Category: Heartbreak

The Comfort of Bitterness

bitterness2

Do you enjoy your bitterness? I know your knee just jerked and you replied, “No,” but I don’t think you thought about your answer hard enough. If we despised our bitterness, we would do everything we could to rid ourselves of it. But sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, we keep it nearby and on hand with no intentions of releasing it. The reasons for this aren’t valid, but they’re understandable.

Read more

Came to Heal

[Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”Luke 4:18-21

Unprocessed

We are going to be viewing this passage for a few weeks. There is something epic about this entire monologue – like Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, or The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln. Only this is the King of Kings revealing Himself as the fulfillment of prophesy – the healer, liberator, and Savior of mankind. Substantially more impacting.

This week I want to take a special look into verse 18 where it says, “He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted…”

If you have a heart, it probably has been broken. God did not design the human heart to be impenetrable. The Lord Himself feels anguish, so we too will experience anguish ourselves. (Genesis 6:6, John 11:33-36, Hebrews 5:5-8)

But our hearts aren’t built like God’s is. Our hearts are limited. We don’t feel love, anger, and pain on the same scale God does. Our hearts are much smaller. And since God built our hearts Himself, He knows how to repair them.

How comforting is it to hear from Jesus himself that He was sent to heal the brokenhearted? In the midst of our suffering, there are a few truths we should keep in mind.

God Sees Your Broken Heart
In Jeremiah 17, there is a passage that talks about the deceitfulness of the heart. In there is a line worth mentioning: “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind…” (verse 10) Obviously, the context of this line has to do with God searching the heart for impurities, but the thing to note is that God can see into your heart and mind. He knows what’s in it. He knows all your anxieties, fears, and pain. He sees all the broken pieces. And more than that, unlike us, He can see how to heal our hearts. We may not be able to see what is holding us back from healing, but God does. Do you want to know where to go next? Ask for God to reveal the path of healing to you.

Jesus Sympathizes with Our Suffering
Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…” It’s hard to imagine the Creator suffering with the same afflictions we face. But it is true that Jesus can sympathize with our pain. Jesus knows what it’s like to have your family think you’re crazy (Mark 3:21), to have the people you love betray and abandon you (Mark 14:43-52), and to have death stare you in the face. (Luke 22:41-44). Jesus is not a stranger to pain. He understands how you feel, and He longs to comfort you. If you want to see just how much Christ loves you in the midst of your suffering, just read Romans 8. Verse 26 and 34 tells us that Jesus and the Holy Spirit make intercession for us. Meditate on that wonderful truth for a few minutes.

We Always Have Hope
Our heart break may be big, but God is bigger. Though we long for the days where there will be no more suffering or heartbreak, we have to remember that God is still at work in this world. He is at work right now in your life, meticulously working on the small, shattered pieces of your soul. And in the midst of His work, He keeps us safe. Psalms 34:18-20 says, “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all. He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken.”

Don’t seek hope from a situation, seek hope from the Lord. He is bigger than every circumstance, every dilemma, and every heartbreak. When we are in the midst of heartbreak, our eyes need to turn God. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, but the brokenhearted must give their hearts to Him to be healed.

When You Miss Them

When You Miss Them

Breakups suck. Our hearts don’t like letting go of someone after spending so much time getting to know them. And after the breakup, there are times when memories overwhelm us and we find ourselves missing that person even when we know the relationship was unhealthy or heading nowhere. That kind of nostalgia can become addicting. Here are a few things to do to keep yourself from getting sucked into the black hole of reminiscence.

#1 – Grieve
We may push down grief and refuse to deal with it properly when we think there’s no reason to cry over it, but pain can go on forever if we don’t grieve when it’s necessary. It doesn’t matter if the cut to your heart was made last week or if the cut was made ten years ago – it’s okay to grieve the pain you’re feeling. Avoid the temptation to wallow in self-pity; just release any emotion that has its hold on you by doing something that helps you grieve, whether it’s praying, crying, writing, or talking to someone.

#2 – Look at the Big Picture
After you’ve grieved, you need to remember why it didn’t work out in the first place. Accept the situation with a forgiving spirit. Don’t make a list of why your ex was a terrible person, but feel free to state the struggles that would have arisen if you two had stayed together. Think about what you’ve learned since your breakup. How have you matured in character? What have you learned about relationships in general? How have you spiritually grown? Once you’ve meditated on how far you’ve come, decide on where you’re heading next.

#3 – Get Busy
If you’re sitting around thinking about your ex, it’s time to find something else to do. Get to work on that great novel you’ve always wanted to write, volunteer at a local charity, or call up a friend for coffee. Do something creative, fun, and enriching. Wave goodbye to your past life and embrace your future. You can and will have good times once again. Don’t lose hope – keep moving forward.

