Thursday, July 28, 2011

How Do You Deal with Heartbreak?

Today's post is taken from a article co-written by Cliff Young and Laura MacCorkle. The "He Said-She Said" is a monthly advice column featuring a question from a reader with responses from a male and female point of view. Cliff and Laura offer great godly advice on dealing with the inevitable breakup.

QUESTION: My question is to help anyone, born again and followers of Christ, who are in a similar situation as this. How should we deal with heartbreak? How do you get over the other person when there is a disadvantage that you see that person every so often (such as church or work), and you cannot escape?

Heartbreak is difficult and not something that is easily “gotten over,” nor should it necessarily be.

Many of us spend years searching for our lifelong spouse and once we (think we) locate “that” person, we open our heart and lives in an attempt to love and be loved. When our feelings are not reciprocated in the way we hope or want, we are heartbroken and need to take a period to heal, in our own time and in our own way.

What I have discovered through “trial and error” (a.k.a. dating) is most relationships don’t work out (surprise!), and it would be beneficial for us to learn from and learn how to manage break-ups since we may encounter them again.

For many of us, it is a day to day journey of struggle, heartache, emotions and growth. Some journeys will be easier than others and some may last longer than others (oftentimes depending upon which side of the break-up you are on). However, your journey can and will lead to peace if you refrain from holding onto bitterness, spite, envy, jealousy and anger against your former “interest.”

Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37).

We may “think” we are hurting someone by having ill feelings toward them. In reality, we are only hurting ourselves by delaying our grieving, healing, forgiving and growing process. We shouldn’t be acting or reacting like those of the world (and as we see on television reality shows), but rather living according to the instructions the Lord gives us in his Word.

The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love. (1 Cor. 13:13, NIRV).

This passage comes from the end of the “marriage chapter” (where many marriage vows originate), and probably isn’t frequented much after a break-up. However, we are told the most important things to have are faith, hope and love, of which love is the greatest.

This doesn’t just apply to those getting married, but is also wise counsel in every situation (even heartbreaking ones), for those desiring to be married.

Have faith God has plans for you to prosper and not harm you (Jer. 29:11).

You may never know or understand why the break-up happened; however, God may be protecting you from this person, He may want you all to himself at this time or he may have someone better suited for you. Whatever the reason, God knows our beginning, the middle and the end and truly wants the best for us, as our Father. Have the faith to recognize it, believe it and live it.

Place your hope in God and his Spirit, not in someone else (Rom. 5:5).

It may be difficult to do at times, but placing your hope in a perfect God is a better decision than giving your life to a fallible human. God continually shows this to be true in ways we can’t even fathom and hope placed in him does not disappoint. I’m not sure we can say the same about others, or ourselves.

Show love for everyone (including your “ex”) (Matt. 5:43).

Love in today’s society seems to be so fleeting and have no basis at times. The love God teaches us is neither selfish nor affected by emotions or situation, but rather loves through all things, including trials, faults and disappointments.

I have had my share of heartbreaks, but I can honestly say when all was said and done, I truly wanted what was best for the other person and I was able to pray she would find love and happiness apart from me. That is when I knew I had a grasp of what Jesus meant with regard to unconditional love.

The most difficult part, as you have mentioned, is to see your former interest around work or at church, especially if he or she is with someone else. However, when you reach that point in your healing and forgiveness process when you will want the other person to be happy even if it doesn’t include you, you will find a peace that really does transcend all (human) understanding.

This isn’t an easy process, it will take time and there is no perfect “formula,” but it all begins with releasing any negative feelings you have toward your former partner, forgiving them for whatever wrong they may have done, asking the Lord to heal you of your hurt and pain and holding onto hope, faith and love.

When the next opportunity comes around, and there will be more, you will be better equipped to handle whatever that situation holds.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18).

Maybe it’s because I came of age in the ‘80s, but Def Leppard’s “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” kept ringing in my ears the first time I read through your question. Now that has nothing to do with my answer right now. But hey, it’s a catchy intro. And it’s honest, right?

Moving on …

I remember dealing with heartbreak back in high school when a summer romance ended abruptly before the school year started back up again. It was a mutual split, but it was right before my senior year was to begin. Once school started, the boy I had dated was now “big man on campus,” as most senior males might feel as they proudly strut along the school hallways during their last year in high school. [Insert “fun” teenage eye-roll here.]

Thankfully, we didn’t have any classes together. But I would see him in passing from time to time and would hear of what new girls he was dating and what not. Yes, I was cordial and would offer a perfunctory “hello” when we crossed paths. But I also wasn’t looking for opportunities to spend extra time around him or have in-depth conversations any time soon. There was still pain lurking in my heart as a result of the break-up, and I was still healing.

Fast forward to adulthood, and I have to say that I haven’t had to be in a situation like you are describing (either a break-up with someone from a workplace setting or at a church) in a long time. But, in remembering my high school break-up, I can only imagine that it would be awkward in a setting where you could routinely bump into one another and even more so if there is still interest for one of the parties involved.

As you know, a close relationship (whether romantic or platonic) knits two people together, through time spent together, through thoughts, feelings and dreams shared via interpersonal communication and through a whole host of experiences that two may share as they do life together. Add in two people who are believers and share a strong spiritual connection, and that can give it an even deeper dimension (1 Jn. 1:7). CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article.

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