MEMORIZE: They came out from us because they were not of us. If they had been of us, they would have stuck it out with us.
1 John 2:19
READ: Psalm 91
CHALLENGE #23: Write a letter to the ex that you find yourself still attached to. Express everything that you have been too afraid, too doubtful, too “whatever” to express. Then, pray over it and destroy it. Setting someone free, truly sets you free.
Everyone has one. The ex that you feel like is the one that got away. That person you truly thought you would spend the rest of your life with, yet something went wrong and you are no longer together. I have two such exes in my past. One was an on-again-off-again long distance boyfriend in undergrad and the other, more recent, was a few years ago.
Surprisingly, I have been in other relationships since first writing this challenge, yet they don’t make this list. This says two things: 1) I probably shouldn’t have dated them in the first place. 2) I’ve recognized what love should look like, and anything that doesn’t even measure up to the “one that got away” isn’t going to be the “one that stays.” God never gives us less than, in fact, He is a Nevertheless God. If the one that left was amazing, the one that He has planned to stay will make the past ones look like a third grade crush.
The most recent of “the ones”, let’s call him John, shook me to my core. If I could have picked what I wanted for my husband out of a catalogue, he would have surely stepped off the pages. That’s how perfect I thought he was. He was sweet, caring, protective, honest, covered me spiritually and emotionally, and he not only respected my vow of celibacy, he had his own. He had vowed not to kiss another person’s wife, so he wasn’t kissing again until the alter. I was in bliss, but he only had one flaw— he.left.me. And when he left, he took a piece of something vital inside of me. How do I know? Because breathing hurt. Even crying hurt. Nothing helped…BUT GOD.
I remember the process of getting over “John”, and it wasn’t a fun one. I can distinctly remember dates, phone calls, and interactions with him. I realized I had never felt so valued, or so worthy of love from a man. Sidebar: This is a responsibility that my father would have and should have taken care of, but he wasn’t in my life, so I didn’t get it. You will read more of this particular testimony in this 30 day challenge, and also highlighted in my first book). So that’s what got me hooked. Never receiving the acceptance that I should have from my father, I longed for it in a relationship. I put the pressure for a man to supply me with what I had missed from my father, the epitome of “Daddy Issues”. Losing John wasn’t a good experience, but it was a God revelation. The end of this relationship, was the beginning of the realization that I was looking for something in a man, something that no man, could ever give me. I was destined to destroy every relationship I was in because I was an incomplete, troubled, insecure (although no one else knew it) woman, that hadn’t learned her value in a relationship or in life. I thought I knew it. I thought I had it all together, but I was so wrong.
I share this because this is a very real situation; dealing with the one that you thought was going to be a permanent fixture, but apparently only applied for a temporary position. I never want anyone to think because I have gotten to a certain point of satisfaction in my Singleness that I don’t relate with just about every scenario that you can think of on this journey. Yet, I’ve survived—so can you.
Dealing with a breakup is hard. Especially if it’s one that you didn’t want, and you realize there is nothing that you can do to fix it. The hardest part about letting go is…actually letting go. I was so afraid to give that relationship to God because I was knew He wouldn’t give it back to me and it was my will for my life. But as Jeremiah 29:11 comforted me in that time, it still comforts me. He knows the plans He has for me, and they are for my good and not for harm. This breakup did not BREAK me. It taught me that I still needed to learn balance. I needed to truly realize that the only man I can’t live without is Jesus. A Godly man/woman can’t replace your God. You may desire an earthly spouse, but you only need an Eternal Savior. Sometimes this is a hard pill to swallow—it requires washing down with the Word.
Letting go is hard. There is no getting around it, no “easy button” to just make it pass. The only way to let go is by intentionally placing that thing on the altar, and deciding to walk away and leave it there. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take long days, sleepless nights and some gut-wrenching hard cries if you truly loved this person. Separating from someone that you are attached to can feel like being wounded. And as discussed in an earlier Challenge, you will just have to deal with it. Many people mistakenly believe that the only way to get over one person is to get with another one. This is so untrue and so not a good idea. What you end up inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally if you are ready to be really honest), doing is transferring your unresolved feelings onto the next poor, unsuspecting soul—if you haven’t dealt with the messy emotions of letting go of the first. You will have to deal with these issues eventually, or these unresolved emotions will taint every “next” relationship that you have in the future. Sorry love, I wish I had a prettier or more butterflies-in-the-wildflowers answer for how to get over a breakup, but I don’t. You will just have to deal with it. You must deal with it.
You have to realize that a person can have all the qualities that you may think you want, but still not be the one that God has for you. Remember, we can’t know the thoughts of God, but we can be assured that we serve a “nevertheless” God. If God tells you, he/she is not the one — even if by what you see they fit your criteria — will you still be able to reject them? Your knee jerk reaction is to say yes, but if you are honest, how many exes do you have that you knew God didn’t want you to be with, in the first place? Say Ouch. Say Amen. Now, read on. You have to decide if you want God’s created best or only your imagined best. Or, does the answer depend on which comes first? If you are tired of waiting, and haven’t done your homework to commit to wait, this will be a hard question to answer, honestly. I can almost guarantee that your top pick will come before God’s, if for no other reason than to test how much more you will trust God and wait for His provision.
God still has a plan for you, but you have to let go of your past, and your plan, to get to your future. This reminds me of the passage in 1 Samuel 16. The scripture opens up with the Lord confronting Samuel about his continuous mourning over Saul’s rejection. God asks, “How long will you mourn over Saul when I have rejected him? Fill your horn with oil and go… for I have chosen another king.” These two verses are so important and speak to holding onto something that God Himself has rejected. Samuel was so focused on mourning who God had said was no longer for him that he had to be persuaded to go find the one that God was bestowing favor on. The thought of holding on to something even a moment longer than God’s Spirit is resting on it seems ludicrous to even write, but in our lives, we do it all too often. We sit and re-read letters, and hold on to old pictures and movie stubs in a shoebox that we pull out when we are feeling lonely, which is stupid and self-fulfilling prophetic, because it only intensifies our loneliness.
I can imagine Samuel remembering all the “good ole times” with Saul and weeping. I have always heard that hindsight is 20/20, but I think in relationships, sometimes the rearview mirror is a bit cloudy. I know when I was afraid of being alone (because I didn’t understand the difference between it and loneliness), I would think back to old relationships and remember all the good times, while conveniently forgetting or sometimes even reworking the details of the bad times.
I bet if you go back in your relationship rolodex, you have had a couple of “Samuel” moments as well. Vow to break that cycle. There was a reason she/he was rejected—don’t forget that. Do what it takes to let go of past relationships. When God closes a door, if we allow, He will paint over it so we can’t find it even when we try, cause Lord knows, we will try. Let them go, and free yourself. Allow God to fill your horn with oil and be on your way. Your “David” is waiting for you while you’re wasting valuable time on a rejected “Saul.” Clap your hands.
Realize that no one who can or will leave you is tied to your destiny. If a person is ordained to be in your future, they will be there, even if they temporarily leave. So if they decide to leave you now, just know that they will be swinging the door the other way at some point, if ordained. It’s OK to mourn a past relationship, but don’t allow that to blind you from learning what God always meant to teach you in it, and then move on. Christ needs you whole to complete His vision and your spouse needs you whole to complement theirs. Don’t keep the two real relationships in your life waiting while you hold on to something that has been rejected.
FILL YOUR HORN WITH OIL AND GO.