What not to do when you miss them:
Contact your ex – When you miss someone, it’s tempting to talk to them again for a quick emotional fix, but that route will only end with you missing them more. You’ll walk away feeling worse. Talk to a friend, pastor, or counselor instead.

Pull out the photo album, or go to old hangouts – Looking at pictures of you two at the beach or heading down to the restaurant where you had your first date will tempt you to stay in the past more than it will encourage you to move forward. Find adventure in new places that are free of bittersweet memories.

Stages of Heartbreak

stage3

I remember taking a lot of long walks down very quiet streets. I remember my eyes being blurred by so many tears that I couldn’t see where I was going. And it didn’t matter where I was going, because no matter where I was, I couldn’t escape my anguish.

Breakups are kind of like colds: so common an occurrence that rarely does anyone go past a sympathetic “aww, that’s too bad.” when they hear of someone having one. But just like colds, breakups are more miserable than they sound. The pain of heartbreak doesn’t feel common. In fact, I’m convinced that the most horrible feeling in the world is to love someone and not have them love you in return. (And I think God agrees with me.)

I’ve had my heart crushed a few times, and each time I went through the same cycles: grief, depression, and anger, followed by an intense struggle against bitterness and resentment. When I spoke to a pastor of my distress, he assured me that my cycle of emotions was normal. “Normal” was not the word I wanted to hear. I didn’t want to hear that everyone went through my same emotional cycles I was going through, because I thought my pain was so much more unique than anyone else’s.

Looking back, I realize that it wasn’t. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t beyond healing like I had originally thought. And after some observation, I found out that my emotional cycles were, in fact, quite common. Everyone seems to – at one point or another – go through certain waves of emotion that come with heartbreak.

Part 1: Grief and Depression

Anyone suffering from heartbreak understands that grief follows you, regardless of your location. Everything reminds you of that person, even the really obscure things like salads or bicycle tires. It seems that everywhere you turn there’s a memory weighing you down and reminding you of how happy you used to be.

This stage of heartbreak is probably the most paralyzing. It comes with a lot of “if I had” and “only if” statements that can keep a person awake at night. It also comes with a period of over-analysis; analysis of you, them, your relationship, and sometimes even third parties. This period involves a lot of thinking, daydreaming, and crying (or however you find yourself grieving.)

I have found that some people try to skip this step. Some try to distract their grief with activities, projects, or work. I had a friend once tell me the day after he broke up with his girlfriend, “As long as I don’t think about it, I’ll be okay.” But the truth is, people need to grieve. It does no good to reject or suppress pain. It will resurface. Time can only heal wounds if those wounds are treated to heal in time. Otherwise, those wounds only becomes a deeper issue to be resolved later. Wounds that go unhealthy can turn into something incredibly unhealthy such as verbal or physical abuse or maybe even addiction. And with grief comes something that can be equally unhealthy: anger.

Part 2: Anger

I remember during my anger phases that my statements of “if I had” turned into “if he was only.” Suddenly I became the greatest critic to character, thinking myself much less to blame than anyone else. If he had been a decent person, if he was mature and respectful, if he had known what a fantastic person I was, I wouldn’t have gotten my heart broken.

Anger is tricky. When I was faced with this cycle, I wanted to either to slander the guy or punch him in the face. I wanted him to feel as humiliated and rejected as I did. I didn’t want him to be the one to have the power my emotions, and anger gave me a false sense of power.

I remember slipping out a few slandering statements during this time. I never felt the power I thought I would feel. I just felt more empty, and I came to realize that it never made that person look bad, it just made me look bitter.

My habits of taking long walks, screaming into my pillow, and writing horrible letters that I never sent took the edge off. After months of confronting anger on a daily basis, I realized that anger didn’t give me power, it was something that held power over me. If I really wanted control, I’d have to let go of my anger, because the pieces of anger I didn’t deal with would quickly turn into bitterness.

Part 3: Bitterness and Resentment

Bitterness and resentment sometimes camouflages itself within me when I try to find some way to protect myself emotionally. It’s interesting how resentment can take many shapes: it can either be dwelling on a certain event, it can be directed towards a single person, or it can spread into groups of people. My thoughts went from, “That guy had some commitment issues” to “Men have no intentions of commitment.”

My bitterness never truly did what I wanted it to. I wanted to use it as a way to protect my heart from further damage. But bitterness didn’t protect me, it only repelled people. It numbed every pleasurable emotion and enhanced every unpleasant emotion. It didn’t protect my heart – it slowly poisoned it.

The roots of bitterness and resentment can be found with digging. No one likes the digging, but it’s necessary to pull out the root so that the bitterness doesn’t grow back. A lot of bitterness can be the cause of unforgiveness, anger, or grief. It’s best to deal with it quickly. Bitterness and resentment is more like shackles than a cement wall: it confines you more than it protects you.

