The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
How Do I Get Over A Break-Up I Caused?

Anonymous said:

How do you get over a break up? and fast… know it there’s no way around it but it’s really really hard, especially that 1. It’s my fault and i tried to make it up to him but he can’t decide if he’ll give me a second chance and 2. i have to see him and be civil with him since we work together.

Although I think its for the best because whenever im with him i always felt insecure and pressure d to be this girl that everyone would envy (so i have to be always pretty, funny etc. and it sucks) but I couldn’t get over the fact that now he’s single, he’s gonna party and pick up girls and do single guys stuff and it’s gonna hurt real bad because it’s like nothing happened.

I’m struggling and i just want to be okay.

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey sis,

Thanks for your note. I’m so sorry you’re hurting.

Breaking-up sucks.  It hurts.  For me, it always made me feel like I was on the verge of throwing up.  It was awful.

But, then, slowly, that sick-to-my-stomach feeling began to recede.  That panic started to fade.  And, instead of the white-hot misery, I was left with the lonely question, “What now?”

There’s an old saying, and it goes, “Nothing gets you over the last one, like the next one.”

That saying is true, it turns out.  And, to answer your question of ‘how to get over a breakup fast’, the easy answer is to hop into a relationship with someone new.

That’s not to say this is a smart approach, or that, in the long term, you’ll be glad you did it.  But, it will, functionally, get you over the broken-heartedness of a tough breakup very quickly.

But let’s look at something else, at least for a moment.  You said that the break-up is your fault.  Without knowing the details, I can’t know how true that is, but let’s say you’re right.

Let’s say that you had something really amazing, and beautiful, and you blew it.  (Again, I don’t know that that’s the case, but, for purposes of argument, let’s say it is.)  In that case, I’d like to encourage you to not ‘get over you breakup and quickly’.  Instead, I’d like to encourage you to do the thing that will get you to somewhere awesome in your life:

Look your mistake in the eye, figure out what led you to it, and figure out how to live differently in the future.

I work, in my day job, with men and women coming out of drug addiction.  And they have, in general, made some awful mistakes, and treated the people in their lives terribly.  And then they come to a place – at least briefly – of sobriety.

And before them, in that moment, is a heap of wreckage – the shattered memories of all the relationships they have destroyed.

Some folks, faced with that truth, immediately go back to their drug-of-choice in order to dull the ache.

Some try to pretend nothing bad ever happened, and live for as long as possible in a haze of denial.

But those courageous men and women who truly overcome their addiction and go on to lead beautiful lives do something else.  They open their eyes wide, and take in the vastness of what has happened, and what their actions have caused, and then ask, “What led me to behave this way?”

That same choice is before you.  Let’s say, just as an example, that you cheated on your boyfriend – that you went off and made out with some other guy, and he discovered it, and broke up with you. 

Well, one option – I guess – might be that you’re just an awful person who does awful things.  But that’s pretty much never true.  The other option is that there are thoughts, fears, attitudes, and insecurities that led you down a path where this seemed like a good idea.  Sure, ultimately, you chose to do something wrong, and the responsibility for that rests with you.  But what if there are things in your brain that helped you get there?

So, for example, what if your ex-boyfriend treated you really well, and, on some level, you felt like you didn’t deserve that good treatment.  That, sooner or later, he’d figure out you were no good, and he’d move on.  And, so, maybe, in your brain, there was the feeling that cheating on him would help to move that process along, and we’d reach the inevitable much more quickly, and we’d all be better off.

Well, see, if that’s the case – and this is called ‘sabotage behavior’ – then what we’ve discovered, by staring this in the eye, is that the real struggle for you is self-image.  That a negative self-image led you to a place of feeling inadequate in a good relationship, and those feelings of inadequacy led you to find a way to end that relationship.

Then, what we need is to address is that negative self-image.  We need to declare war on it, get a pastor or mentor involved, and figure out how to change it.

Because, if we do, there is an amazing life waiting.  And, if we don’t, we will do these same things again – it’s just a matter of time.

You can get over your breakup quickly by getting into another relationship.  But, sis, before you do that, let me encourage you to look at this break up, to look at your part in it, and figure out how you got there.  To take responsibility for your actions, and figure out what led you to them.  And to decide to think and live differently in the future, so you can have different – and better – results.

You can do that.  It takes courage, but you already have that, or you wouldn’t have written me this note.  Don’t stop now.  Face this down, and an amazing life awaits.

Your bro,

Jed

What Do You Do When The Loneliness Eats At You?

Anonymous asked you:
I’ve always believed that patience is key and God is preparing me and the man of God I should be with but what happens when patience runs out and life makes me want to give up on ever being with someone. I know people say that you should enjoy single life but what happens when the loneliness, dejection and desperation start to seep in? Thanks Jed :)

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey my friend,

Thank you for your question.  Loneliness is a terrible weight to carry around.  And I’m sorry it’s pressing down on you right now. 

For what it’s worth, it makes sense.  You feel a longing inside of you to share your life with another person, to a have a flesh-and-blood friend and companion and lover and partner, and all the pretty spiritual maxims in the world don’t make the absence of that person any easier.

Loneliness makes sense.

