The day after the breakup a friend called to see how I was. Apparently I seemed more upbeat than they were expecting. I naively replied, “I’ve cried so much already, I don’t think I can cry any more.” If only that were true. Over the subsequent weeks it probably would have been easier to count the days I didn’t cry. After a while I got tired of crying. Tired of journaling. Tired of replaying everything from beginning to end. I started to wonder if God can really heal a broken heart.
“You know I am very upset. You know how much I have cried. Surely you have kept an account of all my tears.” (Psalm 56:8, ERV)
1. God Empathises With Your Heartbreak
The verse above came to me in the early days of journaling about the breakup and I remember that it made me cry even more! The thought that God had kept count of what seemingly felt like a river of tears was overwhelming. He noticed my sorrow; as lonely as a breakup can feel, I wasn’t alone. Nevertheless, it’s one thing for Him to have sympathy, but I questioned whether He had empathy. In essence, I questioned whether He really knew what it was like to have a broken heart.
It’s funny because as I write this, I’m reminded of the fact spiritual adultery causes God to experience the heartbreak of unfaithfulness on a regular basis. A heartbreak that is magnified because He knows it’s coming, yet still savours the good times as though heartbreak isn’t on the horizon. He wants a forever kind of love… with you. However, free will means He’ll never coerce you into staying in your spiritual relationship. Each time you leave, He’s forced to deal with the pain that your departure brings.
Too often we expect God to have experienced the exact same thing we’ve gone through in order for Him to know what it’s truly like. In reality, our experiences are probably more similar than we realise. In this case, the magnitude and frequency differ greatly in that I experience one breakup at a time and they happen years apart; whereas, He experiences several breakups at the same time… on a daily basis. Nevertheless, the resulting emotions of rejection, disappointment, and loss are a shared experience that He resonates with.
2. God Will Never Stop Pursuing You
I’ll blame it on Hollywood, but one of the things I’ve always wanted to happen post-breakup is the guy to realise he can’t live without me and do all the crazy things they do in films to make it happen. That didn’t happen. As someone that tries desperately hard and fails miserably at not attaching worth to breakups, it’s incredibly difficult not to take the absence of a post-breakup pursuit as a reflection on my worth. In other words, if I was worth ‘more’ then there would have been a post-breakup pursuit.
Not every relationship ends in happily ever after. Whilst the Hollywood-esque situation above may have happened if I was someone else, I had to accept that it’s ok that it didn’t happen. Relationships teach us what we want, and also what we don’t want. It took a while to process the fact that not being pursued wasn’t a bad thing; you can’t resent someone for not pursing something they realised wasn’t what they wanted after all.
There’s literally only one person that has, and always will pursue you: God. In God’s eyes, no matter how many times you break up with Him, He’ll always keep pursuing you. Your relationship wasn’t an opportunity for Him to evaluate whether or not you’re right for Him. He knew that already; it’s the reason He keeps chasing after you.
3. God Is Good
I’ve been writing this blog post over a protracted period and it was only last week that it dawned on me that God is good (in relation to the breakup). Not that He hadn’t been good, but rather that it was difficult to see His goodness in a situation that felt painfully similar to I Prayed About Him And God Said ‘Yes’.
You most likely praised God when your relationship was great. Well… it’s time to do so once again. As you fluctuate between the different stages of grief, know that God is present in each of them. Although He’ll be by your side regardless, acknowledging His nearness and His goodness will make a world of difference in your healing.
For some couples, they’ll break up and get back together months/years later. For others, goodbye is forever. Irrespective of how long you were together, know that right now, in this moment, God is good. Despite the absence of a relationship, the presence of your many blessings should bring you joy. The fact your last relationship ended may even be a blessing that you’re yet to appreciate.
- Cry – after the hasty statement in the intro, I realised that suppressing my emotions or forcing myself to heal ‘quickly’ wasn’t going to help. If you feel like crying, cry. Personally, my tears went hand in hand with a lot of journaling* which I found super helpful. Whatever you do, don’t bottle up your emotions!
- Connect – you and God have more in common than you know. If ever there was a time to lean into your relationship with God, it’s now! Tell Him exactly how you feel. Even if words fail you, rest assured He understands your tears.
- Challenge – you broke up for a reason, right? Challenge yourself to look at your relationship from every angle and not through rose-tinted glasses (read Owning My Mistakes). Once you’ve done your assessment/reflection, the next challenge is to use your singleness to work on the things you did wrong so you don’t repeat the same mistakes. If nothing else, your breakup must help you to grow.
*Outside of my usual journaling, I found the Self-Love and Mindset Shift sessions from Pen Therapy so helpful and needed. I’ve talked about Pen Therapy before via the newsletter and YouTube, but if you haven’t checked them out, head over to their website or Instagram @pentherapy.co.
If you’re going through/have been through a breakup recently, give yourself the space and time to heal. It pains God to see you sad, but He’s the one that will help you along to better days. There’s no ‘right’ way to heal, but I hope that these three reminders bring solace as you process your heartbreak.