post in one, so I am breaking all of this goodness up into TWO parts! Twice the goodies. Twice the fun!
DISCLAIMER: This is a post about learnings from heartbreak experienced over time, not any one specific.
Priority #1- A deep and steadfast love for MYSELF
This is FIRST and FOREMOST, a#NONNEGOTIABLE. In past relationships I have struggled to know what this really means. I mean, really, truly and completely means. Without knowing a true love for ourselves first and foremost, we won’t stand a chance in relationship. We will expect too much of the other person. We will look to them to “complete us”. UGH. The movie Jerry McGuire just messed us up in all sorts of ways with that one.
Quick reality check here: NO PERSON WILL EVER COMPLETE YOU. Only God will complete you and be able to provide abundantly and fully for you and your heart. Only in Him can you be fully satisfied. Love is not some fairytale romance where we find our perfect soulmate that makes us feel like we are on top of the world. That sounds sweet, yes, but it is also unrealistic and a bit unsafe. They will add to our lives, but they will not complete our lives. We are fully loved and fully whole without them. We must get that right at the beginning.
Understanding an unshakable love for ourselves FIRST will help us to actually withstand the storms within dating. It will also allow us to hold our heads high during a BREAKUP, should that be the fate of the relationship. Knowing a deep and true love for myself that is first grounded in Jesus, has been the literal ONLY thing that pulled me out of the trenches and allowed me to view past breakups as protection and redirection vs. rejection… AMEN TO THAT! [insert praise hands here] Though let me tell you, it took many tries to get to that place.
All this to say, if you question love for yourself, or are unsure if you TRULY know how much the Lord loves you, my suggestion would be to work on sorting that out before even considering a dating relationship. Start by reading Ephesians 3 :14-21 and truly asking the Lord to reveal His precious love for you.
Infatuation can be misleading!
Infatuation often happens at the beginning of a relationship and involves a bunch of heart eye emoticons, starry eyed “oohs” and “ahhs”, and the endless feeling of butterflies. In the end, though, infatuation can create a point in which we fashion an idealized view of the other person based on feelings. And the unfortunate, but TRUE, part of infatuation is that… it does not last forever [sorry to be a buzzkill]. According to Gary Thomas, the author of the Sacred Search [LOVE this book], infatuation only lasts about 12-18 months. Yikes.
Many of us wait for that “once in a lifetime” magical moment when we will lock eyes with a person that instantly stirs our heart and soul. But alas, we actually are not meant to have someone complete our souls. From the bible we see that we are only complete in HIM. Infatuation makes us feel that we are so in love with a person that nothing could possibly be better than being with that said person for the rest of your life. But is that really the case?
Let.me.just.tell.you….. I was fully and completed infatuated in the past to the point of when it ended suddenly, I realized JUST how far deep into infatuation I truly was. Can you say #BLINDSIDED?! Infatuation can at times mislead you to believe you are more in love with a person than you might actually be. I am not saying that is always the case, but it should be closely monitored. To properly guide us through avoiding these sucker-punch situations, Gary Thomas says, we truly should focus on Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness”. If we are able to put this as our main mission in dating, instead of the typical infatuation starry eyed feelings we might be having, we will be able to have vision to see that person clearly as someone that God wants to partner us with for His glory.
In conclusion, infatuation is not bad, per-se, it just should be navigated with caution. Have a sip of the delicious red wine, but do not get carried away! [you get what I’m saying]
Be cautiously vulnerable.
This one has been a huge learning for me. Vulnerability creates connection and is a beautiful, amazing thing. But there is a caveat in relationships. A quick PSA. There is NO rush to share all the areas and aspects of your heart in relationship. Your heart is a tender, beautiful place that is deserving of being treasured AND protected, see Proverbs 4:23.
While it takes so much courage and boldness to be vulnerable, revealing too much too soon is potentially doing your heart a disservice. Your story is precious and though vulnerability can be so wonderful, it is also important to discern with the spirit the best timing for vulnerability. One of my mentors has always advised me that many things can wait to be revealed until before marriage, and I highly agree. In the past, I often was to be an open book of information spewing all areas of my past and deep dark hidden secrets. I have learned that this has often not been the best for my heart because it exposes me until I feel almost naked. Sounds a bit terrifying, ya?
