When my boyfriend broke up with me in January, my brother gave me this advice: “Maybe God has freed up your time for something. Maybe there’s somewhere you’re supposed to go or something you’re supposed to do.”
That concept helped me process the situation by shedding new light on it. Three months later, his words are still with me. I haven’t moved since the breakup, and I haven’t accomplished any concrete task that dating would have kept me from doing. But something happened. I realized I’d let dating distract me from God’s purpose for me. I’d spent so much time focusing on the relationship and not enough time focusing on God.
After the breakup, I refocused on God, and in the process, I rediscovered myself. I realized I hadn’t been seeking God when it came to my future, but I was building it based on what my boyfriend wanted. We’d been dating for a year and a half, and by the time we broke up, we’d been dating long distance for seven months. It became increasingly difficult when he suddenly decided he didn’t want to think about engagement for a few more years and that he was unwilling to relocate. I felt like I was being asked to make all the sacrifices. It put pressure on me to be someone else.
It’s tempting to neglect other areas of your life and let being in a relationship consume your energies. I spent so much time focusing on the relationship and my boyfriend’s desires that I neglected my own. When we broke up, I felt lost. I had this vision in my head for a long time about my future with this man, and it was hard to picture life being single again. I was so invested in the relationship that I wasn’t sure who I was apart from it anymore.
Toward the end of last year, I felt God tugging at my heart to increase the amount of time I spent with Him. Around the same time, I felt like I needed space from my boyfriend and started strengthening friendships I had let slowly slip away. I started reading through my One Year Bible in January, and it was perfect timing. As my dating relationship started to fall apart, my relationship with God started to grow. By the time my boyfriend and I broke up, I was relying on God more than I had since the beginning of our relationship. I also had a closer group of friends to run to for support.
My sister-in-law told me to pray for peace and God would give it to me, and it took me about two weeks to recover from the sting of heartbreak. After spending a lot of time with God in prayer, I started to feel like the person I was before I met my boyfriend. I felt renewed in Christ, and I rediscovered the passions God had given me. I finally felt like myself.
I started studying theology again and blogging about my faith. I dusted off my tennis racket and hit the courts with my high school doubles partner. I picked up where I left off, learning web design and programming. Most importantly, I started spending time with God and making Him my first priority again.
I discovered God wanted me to stop trying to be someone else and return to His will for me. Instead of putting my trust in man, He wanted me to trust Him with my future. Breakups can be incredibly painful, but my brother’s advice helped shift my focus away from trying to be who someone else wanted me to be and toward God and who He wanted me to be and who I was in Christ. My focus was no longer on trying to restore a broken relationship that put pressure on me to be someone I wasn’t. I was free to focus on blossoming into the woman God had in mind when He created me.
I know that next time around, I’m going to make sure Christ is the absolute center of the relationship. I’m going to make sure our interests work together for God’s glory instead of feeling like I have to abandon mine for his sake. I learned to retain some independence and not let my passions and interests become lost.
Our God is a healer. He restores the broken. I didn’t even realize I was broken until I found myself newly single, so I thank God for the breakup. There are many good things we can learn from being in relationships, but we can learn just as much from going through a breakup and being single again.
What are some things you’ve learned about yourself from being single after a breakup? What is the best breakup advice you ever received?
Copyright 2013 Amy Kessler. All rights reserved.