What I Learned From a Break-Up
By Cassie Brouillard
My first romantic relationship taught me a lot, but my first breakup has been teaching me so much more.
It has been a roller coaster ride trying to understand something that has honestly (and maybe shamefully) caused me so much emotional frustration, confusion, and sadness. Yet, I have learned so much about God in the process, and for that reason, this experience has been worth it.
A Love that Gives, even if it Does Not Get…
If you’ve ever been through a breakup, then you understand that sinking feeling of loving someone who may no longer love you back. It’s the feeling of loss when someone that you are looking to give your time, energy, and heart towards is not looking to receive that love with an open heart or willing to give any love in return.
Yet, isn’t this the same kind of thing that we do with the love that God has so openly offered each of us? I think back to the countless times that I have rejected God’s heart for seemingly better things: pride, praise, control, certainty, only to name a few. I think about the times that I have cancelled my prayer dates with Him because something seemingly better came up, times that I have ignored a call from Him to grow in holiness and virtue, and times I neglected love letters from Him (yes…these love letters are all throughout the Bible.)
The bottom line is that God has always continued to give to each and every one of us, despite our refusal to accept this love. He literally gives us everything. He gives us His whole self, through His Son Jesus Christ, without promise of any return.
Is that not what the Christian life calls us to? Giving without asking for something in return? Perhaps we can no longer love an ex in the same manner that we did before. However, we can continue to will the good of our ex, and we can redirect this love towards someone God may be calling us to love in this new season of our life.
A Love that Never Gives Up…
There’s that pleading in the back of our minds that says, “Don’t give up. Not yet. Something will change. I just need to wait a little longer, and they will change their mind.”
Maybe you’ve also experienced this constant voice, which longs for a relationship to be whole again. Are these not the words that God cries out as He continues to fight for us despite our indifference?
I think about how hard my own heart has fought for my ex, and it makes me think, “Wow! Imagine how hard God must fight for our hearts!” If a human heart has the strength to long for something or someone who is far away, then I can only imagine how strong God’s heart beats to bring us back to Himself.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion, I will bring you back.” (Isaiah 54:7)
“The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. Have you seen the one my heart loves?” (Song of Songs 3:3)
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Maybe during this breakup or season of loss, we can meditate on God’s burning desire to be with us in our best and worst moments, even when we look for God in idols He knows cannot fill us up.
A Love that Longs for the Good…
Remember when I said earlier that we can still choose to will the good of our ex? Well, this may have been the hardest realization to swallow. Maybe it kills you to see your ex happy again when you’re still weeping inside. Maybe it kills you to think that they are a better version of themselves now that they aren’t dating you.
Yet maybe you also needed to recognize that love places demands on us, it places choices on us, which can sometimes hurt because of the broken world that we live in.
God wanted ultimate Goodness for His children, and yet He had to watch His only Son suffer so that we were able to touch this Goodness. The truth is that love places demands on each and every one of us, even when it does not feel good.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Maybe each time that we must wrestle with difficult emotions amidst a breakup, we can ask God for the confidence in such a decision – that it will somehow contribute to the Good that God first invested in.
A Love that is Permanent…
Human love is temporal, but eternal love is forever.
“Your love, insofar as it is from God, is permanent. You can claim the permanence of your love as a gift from God. And you can give that permanent love to others. When others stop loving you, you do not have to stop loving them. On a human level, changes might be necessary, but on the level of the divine, you can remain faithful to your love.” (Henri Nouwen)
Henri Nouwen coming in clutch, am I right? How great of a gift it is to be able to hold onto the spiritual gift of love, “a love that never fails.“ (1 Cor. 13:8)
P.S. You are enough.