We all have needs that must be met.
My worst mistake in relationships is not taking my needs to God first. Whenever I needed comfort, protection, companionship or validation, I looked to people before I looked to God.
Recently, though, I've started doing the opposite. I wish I'd learned how to earlier – it would have saved a lot of pain. The amazing thing is that God has been meeting my needs, sometimes within a moment of laying them at His feet.
A breakup can be the favour of God.
In my last relationship, I made the terrible mistake of treating the man I loved like he was the only source of my needs getting met. He felt like he couldn't live his own life without hurting me in the process. It became that way gradually, although neither of us intended for it. I think it happens in a lot of relationships, without either party realising it until there's a great deal of pressure and pain.
God will never hurt us with His gifts, and relationships are a gift. Sometimes He's asked me to lay things at His feet so that He can work on my character and prepare me to receive those same gifts in the future. It wasn't until the inevitable breakup that I realised many of my needs had not been getting met for months – and it was entirely my fault. I had stopped giving my cares, worries and needs to God. In a way, He asked me to let go of a man so that He could give me Himself.
That realisation changed my whole perspective on the pain I was feeling during the breakup process. I suddenly realised that the breakup was the favour of God. He was there to comfort me in my pain and teach me to think differently about the process. He loved me too much to let me settle for a life of anxiety and pain, which would have been my fortune if I'd never learned to go to God with my needs first.
In my experience, God has never closed a door without opening another. When that relationship ended, about seven other healthy and life-giving friendships sprang up in its place. The healing process was still painful and a little messy, but only during the times I allowed my thoughts to get away from me.
There is power in vulnerability.
I remember, immediately after the breakup, telling God that I would need my friends around me in order to heal. I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many incredible leaders disguised as close friends, each one a powerhouse of love and wisdom. I found myself opening parts of my heart to them that I'd always kept hidden – suddenly admitting that I had a strong fear of rejection and often found myself performing for love, without intending to.
These incredible friends all shared with me their testimonies, and they all seemed to say, "I've been there, and it's okay." Most importantly, they showed me what happens to a person's character when you become vulnerable with God and trust Him with your needs. They gave me so much hope that, on the other side of this process, there is incredible freedom.
God didn't ask me to lay down a relationship because I had failed – He asked me to lay it down so He could give me Himself. The conversations I had with friends in that earliest stage of healing convinced me that this was a worthwhile process... and it would require taking a leap of faith. It's one thing to go through a breakup, but it's entirely different to let go.
The greatest risk I took wasn't in opening up my heart to loving friends... the real risk was sitting in my bedroom alone, telling God, "You can have this thing I've been holding on to." The moment I did that, I felt peace and hope.
God can and will meet our needs.
One of the first things I did after my breakup was enroll in a class through my church that is focused on inner healing. For the first time ever, I was willing to do the work required to strengthen my character. I knew it would require being vulnerable, but there was absolutely no way around it anymore. I couldn't go on pretending I wasn't in pain.
Deep-rooted wounds came up quietly, one at a time – and for each one, God had an answer. God spoke so much truth into my life and identity... and in my vulnerability, I stood up a little straighter. Whenever I struck a wound so raw it was painful, I would ask Holy Spirit to comfort and cover me, and He always would. When I found myself wishing for a friend, I would invite Jesus in. God gave me all the tools I needed to finally be vulnerable and get healing.
Now that I can go to Him with my needs, all of my relationships feel much safer. The stakes always used to feel high in my relationships, but once I realised that I already had what I needed, my relationships shifted. Now, I feel safe being vulnerable because rejection has lost its power. God meets all of my needs, so my friendships and relationships are the place I pour into, not the well I draw my security from.
Grace Wood lives in Redding, California. She is constantly inspired by the beauty around her. She loves to hike, fish, ski, and take long walks. She is passionate about worship and seeing God's love lived out through her community.
Grace Wood's articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/grace-wood.html