Breaking up is hard to do.
It's kind of funny how we expect full confidentiality in our relationships. You can almost always bet that an intimate detail shared between two people, in relationship, or between family, or friends– Slips into the hands of a third party somehow. People are funny– We’re overly confident in our morale and ability to keep things to ourselves. Let's just be real. Everybody knows everybody's business.
As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I was bitter that snapshots of an old relationship were shared publicly. I often found myself unsettled just by the very nature of my ex’s vulnerable sharing. "This is my story, too" I felt. "And I don't want to share it with anyone". It rubbed me the wrong way because I feared authenticity and vulnerability for myself. Now that I'm at a place where I feel comfortable sharing– The good and the bad– I chuckle a bit realizing that no one can share their testimony and personal trials without sharing some details about someone else as well. There is no ownership of experiences that involve two or more. That being said, you can control the delivery– Operating in good taste, with wisdom– And respect.
I recognize that sharing is not always going to be comfortable– For me, or for the people around me. But there’s great work to be done! Providing comfort to others by sharing and teaching is the burden of my heart right now. I care so much for each one of you that takes the time to read, and those who reach out personally! Thank you. So– This is me on assignment, and I’m letting this verse be my measure for delivery...
Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person. Colossians 4:6
At 25, I thought I was DONE with break-ups, lol. I definitely thought I was safe from the risk of being dumped. I thought I was old enough to skip over all that, that I’d be spared because of past bad break-ups...but mostly...I felt a false sense of security in my most relationship because Christian dating tends to be a clear track for marriage.
Well...to my surprise, I got broken up with in January of this year. It sucked. But I learned some key lessons on dating as an adult, as a believer, and as a regular person with flaws just trying to keep it together, lol. If you’ve gone through a break-up recently, I FEEL YOU! It’s wack! But, there’s a silver lining. As I love to say– Everything happens for a reason.
WHEN GOD'S ON YOUR SIDE
Having been on a big faith/self-love journey– You can imagine how getting broken up with rattled the hell out of me. This was a major form of rejection, just as I was coming to accept myself in my flaws and strengths. But, the Lord is faithful...and I can say with immense gratitude that God protected my heart. There were lots of tears– But I never felt like I was in a place of despair or hopelessness. I’ve seen it go the other way, so I knew this to be God’s work. My faith was strong and it shielded me from the "You’re not good enough, you messed up, you don’t fit the image, you ruined this, you’re a problem child" and so on. I could see it, but it wouldn’t penetrate my heart or spirit.
In addition to this protection, I had a newfound self-awareness that allowed me to honestly reflect, take responsibility for my actions, and acknowledge areas in which I needed to grow and improve. I had the conviction of the Holy Spirit! This wasn't self-condemnation (the blaming of oneself, kicking myself, etc.) but a level-headed, honest evaluation of how I functioned– Missteps, misspoken words, etc. during the fallout and beyond. I was able to speak to them too!
This is what happens when God is in the driver’s seat of your life. No lie. I had the gift of the Holy Spirit to uncover truths, and the protection of God’s love to keep me whole. If I was gonna get dumped, smh– This was the only way I would’ve wanted it to go down (on my end) with God right there with me. I was spared. Some of y’all know dirty break-ups. It wasn’t perfect– But it wasn’t durty!
Though I was protected, I didn’t get a full pass from hurt/pain. I thought I was going to marry and have children with this person, like, relatively soon. I had to go through the process of undreaming the future we talked about. Hard stuff. Unfortunately, you typically have to experience some fire to fully receive the lesson God's trying to teach you.
“Why would he do this”. “I can’t believe he did that”. I played that in my head after it happened– And I couldn’t make sense of it. In my grief, God spoke to me. “Why are you giving man credit for what I've done?” Wow. This separation was meant to be. This was God’s decision. It was just him that pulled the trigger. God's will would prevail however it went.
The second thing God said to me in the midst of tears was, “Would you cry, if I gave you a gift?” Wow, again. I couldn’t fathom crying tears of sadness if God gave me a wonderful present. This was a gift. I just hated the packaging.
This breakup happened exactly when I was trying to muster up the courage to launch this site. I didn’t know everything I wanted to talk about, but I was ready, and I knew it’d be honest. I can tell you with 100% confidence this blog would not exist if I remained in that relationship. As soon as it happened it was like the floodgates opened. I wrote and wrote, and recorded, and wrote. Txt docs, selfie videos, voice notes, lol– alla dat. Some of which I’ve shared already– And so much more that I haven’t yet.
I bloomed! My hair literally grew as well, lol. I was coming back into full form. I came out of hiding, and I began to look and feel like myself again. My faith and my personality– The things that make me, me– Gently began to take shape and fit together. I was *thisf***close* to what some would call “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. Canceling myself– and hiding in a relationship permanently. I can see the goals I would've never reached– The stories never told. And the bondage of knowing I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose but couldn’t do very much about it at that point.
But, praise be to God. He has a great purpose and mission for my life, and he’s making sure nothing gets in the way of it. He wouldn't allow me to proceed in something beyond its designated time. The relationship was for a season. It served a purpose, uncovering the difficult: character truths, blind spots, and insecurities. But most importantly, I learned Godly love, Christ-love. Unabashed faith and worship. A longing for God. How to pray. Where to look when I was at the bottom. Support. And ultimately, what I actually want in a partnership. It was a season totally ordained by God.