The Path to Healing

Different days may need different treatments, but a few strategies will help aching hearts caught in these typical cycles.

Journal
Keeping a journal is sometimes pushed aside because it is seen as something love-struck teenagers do, but in reality, it’s a really helpful tool in capturing your thoughts. Thoughts and feelings are easier to deal with once they are tangible. Your journal should involve everything you’re thinking, feeling, and remembering. In following your thoughts on paper, you can find the root issue that needs to be dealt with.

Get a Support Group
Try to insert yourself into a church group or recovery group, or somewhere else where you find yourself in a network of people who have gone through something. Avoid thinking of your buddies as a “support group.” Your peers can feed your anger, resentment, and bitterness instead of encouraging you to forgive and move forward. A counselor or pastor is also a good idea because they’re trained in the area of pain and heartache. In emergency emotional situations, you can talk to online coaches, at sites such as The Hopeline or Air1.

Serve
A lot of the time, people tend to spoil themselves after a breakup. Pedicures and new electronic devices may be fun for a moment, but they don’t cure the emptiness. Serving others is actually a better use of time. Volunteering or helping community organizations will give you a new perspective on your own life. It will also keep you busy enough to avoid those tempting moments of wallowing in self-pity.

Pray
I think God spoke to me the most in those times of grief and anger. My grief kept me quiet enough to sincerely listen. Sometimes my pain was answered in Scripture, in other times it was answered in a soft voice, and a few times it was answered in ironic life events. But the more I prayed, the more I realized God really was paying attention, and that was the hope that kept me going. Spend some time in prayer as often as possible when you are grieving or facing a painful cycle of heartbreak, then write down how God speaks to you in those moments. When you look back on your journal, you will see how God has His hand on each moment.

I dare say that heartbreak is inevitable. We all take precautions, but sooner or later we all fall victim to the cycles of grief, depression, anger, and bitterness. Despite the situation, the cycles are not beyond recovery and healing.

Don’t Act Interested if You’re Not

interestedIf you are interested in someone, you look for certain behaviors that determine whether or not your feelings are returned. When you find those behaviors, you are confident that your love interest is interested in you as well.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always true. Sometimes a relationship never develops. Then there are a lot of hurt and confused feelings, and possibly ruined friendships.

Pay close attention to what sort of vibe you are sending out to the opposite sex. If you’re not interested in pursuing a relationship with someone, there are a few behaviors you should avoid:

1– Don’t flirt
Flirting is the biggest behavior people look for when they want to know whether or not someone is interested. Save flirting until you actually are interested in someone. Don’t be tempted to “practice”; it will only leave the other person confused and hurt. Avoid flirting with selfish intentions.

2– Don’t touch
Light touching, such as letting your hands linger or massaging, is a form of flirting. Touch is a very intimate action. And when you touch someone of the opposite sex in a romantic manner, you’re sending a message that says you’re attracted and interested. Even if you are attracted to someone, keep your hands to yourself if you’re not interested in pursuing a committed relationship. Physical contact for the sake of physical contact is selfish, not romantic.

3– Specifically for the men: Don’t buy her dinner
Chivalry is great, guys, but unless you’re just helping out a girl short on change, she’s going to think you’re buying her dinner because you’re interested in her. Men buying dinner is part of the dating routine. If you’re not on a date, don’t buy her dinner.

4– Don’t spend a lot of time alone together
Spending time alone together is intimate. It’s one thing to share a group of friends and spend time with everyone on a regular basis, it’s another to spend a lot of time exclusively together. Exclusive time together is a form of intimacy. Especially for women, whose main path of forming deep relationships is through one-on-one conversation, which is inevitable in time alone together.

5– Don’t leave mixed signals
You’re either interested in a relationship with someone or you aren’t. If you’re not sure, don’t try to unofficially date to find out. If you want to find out more about a person, spend time together in group settings, but stay away from the temptation to exclusively pursue someone unless you’re positive about them. Dodging a decision is sending a mixed signal. You’re either all in, or you’re completely out.

And a 6th one I could put is “Don’t forget to communicate.” If you’re interested, say it. If you’re not, say it. Don’t leave anything up for translation. The easiest way to hurt someone is to leave them to translate your actions. Be honest and open about your intentions. Otherwise, all you’re going to do is cause a lot of pain and confusion.

