If I am going to put myself out in the blogosphere, we might as well get to know each other. So let's dive into one of my biggest pains right off the bat. Hooray!
February 6, 2017.
I will always remember that Monday as the day the unthinkable happened: my boyfriend broke up with me. Now, this post is not about that. Well, it kinda is. But it's more about what happened next. But context is important.
That relationship was a long one, nearly six years, and it was the only romantic relationship I had ever known. We started dating when I was eighteen and I was madly in love with him. I never imagined he would end things, even when life got messy and hard. I don't date casually or for funsies, it's just not in my DNA, and I had the end game of marriage in mind. He said he did too. But he blindsided me. And I had to deal with the mess of the breakup alone while he ran to a different girl.
*Cue dramatic, sad music*
Now, in life, you see your friends go through breakups, you watch them unfold in movies, and you think you know how to deal with it all. Chocolate, cookies, wine, movies, and a few good cries with some good friends. The works. But until somebody rips out your heart, steals the air from your lungs, and you feel like you're dying, you have no idea how to cope with a breakup. Even from the "Christian" perspective, knowing that Providence has sovereignty over a situation, the pain of abandonment and betrayal feels unbearable. And it feels that way for a while. After the initial blow, time starts to pass by and the pain begins to die down. Things are hard, but you start to feel okay. Things start to look up. Then you're good, more than okay. Then you're great. And you feel like you can take a deep breath for the first time in a while. And you have a good day after what seems like an endless string of bad ones.
Then all of a sudden, you wake up one day, suffocating with emotion. You feel like you're back at ground zero again; you feel every familiar stab of pain you felt then. Every blaring lie of unworthiness seems realistic. And you're angry and you're sad and you're confused. It's a tsunami. You don't know why. And nobody told you that that would happen. So you repeat the cycle again. You start to feel okay, then good, then great, and this time, you think you're over it. You somehow made it through the breakup. Then you're sitting in your office, living your life, and that pain rushes in again and all of a sudden you're in tears for round three. And you just don't know why so you assume there must be something wrong with you.
Maybe you've had better breakups than I have (gosh, I hope you have; I would never wish this on my worst enemy). Maybe this sounds dramatic to you. But I refuse to believe that I am isolated in this experience. And even if it wasn't specifically a breakup, I know you you have experienced the feeling of backsliding, the mysterious waves that crash into you and tear you down, just when you feel like you finally have it all together.
Nobody told me about the waves. Nobody said that I would wake up some days feeling whole and happy and alive in Jesus while other days I wouldn't be able to get myself out of bed because everything hurt: my eyes, my head, my heart, everything. Upon writing this, it's been 14 months since that breakup and if I am actually honest, some days are still hard. They are exceedingly rare now and they're more like moments, not days. But the pain still pops in every now and then. And to be honest, I don't know if it'll ever go away. But I do know this, those waves of a breakup have taught me so much about all the other waves that come in life.
Finding joy and success in my career...and feeling unqualified and inadequate.
Feeling totally satisfied and loved and cared for the Creator of the universe... and believing that the Lord might leave me husbandless for the rest of my life.
Having the greatest best friends a girl could ever imagine... and feeling incredibly lonely.
Hearing that my parents are proud of me... and wondering what would have happened if I had finished my college education at private liberal arts college I left after just one semester.
Being encouraged and loved by the people I sit in church with... and feeling overlooked and unimportant.
The list goes on.
In life, there are only two constants: the waves and Jesus. But what's so amazing is that one has dominion over the other. One literally walked on the other. One commanded the other to calm. And we can only build our lives upon one.
In life, we choose what to follow: our waves or the One who made the waves. And if you think you don't have to choose, by default you are choosing the waves. Nobody told me about the waves and how hard they were. I learned that on my own and I let the waves dictate my life for a long time. But the great part about choosing the Creator is the lack of an expiration date. It's never too late to stop choosing the waves. Even that choice is a wave. But the Lord is good and is the steady rock, the only steady rock, that won't change.
Regardless of your circumstance, give it up to the one who holds it, and understands it, understands you. There is nothing more freeing than being able to breathe in the midst of waves, rather than feeling like you are being drowned by them. So whether you are battling through a wave right now, or you find yourself sailing through smooth waters, know this to be true: it will not last. Nothing ever does. Except for Jesus.
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8 NLT