I know what you think: these past eight months have been completely pointless. The feelings, the time, the meetings, the gifts – useless, wasted and carelessly thrown away like a pack of greasy paper. The difference is that this scratch paper is your heart and the wasted time is your life. He is gone, you are here and even if you know how to go on and take steps forward with God, it is difficult to see the meaning in an ended relationship.
But there is hope with which you can connect your heart: your broken relationship was not a waste of time.
It is exactly what you need for the future.
BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS TEACH US SOMETHING ABOUT US
It is not particularly pleasant to separate – no matter which side of the relationship you are on. But through an ended relationship, we can learn a lot about ourselves. We learn where our priorities are, what we should change, and how to grow with God in our lives. In any case, the fragility of human relationships – be it love relationships or others – leads us more into dependence on Jesus Christ. Only in and through Christ can there be salvation from the suffering of human sin. Only through Christ can we be healed again and renew our vision for the future.
We see how much ended relationships can bring us especially in the process of separation, in which we learn a lot about ourselves. Every relationship I had before I met Josh taught me something about myself, and mostly it was something uncomfortable, like a character weakness that needed sanctification. I learned how I do NOT want to behave as a friend, which boundaries are good for me and how to deal with conflicts constructively. These relationships, no matter how long they lasted, were not a waste of time. They are part of my story.
Your broken relationship not only teaches you a lot about yourself – it also teaches you a lot about others. It shows you what you should pay attention to with the people close to you and how these people influence your spiritual life. It’s not for nothing that they say: Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are. We are not only recognized by the people who are close to us, but we are also becoming more and more like them.
Through broken relationships, we learn to love others while remaining true to our own limits. We learn to be patient and to wait for a man who not only SAYs that he follows God – but actually does so. We learn to assess people, whom we want to keep in our inner circle of friends and to say “No”. We can learn these things from relationships that are already closed. And even though these lessons are sometimes painful, God overcomes this grief with overwhelming joy.
After all, relationships that end are not wasted because they teach us about Jesus. Sometimes, to get closer to God, we need to separate something that was more important to us than God Himself – and maybe that was a relationship with you.
If you want your relationship to fill you, satisfy your needs, and give you status, love, meaning, or identity, you are putting a fallible, human relationship on God’s throne. This is idolatry! If we refuse to give up our idols, then in his loving, fatherly way, God will sometimes take them away to call us into a deeper relationship with him.
But even if a relationship has not taken the place of God in your life, a separation teaches you deep truths about God’s love, fullness, grace, and salvation. He is close to those who are broken-hearted. He is the one who understands grief. Many of us learn more about God in suffering than in abundance because Christ is strong in our weakness.
Your broken relationship is not a waste of time – no matter how long it took. Use this experience to become wiser, stronger, and more committed to God’s love. Use them to keep your eyes on your eternal goal and to live well in the future.