All this to say lovely friends, being vulnerable can be a really great thing, but just make sure to do it steadily, and with discernment and wisdom so as to properly guard your heart. Focus on being a slow and steady stream instead of a rapid crazy waterfall of words. K?
Check yo’ commitment level
This might seem obvious, but if you are NOT married, you cannot act like you are married. I’d like to bold and underline that one 10 times over, shoot! You see, if anyone else is like me, I tend to be an “all in” kind of person. Once the switch flips ON and I am confident in my desire to be with that person, I tend to give 110% of myself. EEEECK this is where I have to stop you with a giant RED FLASHING LIGHT in relationships. Caution Caution Caution! Yes, there is something so beautiful about being committed, but I want to challenge you that you can be committed while also not 110% invested.
As women especially, we tend to rush into being ALL IN and showing the man how we will be the perfect wife for him. But here’s the thing, does he actually have grounds to deserve being given all of your amazing fruits as a wife when he hasn’t committed to you for life through the covenant of marriage? You think it may be “nice” to show him how amazing you are, but also, since when did you have to spend your days proving yourself to someone else in the hopes they will marry you? If this is you at all, let me just tell you there is so much freedom in knowing that God will ignite on both your hearts if your union is better together for Him. You don’t have to worry about the end result. Stop trying to impress them at great lengths with all that you are and have to offer, and start realizing that you are a treasure worthy of being pursued and God will dictate the outcome!
Until marriage, our hearts and our time should be spent fully invested in Jesus. Singleness is not a plague, it is actually a gift. SO much of what God wants to show us and teach us can only be done in singleness.
“I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:32
This is not about playing games, it is about getting your priorities straight in dating. Jesus is #1. He is your first love. He is what completes you. You must be more dependent on Jesus and have your WORTHINESS centered in Christ. If you are 110% invested in a man, I can pretty much guarantee when that relationship ends you will fight feelings of worthiness and rejection way more than if you had limited your investment and focused on Jesus first and foremost.
You may, or may NOT be friends
And either outcome is OKAY. How many of you have had a breakup that ends where the breakup-er wants be friends? You better believe I am raising my hand behind this keyboard right now. While I am not here to reject that idea completely, I am here to say that you really have to aware of the status of your heart before making that decision. I recently just found restoration with an ex boyfriend from years ago and it has been SO incredibly beautiful, healing and redemptive. God truly has given me new eyes to see him as a brother in Christ, whom I care for greatly as just a friend, and nothing more. This took time and lots of healing, but eventually we got there. It truly is a beautiful blessing.
However, compare that to a more recent relationship I went through, I venture to say I am not sure I will get to that same place. Only time, and Jesus’s powerful healing will tell what the end outcome will be in terms of friendship. But the thing I have learned is this: LISTEN to your heart. Even if you miss and long for the friendship with that person, you could be doing yourself a severe disservice by jumping into friendship too quickly. You might convince yourself you are fine, but then find yourself secretly holding onto false hope through interacting with them.
Take it from Exhibit A: MOI- Yes hello that was me! In the past I would ride an emotional rollercoaster every time I saw my ex’s name come up. “Maybe he was going to tell me he missed me?”. After some time, I discovered the courage to face what was truly happening and found strength in my heart to cut it off completely. Now I can see his name without feeling uneasy. Praise God for time & healing!
In many cases, the healthiest thing emotionally and spiritually after a breakup is to create some space and boundaries. Cold turkey, buh byeeeeee. It may not last forever, but often times it is the safest place for your heart to truly heal and let God work at changing the way your heart sees the other person.
Okay friends that is IT for today, 5 of the 10 hardest lessons from heartbreak. Another disclaimer, my advice is not the end all be all. I do not claim to have it all together or know ALL the things. These are the main things I have learned through many experiences, that I felt could possibly be helpful for you! Please read them and only use them based on what you feel is also right for your heart. What I do know is dating is to not be taken lightly and the more we can prepare ourselves to protect our hearts and seek health overall… the better!
….more to come soon!