What Not to Do After Dumping Someone

brokenSo you’ve broken off the relationship and the boundary lines now seem a bit blurry. Time to set up some boundaries. There are a few things you shouldn’t do after breaking up with someone:

Try and Be Friends
There are many reasons why this doesn’t work, and maybe even shouldn’t work. After you dump someone, you can’t stay friends because it is too easy for old feelings to linger. You’re not letting them move on. There are also other problems with keeping an ex around as a friend, such as the temptation to use them, or the temptation to take them back out of mixed emotions. And if those aren’t enough reasons, once you move on and date someone else, everyone will be uncomfortable with your ex hanging around. When you break a relationship off, you break all of it off.

Gossip and Divulge Secrets
You don’t need tell your family and friends everything that was wrong with your ex. They don’t need to know what embarrassing habits your ex had, or that they was a bad kisser. Don’t leak intimate information to third parties. This information should be kept private, unless they were abusive or you fear for their emotional health – in which case, go to a professional or trusted adult. But refrain from gossiping or ex-bashing.

Change Your Mind Easily
You will miss your ex, even if you’re the one that did the dumping. Just because you miss them doesn’t mean you should take them back. There was a reason you decided not to pursue the relationship. Take time to reflect on those things before deciding whether or not to give someone a second chance. Don’t feel obligated to take someone back because you feel guilty about the situation, or because you feel lonely. Guilt and loneliness are not the foundations of a long-lasting relationship.

Flirt With Them or in Front of Them
Just because you could flirt before doesn’t mean you can flirt now. You dumped them. You have willingly chosen to sever all ties. Your ex is not there for you to fall back on when you feel flirtatious or playful. This is insensitive and painful for the other person. Really, it is a form of leading them on. On a related note, don’t talk about other blossoming relationships or attempt to flirt with other people in front of your ex. This is tacky and hurtful.

If you’re in a situation where you see your ex on a regular basis, just be mindful of how you come across to them.  Be cautious with your actions and your speech.

What Not To Do After Getting Dumped

dump#1– Get Even
Anger is a normal emotion after a break up, but acting on that emotion is not okay no matter how the breakup went down. Any action you take out of anger only makes you look like the crazy ex, and it just supports your ex’s decision to dump you. You’re not crazy; you’re hurting. Work through your anger, don’t act on it.

#2– Hold it In
It’s okay to be in pain after having your heart ripped out of your chest. Cry and scream about it. Talk about it. Seek comfort. Write out your emotions. (But don’t contact your ex.) Work through your emotions daily to find your strength. You won’t feel this way forever, but healing takes longer when you stuff your emotions.

#3– Stalk Them
Don’t show up at their house or send a dozen texts messages a day. Don’t beg them to take you back, or ask what happened between the two of you. Here’s the deal: they dumped you because they weren’t willing to fully commit to you for a lifetime. Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t want to cherish you and stay committed for the long haul.

#4– Despair
Some people can go into a depressive state after a breakup; they feel like no one will love them, and can even feel that life isn’t worth living anymore. Don’t ever think that you don’t have value because someone else decided to walk away. Getting dumped doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person or you did something wrong. If you’re feeling depressed and in pain, there are places you can go to talk to someone such as The Hopeline or Teenline

Dumped

dumpThere are going to be a full range of emotions to experience after getting dumped: anger, depression, confusion, desperation, and maybe even self-pity. These feelings will come in waves, but there is no need to drown yourself in them.

Here are a few things to do after getting dumped:

Adventure Out
Some days you’re going to wake up wishing you could peel off your own skin. You might feel a certain nervous restlessness that makes you wish you could run away. Don’t run away—adventure out. Pick up local travel magazines or travel guides and set off to explore new places. Take friends if you’d like, but don’t be afraid to adventure out on your own either. There’s something tranquil about being alone with your thoughts in a new place.

Make a List
Take a sheet of paper and divide it in half. On the first half, write down everything you couldn’t stand about your ex. On the other half, write down everything you loved about your ex. Look at the first half: are you really okay with settling with these problems for a lifetime? Now look at the other half: do you think that out of nearly 7 billion people on the planet that there isn’t one other person on this Earth that has these good traits plus is willing to love you in return? Do yourself a favor: hold out for that person.

Join a Class
Whether it’s a knitting class at the local craft store or a cycling class at the gym, try to fill up the empty holes in your schedule by doing something creative or strenuous. These classes not only give you an hour or two of distraction, but they also help you meet new people who might give you a new perspective on things.

Stay in Prayer
God has really big shoulders for you to cry on. He wants you to come to Him with your problems. Your problems are just important to Him as they are to you! Don’t be afraid to ask Him questions or express your hurt. If you want, keep a prayer journal and write out all your pains and aches to God, then write down how He responds to you. He cares for you. He will respond.

Verses for Broken Hearts:
Isaiah 41:10
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Psalms 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?

Psalms 145:19
He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them.

John 14:1
[Jesus said:] “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me.”

Psalms 37:4
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

1 Peter 5:7
Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.