We’ve all have been through a few breakups and subsequent breakdowns. Someone once told me that going through a breakup breakdown has stages. That someone was right. There are definitely stages and questions:
What in the world? This isn’t how my story was supposed to go! God, why’d you let me get so invested in something you knew would end?
The day after I had a devastating breakup, I went on my favorite walk along the west side of Central Park. I’d set aside the day to just get away with God, read my Bible, pray, ask questions and be with Him. It was rainy and the park’s fall colors were even more saturated and gorgeous because they were wet.
I was surprised to find myself thanking God profusely for what He’d allowed me to learn and experience. I was surprised to feel peace, and this beautiful fullness as if God were comforting my sorrow. I felt in my heart that God wanted to make my soul sweeter in this process, and I loved that idea. I was either in the first stage of shock or experiencing what Philippians 4:7 calls the peace that simply does not make any sense and can only come from the Lord.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
Obviously, not every day after the breakup was as lovely as that first one but I can say, above all, that the months following that hard time were so saturated with God’s grace and sweetness to me. The stage of feeling like something amazing had been ripped from my hands gave way to feeling like something fresh and beautiful was beginning in my life. What I really want you to know is what I learned from reading the story of Ruth. I’d never noticed (until after my own breakup) that her story begins with losing her love (Ruth 1:4-5).
These are some things that I learned from Ruth’s story:
1. Dig into Rich Friendships (Ruth 1:14-18)
Share your heart stuff with your close friends—the ones who listen well, insist that you order Thai to make you feel better, who know God, who remind you to feel your feelings and to worship even when you don’t feel like it.
A friend encouraged me to shake out of my breakup dispair by listing out what I knew to be true about God’s character. I resisted and told him that I didn’t want to think the right thoughts. I wanted to think (and wallow) about my hurt and my pain instead.
With his help, I realized how valuable this discipline would be and relented. I was filled with peace after dwelling on God’s character instead of my isolating heartbreak. Community makes all the difference.
2. Go to Work in Your 'Field' (Ruth 2:2-3)
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You can’t sit on the couch eating Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream and watching “You’ve Got Mail” forever; jump back into doing what lights you up.
My happiest moments are the ones when I’m doing what I was created to do: sing, linger with people and share stories and connect with those around you. Do whatever God’s set in front of you and do it in love and with a full heart.
3. Don't Feel Like You Have to Talk Yourself Up (Ruth 2:10-11)
I love that someone had organically told Boaz everything about how amazing Ruth was; he’d seen her working in the field and he knew about how she’d handled the loss of her husband with grace and fierce loyalty.
Coming out of a relationship can be hard; missing the comfort of being so known by someone who loves you is magnified when you’re getting to know new people who have to learn you from scratch. But don’t fear! Have fun and let yourself revel in the process of sharing life with amazing new people.
Take heart; it won’t always be this hard. Also, now is the perfect time to cash in on this promise from God’s word: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).