I know what you’re thinking: these last eight months were pointless. The emotions, the time, the dates, the gifts – useless, wasted, the stuff you throw away like scraps of paper. Except the scraps are your heart, and the wasted time was your life. He’s gone, you’re here, and though you know how to move on and you’re walking forward with the Lord, it’s hard to see the purpose in an ended relationship.
So here’s some hope to tape up your heart: Your broken relationship was not a waste of time.
It’s the very thing you need for your future.
Broken Relationships Teach Us About Ourselves
Breaking up is not pleasant – no matter which side of the relationship you’re on. But an ended relationship teaches us about ourselves. It teaches us what our priorities are, what we need to change, and how we can grow in our walk with the Lord. If nothing else, the brokenness of human relationships – romantic or otherwise – drives us to further dependence on Christ. Only in and through Christ is there redemption for the pain of human sin. Only through Christ can we be built back together and renew our vision for the future.
As we learn about ourselves post-break up, we see how useful past relationships really are. Each relationship I had before meeting Josh taught me something about myself: usually it was something unpleasant, such as a character flaw that needed sanctification. I learned how NOT to behave as a girlfriend, what my boundaries needed to be, and how to fight well. Those relationships, however brief, were not a waste of time. They are part of my story.
Broken Relationships Teach Us About Others
Your broken relationship doesn’t just teach you about yourself; it teaches you about others. It teaches you what to look for in the company you keep – and how that company affects your own spiritual life. We are not only known by the company we keep, we become like the people who surround us.
Through broken relationships, we learn how to love others while staying true to our boundaries. We learn to be patient and wait for a man who doesn’t just SAY he follows God – but actually does. We learn how to read people, who to keep in our inner circle, and when to say “no”. It is the relationships of our past that teach us these things, and though those lessons sometimes come coupled with pain, God redeems that sorrow for overwhelming joy.
Broken Relationships Teach Us About God
Finally, relationships that end aren’t wasted because they teach us about Jesus. Sometimes what it takes to draw us near to God is the removal of an idol – and maybe for you, that idol was a dating relationship.
If you’re looking to a relationship to fulfill you, satisfy you, give you status, love, purpose, or identity – you’re placing a fallible human relationship on God’s throne. That is idolatry! When we refuse to give up our idols, God – in His loving, Father way – will sometimes remove them in order to call us to a deeper relationship with Him.
Even if a relationship isn’t an idol in your life, a break up teaches you profound truths about God’s all-sufficiency, love, grace, and redemption. He is the One near to the brokenhearted. He is the One who understands sorrow. Many of us learn more about God in pain than we do in plenty, because it is in our weakness that Christ shows Himself strong.
Your broken relationship is not a waste of time – no matter how much time was spent. Use it to become wiser, stronger, and more dependent on the love of Christ. Use it to lift up your eyes to your eternal purpose and to live well in the days ahead.
This post is based on a chapter in my new ebook, Fruitful: A Year Long Guide to an Abundant Single Season – launching September 1, 2017!