By Jasmine Baucham
Romance has not always been the most pleasant experience for me.
That may shock you, considering that I have tried my best to do relationships by the book. But even when all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted, rejection is sometimes a reality we just have to face.
This is not one of those articles where I tell you the secrets I have learned to how not to do relationships. This is an article written to my sisters in Christ who have experienced the pain of rejection; I want to talk to you about the lessons you did not learn in the rejection. And you can see me after class for other post-breakup recommendations, like Skittles or finding a way to get Cam Newton’s phone number.
Lesson #1: You Did Not Learn that It is Wrong to Trust
I think we’ve probably seen too many revenge movies or something like them. Every time a relationship dissolves, we face the startling temptation to put on black face paint and go off the grid: “That’s the last time I ever put my heart on the line. It’s time to fulfill my lifelong calling of being a crime-fighting vigilante in Gotham.”
Just stop. Because I’m 98% sure that if tall, dark, and handsome man you have been waiting for walks through the door, takes you in his arms, and tells you Mr. Walkaway was a jerk who didn’t know what he had, you’ll be like, “… Okay.” And you’d be putting your heart out there all over again.
There is no way to enter a relationship that could potentially lead to the most important human relationship God has created—marriage—without risking pain if things don’t work out. Trusting is an opportunity to hope in the Lord and to see what he does with those desires. The pain of a relationship that doesn’t work out is just one of the symptoms of living this side of Eden. It’s just another opportunity for us to ground our hope in things eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Lesson #2: You Did Not Learn Everything That’s Wrong with You
First of all, that’s just too much to learn in one relationship. There is more wrong with you than you or your ex-significant other could ever realize.
But, secondly, if you use your relationship track record as a way to hash out everything you need to change in order to find love, you run the temptation of believing that the love of another is something that you earn based on your level of perfection.
I am so very imperfect. And I will always do things to push others away. Every day of my life, almost every hour, I will do something that has the capacity to offend someone else. Lord willing, I will meet a man who realizes the same thing about himself and decides to forbear with me through my elaborate cocktail of imperfection (1 Corinthians 13). And then I’ll be living the dream.
Lesson #3: You Did Not Learn That All Men Are Jerks
They’re just not.
In fact, even all the ones who reject us are not.
All men struggle with the same sin problem we talked about in #2. All men are desperately in need of a Savior to show them what love is and to give them the right kind of love for the women they choose. But all men are not out to ruin and disappoint your fragile dreams. There are some really good guys out there. Some of them have to make really tough decisions about relationships. Some of those really tough decisions are really hurtful to us.
Life is tough.
Lesson #4: You Did Not Learn That Singleness is the Problem
Girl. As much as rejection does hurt, and as hard as the relationship game is, it’s got nothing on the hardship of becoming one with another sinner. There are no time-outs in marriage: you are tethered to that sinful human being for the rest of your life.
Now, on this side of the fence, being tethered to a man seems like a much better option than being left behind, and in a beautiful mystery of God’s making, it is. But don’t believe the lie that marriage is an end to interpersonal pain.
Lesson #5: You Did Not Learn That God Doesn’t Care About You
Stop it right there, Job.
Not only does God care about you, but Christ sympathizes with you (Hebrews 4:15).
No rejection we face in this life will come close to what Christ endured on the Cross. And he suffered it willingly, as the guiltless Savior, that we may know the unmerited acceptance of God.
You do not get to say that those nail-scarred hands have forgotten or forsaken you (Isaiah 55:3) because a temporal relationship showed you that this world is not your home.
So… What Did You Learn?
Probably a lot.
I know I did.
That first relationship, especially, was a doozy full of lessons that could fill a book. But heartache is not merely anecdotal. Walking away with a list of learned lessons does not diminish the sting of rejection. Being able to walk with others through the pain doesn’t make it go away in hindsight.
Growing pains, especially those brought on by other people in our lives, especially brought on by romantic failures, cut us to the core. But as that flesh is peeled away, as the Spirit of God takes root and does his beautiful work, remember not to face rejection in hardness of heart, but in hope. Because you are accepted by one whose love puts all other loves to shame.
Obviously, it would be nice to have that and the human stuff, too. So, cry, for sure. But don’t stay there. Remember what you haven’t learned from this and move forward with the boldness to love as you have been loved by Christ, able to forgive the shortcomings that were nailed to the cross right alongside yours.
I don’t know what better preparation for love there could possibly be.
Jasmine is the oldest of Voddie and Bridget Baucham’s eight children. She is a homeschool graduate, holds a BA in English Literature, and is currently pursuing an Master of Arts in Religion. Jasmine currently serves as a sixth grade teacher at a classical/university model school in Houston. She is the author of Joyfully at Home, and loves living at home where she continues to learn from her mother, enjoy her siblings, assist her father and others in research, and will begin studying at Reformed Theological Seminary this summer.
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