Below are lessons I learned through this lil gnarly 2018 break-up.
12 LESSONS FROM GETTING DUMPED
There are only two ways out of a dating relationship. You get married or you break up. SOBERING!
1. CORE CONVICTIONS
Core convictions are the MAJOR beliefs you have that are kin to your identity. If they conflict with your partners', it’s gonna be rocky. It will always surface. This is why you gotta take it slow– Because it takes time to uncover them, and as young adults we are honestly still formulating our core convictions. I actually saw one of mine change (or develop) in the midst of this relationship. Examples of core convictions: religious beliefs, political stances, priorities of family/work life etc.
2. WHEN GOD SAYS GO, GO.
If you don’t listen when God says go– You’re setting yourself up for discomfort and pain. I experienced more pain because I didn’t listen when He said go. I was doing some walking by sight– What I saw looked good. But God’s going to get done what He wants to get done regardless of our timing, and we usually deal with the consequences if we hesitate.
3. ACCOUNTABILITY / HUMILITY
Did you say things you regret? Overreacted? Wish you’d done something differently? Hurt someone in the process? Take responsibility. Apologize. Own your stuff.
I’ve come to the conclusion that relationships are less about how your positive traits interact, (you’re funny, I’m funny– I care about underprivileged children, oh me too) but rather, how do my flaws interact with this person’s flaws. How does my sin interact with this person’s sin. This is my theory of compatibility. This can take a long time to identify if transparency is not present. Dating is the waiting game of finding out what’s messed up about someone, lol and deciding if you can love them through it. Yikes.
5. BEING SINGLE IS GOOD
LOL. You get to focus on your purpose. Relationships are distracting!
If you know anything about Christian dating...the Holy Huddle...you know the marriage track. That was the context of this relationship– And it was very unhealthy because it was too futuristic and clouded the "right now". Living in the future is dangerous. My friend said something very wise at the beginning of this relationship. “He’s not your fiancé until he’s your fiancé, he’s not your husband until he’s your husband.” Across the board, there's a nasty habit of functioning in relationships like something is what it isn’t (yet, or if at all!). It’s a setup for disappointment. Don’t take on the responsibilities of a wife, as a girlfriend. Don’t hold on to words spoken like you are engaged, when you’re not. Function in the space that you're in. Manage your expectations. Protect your heart. Dating is a glorified friendship *crying emoji lol*
7. YOU CAN’T CHANGE PEOPLE
You can’t change personality, you can’t see for people, you can’t speed up growth, you can’t reveal things that God has not revealed to people yet, you can’t function as the Holy Spirit for people, you can’t make people sympathize or empathize, and vice versa.
8. MANAGING EMBARRASSMENT
Hey. we all go through this. it’s ok. lol. I was actually asking myself after like...wowwsss for real? Did I just get dumped LOL. How am I gonna explain this one. He's on my IG and he met my out-of-state grandma lol. But it actually wasn’t THAT bad. Everyone’s dealing with their own mess. Embarrassment will wear off especially when God’s in it.
My biggest fear was that people would think I ruined some perfect Christian thing. I was putting off telling my grandma because I thought she would be disappointed! But when I finally told her, she said "You know, I was wondering about it. And I just prayed for the Lord's will to be revealed." I told her I had been praying for the same thing, and she laughed, telling me how proud she was of me, told me to continue to share my light, then said "You got that old time religion girl." I love her so much. I can't even put into words how cool it is to be able to speak her language now that I know Christ. She's 97 btw.
You may be surprised by the response you get when you're honest about the situation!
Protect yourself from relational gray areas. Broken up is broken up. Take your space.
10. DATING WHILE HEALING
There is definitely risk in dating while healing (from past relationships). Only when both parties are willing to be fully transparent, can it work. I don’t exactly suggest this...but it can work. To a certain degree the last part of healing from a bad breakup takes place when you’re in something new, because some stuff you can’t address by yourself. But that can very easily be jumped into prematurely. I suggest counseling for all people who have experienced serious break-ups in the past, too.
11. YOU CAN’T FAKE GRACE
If you’re unhappy or hurt by something someone has done, be honest about how you feel and speak on it in the moment, as opposed to pretending everything is okay. Pretending is dangerous and is the twin sister of lying. You will develop an internalized laundry list of grievances that creates resentment. It’s gonna come out at some point! Usually...when you’re ready to explode. lol. This is not made up : Gunnysacking + Kitchen Sinking
12. DOUBT, ANXIETY, FEAR
Fear does not come from God. If I know one of my spiritual gifts is discernment, and my spirit is WRECKED over whether I should be in something– It’s time to seriously evaluate. Though fear does not come from God, He will allow you to experience it to alert you to things. Listen to your gut. Talk to God! Pray about everything. And ask that his will be done.
Lastly, I just want to let you know...if you do have any creeping feelings of anxiety, worry, or doubt, feel or see any red flags, never continue in something for the sake of appearance, or because you think this is your only shot. Never be ashamed of how you feel.
This is the keep it real hotline in which we as strong beautiful ladies trust God enough to know that if this isn’t it, we’re good. Your relationship should be a safe space for vulnerability, transparency, and sharing insecurities– Not a threat.
Honesty and love are cardinal.
I can’t believe I’m typing this...but, I’M HAPPY I GOT DUMPED!