Last month, for the first time ever in the history of having a cell phone, I blocked someone. The person was not harassing me or stalking me, and we didn’t have a big argument. We weren’t really even friends. Acquaintances maybe, but even that’s a stretch. We also didn’t talk really frequently, which is why I never thought to block him before.
I blocked him because his narcissistic personality is not something I want in my circle of influence.
You see, once upon a time we were close. We were really good friends. We became involved romantically, and we talked about spending the rest of our lives together. Until the relationship ended abruptly.
Because he dumped me.
While I love sugar-coating the situation, I could have easily said, we had a parting of the ways, or we decided to end the relationship. The reality is I was dumped. Part of my healing from that relationship in particular included me taking a hard look at the people in my circle of influence and determining what if any changes needed to happen.
Here I go sugar-coating again. I needed to figure out who should go and who should stay. I actually learned this more than a year ago when the relationship ended, but I tend to be a little hard-headed about matters of the heart. It took me nearly two years to actually act on it.
Note to self (myself and yours): Just because someone was once important to you, that does not mean they need to stay in your phone contacts list. (Disclaimer: The exception to this rule is in the event there is a co-parenting relationship and children are involved. In most of those cases, the other parent always needed to remain in your contacts list).
So, long story short, even though we didn’t speak often, it was still too much. I felt my energy drain when we did. So, I blocked him. I learned shortly thereafter that there really was a lesson – actually several lessons – in all of this that are worth sharing.
Because the truth is, even in our heartbreak, even in our sadness, and even in our trials, there is something to learn from it all.
- Trees don’t protect me. God does. My friends and I have a running joke that historically the men I have been attracted to can be described as trees. They are tall, they have broad shoulder and when they hug me, I feel a sense of protection. If I had to describe my type, it would be “a tree.” My ex-husband is a tree. The guy who dumped me was a tree. But you know what? Trees can become false idols. And furthermore, I needed to learn that no matter how broad those shoulders are, my sense of protection needs to come from God. No. More. Trees.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them sing joyful praises forever.
Spread your protection over them,
that all who love your name may be filled with joy.
- Sometimes I just need to sit down and submit. Especially to God. And sometimes to other people. As an extrovert, it’s very easy, and sadly somewhat natural, for me to dominate a relationship. From start to finish. And when I do that, the finish sometimes comes quicker than anticipated.
The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
I need to be open to listening to ideas (especially the ones that are different from my own) on things such as biblical interpretations, parenting, and cooking dinner. I need to truly allow God to guide my steps and not feel threatened when He redirects my path or someone even offers a suggestion. I need to be willing to listen.
- True intimacy comes from vulnerability. Vulnerability comes from trust. Trust comes from friendship. Friendship comes with time. Healthy communication comes with it all. All of this is a must. If it doesn’t exist, I have to be okay with that and move on. It is unloving for me to ask or demand something from someone they are not capable of doing. Intimacy, vulnerability, trust, friendship, and communication are all things that need to happen for a relationship to work. Holding on to something that doesn’t have these things will prevent you from seeing a really good relationship when it walks into your life. And you know what else? None of that says anything about touching, and hugging, and smooching, and being physical.
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
- Love is a verb.
It’s not about the flowers, the candy, the pet names, and the extravagant dinners out. It’s not about the wishes for the future and the mansions and fancy cars you plan to own together. It’s about the willingness to participate actively together in the routine, the daily tasks, the small things that make life living. Without seeing love in action for the little things – the sefless errands, the, ordinary words of encouragement, and the consistent acts of kindness, all you have is a show.
- Engage your senses. If something doesn’t feel right about that relationship, it isn’t right. And any relationship that is right for you, is not going to challenge what you know to be true about God.
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
In my most dysfunctional relationships, I would see things and hear things and know they weren’t right. They’d make me feel some type of way. But more times than I care to admit, I would not address them. Or I was content with the answer I got. It could be an excuse that I knew was a lie, it could be a text message that seemed a little too friendly, or it could be his unwillingness to discuss any of it. Pay attention to your senses. You have them for a reason.
The ending of a relationship is not easy. Getting dumped is not easy. But it makes us stronger, more aware, and commited to a brighter future.
What lessons have you learned from your relationships that have ended?