After breaking up with someone (or being broken up with!), it’s easy to feel rejected. You not only feel rejected by the person you were dating, but you might also be wrestling with feeling like God rejected you, too. When you spend so much of your life trying to do his will, it can feel like a let down when things don’t work out in a relationship. Especially if it’s one you were hoping would last.
Breaking up during the holiday season can feel especially tragic. And if you’re entering into the holiday season fresh from a breakup, the jingle bells and merry wishes can feel harsh. This is the time of the year you want to share with that someone special, right?
But what if I told you that the holiday season is actually a good time to begin healing from a breakup. Because Christmas has been so secularized, it’s easy to lose sight of its true meaning. After a breakup, it’s important to cling to Jesus and what better time to do so than Advent?
If you’re ready to sort through the feelings of a breakup and begin to look for hope, climb aboard. I’d like to share some ways you can walk through this journey without feeling so alone.
Start with going to church
As a single Catholic man or woman, you’re probably driving to Mass on Sundays. But if you want to truly be in a relationship with someone, one day week isn’t enough to grow in intimacy with them. If your local parish offers daily Mass, take advantage and go. If you’re not able to make daily Mass, there are other things you can do at your parish that can help you heal from a breakup.
You could stop into the adoration chapel and pray with the Lord, asking him to heal your heart. You could read through Mass readings for the upcoming Sunday and spend time praying with the words of Christ. If your parish doesn’t have a chapel, you could pray a rosary in the presence of Christ in the tabernacle. You might pull out your journal and jot down your thoughts. Or, you could walk the stations of the cross.
Spending time in the presence of Jesus is medicinal for the soul. And what better time of the year to get to know Christ better (and ask him about his will for your life!) then in the season of Advent?
Stop asking why
Last September I lost my brother-in-law suddenly. He was only forty-two years old and it was a devastating loss. Amidst planning the funeral and clearing out his condo, I stopped many times and asked the Lord why this was happening. That single question started eating away at me to the point where I couldn’t function normally. I sank into a depression because I was asking a question that I couldn’t understand, at least not at the time.
When a breakup happens, it’s easy to fall into the cycle of asking why. You might ask why you’re the one going through a breakup, especially since everyone on social media seems to be paired up with their significant other under the mistletoe. But the answer to that question might not be something you’ll discover soon.
Maybe it was bad timing. Or maybe the person you were with was keeping you from the right person. God is the only one who can see in to the future, and so it’s important to trust that his why makes sense even when you don’t understand.
It wasn’t until I was able to let go of the why and focus on the what now that I was able to heal and move forward.
Surround yourself with friends and family
What do we do after someone dies? We gather together. The wake, memorial, funeral, burial and reception are all places where we lean on other people to help us grieve.
When healing from a relationship, it is beneficial to do the same.
Families and friends are already gathering during the holiday season so take advantage and get together with them. Don’t retreat into yourself. Be smart about the post breakup grief and share the burden. After all, we’re meant to share our joys and sorrows with each other.
Spending time with people you love is healing in and of itself. Being surrounded by friends and family can help lift you up and encourage you.
Pray a Christmas Novena
A novena is a prayer, or set of prayers, said over the course of nine days or longer for a special intention. There is a wealth of novenas in the Catholic world! All you have to do is a simple internet search to find one that works for you.
The Christmas Novena is a popular one for Catholics to pray during the holiday season. You can pray it or another one that resonates with you.
Some other Novena ideas:
Novenas are a great form of prayer. They help focus our intentions and give a specific voice to our desires. They also connect us with Mary and the saints who intercede for us.
Feed the hungry
Too often we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget about how important it is to help others. Advent is a perfect time for giving ourselves for the sake of other people in need.
The Corporal Works of Mercy are a great guide on the things we can and should do as Christians. Found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat others. The holiday season is a better time than any to pick one or more of the seven corporal works of mercy to do:
- Feed the hungry
- Give drink to the thirsty
- Clothe the naked
- Give shelter to the homeless
- Visit the sick
- Visit the imprisoned
- Bury the dead
By stepping outside of ourselves to help others, we can gain a better appreciation for all of the blessings we do have. Service to the community can also help light a new vocational fire in someone who has grown stagnant in theirs.
Pray for your vocation
If God is calling you to take a break from a relationship, use it to listen to him. Spend time with him specifically asking what it is he wants of you in your life. Use Scripture to guide you through your prayer and lean on him to open your heart to receive his word to you.
The past is the past, and this holiday season can be a time of hope for the future. Use this time to grow closer to him, and he will guide you from there.