It had become my idol, and I based my identity around the affections of another person.I was pursuing what Tim Keller refers to in his book as “apocalyptic romance.” God will often use the things and people we love most in this world to break us the hardest.If He doesn’t have your full attention now, He will demand it from you later.
It hurts when God intervenes and corrects our plans, especially the plans we hold dear to our heart. This is why plans of a best laid nature often go awry.
So open your ears, turn the music down and listen to what God is trying to tell you. In the early weeks following my breakup, one of my friends told me that if I truly loved my ex-girlfriend I should continue to pursue her and attempt to win back her affections.
Frankly, it’s one of the worst pieces of advice I’ve ever received.
No other experience can truly compare to the combined feelings of self-doubt, embarrassment, guilt and anger that have come to define a broken heart.
Our pop culture understands this—at any one time, at least half of the songs on the Billboard Top 20 are either barbs aimed at ex-partners or laments over “the one that got away.” According to one study, the physiological effects of a non-mutual breakup are nearly identical to the symptoms of a person recovering from an adverse drug addiction. Lewis famously said, God “shouts in our pains,” but those shouts can fall on deaf ears if we don’t know what we’re listening for.
But in the aftermath of a breakup, don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of that time to learn valuable insights about yourself and the nature of God. I can relate to this, because the semester before I graduated college, the girl I’d dated for over three and half years abruptly decided to end our relationship. Walking around campus or driving around town became a punishment unique unto itself.
For at least two months afterward, I was a complete wreck. I likened it traversing a minefield spring-loaded with dormant memories waiting to further perforate my soul with emotional shrapnel.
Harboring hope she would realize the mistake she’d made, I clung feverishly to the false illusion of our love being restored in one romantic fell swoop of forgiveness and understanding. After two months of wallowing in self-pity, I realized my behavior was in no way a reflection of the character of Christ.
As I began to evaluate my relationship with God in the aftermath of my breakup, I became more and more discouraged with what I found.
Even though I claimed to be Christian and was involved in multiple ministry organizations, for over three years my life had revolved around my relationship with my girlfriend.
Pouring a majority of my passion, time, creativity and money into our relationship, I had elevated it above my relationship with God.