The Harvest of Heartbreak

In the beginning of last year, I believed things were looking up in my life. I was moving in with one of my best friends and had also been presented with a job opportunity that seemed too good to be true (spoiler alert – it was). Naturally, after a decade of being single, I assumed the love of my life was soon to follow.

Upon hastily accepting the job opportunity, I quickly found myself surrounded by not-so-upstanding characters who poked fun at my virtues and mistook my boundaries as a challenge. Although my intuition was telling me that I needed to leave as soon as the first day, I stifled God’s nudging and chose to persevere in hopes that things would improve with time. After weeks of being in a chaotic environment and tolerating constant inappropriate behavior, compounded with an embarrassingly short-lived and one-sided romance, I threw in the towel with my tail between my legs. At the end, I was left humiliated, heartbroken and defeated, and ultimately, asking God where I went wrong.

It’s not like I’m new to heartbreak. Year after year, I’ve become involved with men possessing vastly different values and habits than myself, convincing myself that they would change if I was “enough.” When things inevitably crashed and burned each time, I internalized every prospect’s lack of reciprocity or capacity for a healthy relationship as rejection and a reflection of me being “not enough” or “too much.” Repeated foolish and failed attempts at dating rotten fruit left deep wounds that affected how I viewed myself and showed up in the world. Even with frequent trips to the therapist’s office for months on end, nothing seemed to “click” until God stepped in.

Last year’s events brought about a severe depressive episode that served as my breaking point. I was forced to lean on God harder than ever, stop neglecting my mental health and receive help from those close to me. A long season of growth disguised as unbearable pain served its purpose in the form of life-changing lessons learned.

Importance of Lamenting

Christians are often done a disservice by the infrequent teachings of how to lament your heartache and frustrations to God. As it turns out, I discovered that I was a natural at lamenting before I even knew what I was doing. While delving into sermon after sermon trying to soothe my soul over the last year, I discovered that boldly crying out to God and asking “why” or “how long” questions is not a sin; in fact, it is one of the only things that seemed to be providing relief for me. However, the key to praying through lament is not simply complaining or venting your sadness. Lamenting carries an underlying, and sometimes outright spoken, message to God that, although you don’t understand how He’s working behind the scenes, you still trust that He hears you and has an ultimate plan for your pain.

Discernment is (Almost) Everything

It was easy to blame myself for all of my failed attempts at dating. My brain seems to be hardwired to tell myself that my flaws or behaviors are always the primary reason for things never working out. It wasn’t until nearly 11 months into my newest season of heartbreak that I stumbled upon a sermon series on discernment by Jerry Flowers, Jr. that served as a turning point in how I viewed my past dating choices. I soon realized that I didn’t ruin anything that was ever meant for me. I had been accurately perceiving the red flags God was showing me each time I tried to date someone who I thought I could change. Unfortunately, things went awry as I made excuses for bad behavior and decided to proceed without caution. Reflecting upon my discernment and decision-making mistakes has allowed me to learn to listen to God speaking to me through the “unsettling” sensation I would feel upon observing red flags rather than ignoring the feeling and hoping that it would eventually dissolve. It’s also important to note that movies and fiction often send the message that people change for the right person, which is a message I had absorbed and come to believe until now. In reality, only God can truly change someone’s soul. Potential is not enough for a relationship, and expecting my values, behaviors and thought processes from other people has only been setting me up for disappointment.

Patience in God’s Timing

Patience is my biggest shortcoming. I think, speak and typically act too quickly, which has clearly caused me strife. Not pausing for a consultation with God before accepting the job opportunity was another mistake I believe I made; however, my bigger mistake was allowing my own idea of my timeline to overshadow God’s timeline. Since turning 30, I put pressure on myself to find a husband sooner rather than later, which pushed me to overlook red flags and try to force love rather than trusting the process and choosing not to lower my standards. Although not being in control goes against every grain in my anxious and neurotic body, I now know that patience and trusting God’s timing is critical.


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