Picking Up The Pieces
"My feelings have changed," my boyfriend of five years told me during one of our nightly seven o'clock phone calls. "I don't think we should see each other anymore." His words hit me, probably worse than if he had just punched me in the stomach. The pain of being physically hit would eventually subside, but the emotional pain that his words had left would be a battle wound I would carry with me from relationship to relationship until it finally healed. I have had four steady boyfriends in my life. Two of which I dumped, and two of which I was dumped by. In my experience, it is much worse being dumped than doing the dumping. When you are dumped, you feel like you are being rejected, that you were somehow not good enough. Wen I was freelance writing, evitably I would be rejected either because the magazine didn't have enough room or because they did a similar article. But I read an article that said, "Every article has a home. And when you receive a rejection letter, it is just saying that your article lives at a different address." The same is true with relationship. God has a person in mind for each of us, so when we are dumped by one person, we can just cross that one of our list. The one God has for us is still out there. All we have to do is find him or her. What's the old saying? You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find a prince. After I was dumped, I felt numb. Then the anger set in. My anger was building, and I was afraid if it wasn't released soon that I would explode like an active volcano, spewing destruction on everyone and everything in my path. Ephesians 4:26 warns us to 'Be ye angry, and sin not...,' which indicates that anger in itself is not a sin. It is what we do with that anger, that is.
God gave us the emotion of anger as a built-in system that flashes when evil is triumphing, such as when you see your little sister being beat up by an older student at school or when you see one of your teachers abusing a classmate.
What do we do with that anger?
It is perhaps better to isolate yourself by taking a walk or going into your bedroom. When you are alone, tell God about your problems in detail and from the bottom of your heart. God understands you better than you understand yourself. He knows what you should do and can offer you advice you never thought of. Just talk to Him as if you were talking to a friend.
Then decide what course of action to take. Make sure it is an action where you are able to handle your anger constructively. Punching someone out or telling a someone off is not handling your anger appropriately.
Before trying counseling, find a good friend who will let you use him as a sounding board. Someone you can call day or night, who will listen to you about your problems and feelings. Promise to do the same for that person at some future time.
If you can't find a friend to "vent" to, buy a journal. Some people find writing out their feelings in a private place where no one else will see it helpful. I personally write my journal entries as prayers to God. Or write a letter to the object of your anger. Write everything you want to tell that person. After you are done, either rip it up or put it through a paper shredder. I do not suggest sending it to that person.
When nothing else seems to work, seek counseling. Perhaps your pastor could counsel you or refer you to someone who can. Try to get to a Christian counselor. One who is a mature believer. He will also need to be a good listener. A person who does not necessarily solve your problems for you.
No matter how my ex-boyfriend treated me, no matter what he said, it was still necessary for me to forgive him.
I imagined my ex-boyfriend sitting on my couch and told him why I was mad at him, made a decision to forgive him and to release the bitterness I felt toward him. Then I asked God to forgive me for holding a grudge against him. Afterward, I felt one-hundred percent better.
Matthew 6:15 says 'But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. '
This shows how important it is to forgive, if we want God to forgive us. Even after you choose to forgive someone and give the matter to God, you may still feel angry toward that person. It is not that you haven't forgiven him, it is just that your feelings haven't conformed to your decision yet. In time, your feelings will catch up. Your feelings are not an accurate judge of what is true.
In the meantime, Matthew 5:44 (KJV) gives us this advice, 'But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.' It will be hard at first, but stick with it and your feelings of anger will have to flee.
Don't be anxious to rush into a new relationship because you attract what you are. For example, if you are a hurting person, you attract hurting people. If you are a whole person, you attract whole people.
Instead of jumping into another relationship, spend sometime working with God on you. When you love yourself just the way you are and have developed a relationship with God, then you will be able to attract a godly man who really loves you rather than a loser who will dump you for the next pretty thing that comes along.
Annagail Lynes is editor of VisionHope Magazine. She specializes in writing articles for young adults about dating, school, parents, peer pressure and other youth-related issues.