But, now, desperation, that’s another thing entirely.  Desperation says that this thing will probably never happen, and you’re a fool to believe otherwise.  Probably there’s nobody for you.  Probably you will live and die alone. 

This is a lie.

It’s a lie, because, if you want “somebody”, you can have that today.  Seriously.  Where you live, there are bars and clubs where people are going to find “somebody”, and they will.  They will meet, hang out, have sex, and have some form of relationship.  And you can do that, too.  Now, it isn’t a good idea – because it doesn’t work – but you can do that.

I mention this because the realization that you have a choice changes the nature of your singleness.  If you are single because no one will have you, because you don’t have any options, it’s very easy to begin to believe that you are a pathetic and pitiable creature.  And, should some schmuck come along and express an interest, it only makes sense that you would leap at that option – and cling to it – as though your life depended on it.

But, if you have the option of the cheap hook-up, and you’re choosing otherwise, then we’re looking at something else entirely.  If you can go have a mediocre, unsatisfying relationship, and you are actively choosing to wait for something better, that’s a very different position to be in than single-because-no-one-will-have-me.

First, if you’re single-by-choice, we can accept our loneliness without being afraid of it or feeling like it says something negative about us.  I think many single people feel ashamed of their loneliness, that it is in some way a sign of a deficiency on their part.  But you, brave sister, don’t need to feel that way at all.  You have a desire for a specific kind of relationship – one that has not yet come to pass.  The only right emotional response to that reality is a certain measure of loneliness.  (God himself said, “it is not good for man to be alone.”)

Second, if you’re single-by-choice, that means you’re in the driver’s seat in your life.  Which you should be.  A man or woman of God takes control of their life so that the can in turn give that control over to God.  A man or woman of God acts – they don’t react.

And, if you’re in control of your life, then you can – and should – make some active decisions that will move you in the direction of the relationship God does want for you.  Part of that means working on yourself.  Building your relationship with God.  Working on overcoming insecurities and hangups.

Part of it also means beginning to casually date members of the opposite sex so that you can begin to get a better idea of the kind of person you are ultimately looking for.  This is important.

And part of it means putting yourself where the kind of Christian man you’ll discover you want would be.  I can give you a preview of coming attractions.  You want a man who is strong, faithful, confident, kind, compassionate, and able.  Unfortunately, you are not likely to meet a man like that in most churches.

You are far more likely to meet a man like that volunteering at the jailhouse, or the AIDS hospice, or the homeless shelter.  So go to those places.  Get involved.  Volunteer.  And look around to see who else is serving with you.

You are no fool to wait for God’s best, sister.  Now, take the next step in that process, and start looking at what the steps before you are towards recognizing and meeting God’s best.

image

Your Broken Heart Is Not The End

Some of us have a broken heart because we were asked-out, loved, and then cast-aside.

Some of us have a broken heart because no one ever bothered to ask in the first place.

Some of us have a broken heart because promises were made to us and then broken.

And some of us have a broken heart because no one ever made any promises to begin with.

No matter how your heart was broken, know this: your broken heart is not the end.

You are not less than who you once were.  You are not a discounted version of who you could have been.  You are not cheap, easy, forgettable, or forgotten.

What you are is in the middle of your story.  

And we are confident of this: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

Your broken heart is not the end.  Your story does not, and will not, end with a broken heart, broken promises, or broken love.

Your story ends with the culmination of the greatest romance the Universe has ever seen, when the One that has pursued you all your life carries you in his arms across the threshold of his home.  A Lover cradling his Love.  A Husband holding his Bride.  And where your heart is whole, complete, and cherished forever.

Your broken heart is not the end.

How Compatible Do Me and My Boyfriend Need To Be?

hollyim asked you:
Two different people are bound to have different interests, but how much in common should I have with my boyfriend? The “easier” thing for me would be to give up and find someone more “compatible”, but I truly cherish this relationship.. Yet I have doubts because it’s way harder than I thought. I would appreciate your advice as to when to call it quits, and when to persevere. Thanks so much!

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Holly,

This is a fantastic question.

Relationships are serious business, and it’s easy to get to a point of feeling freaked out.  You start looking for problems, and then it’s hard to know what’s real and what you’re imagining, and, before long, you just don’t know which was is up.

So, here’s what we want to do: major on the majors.  What that means is, start with the really important stuff, and go from there.

Older folks talk about the concept of “core values”.  And when they say that, they mean the things that you hold to be most important and least negotiable in your life.

For me, my core values are that God comes first, that he calls shots on what I do and where I go, and that my life is about serving him, no matter what.  In fact, when my wife and I first started dating, we sat down, and I explained, if you’re going to be with me, you need to know that God comes first, no exceptions.  That may mean ministry in the inner city; it may mean a hut in a jungle.  Either way, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)  Now, my wife has the exact same core values, so, she smiled, and told me that the same thing went for me.

So, for you, I’d encourage you to take some time to think and pray about what your core values are.  What is absolutely important to you?  What is inviolate?  What are you absolutely unwilling to compromise on?  I’m betting that list would include some things related to God.  It might include some stuff related to your calling.  And, it might also include stuff related to money, or lifestyle, or location.    But you need to know what is, at the end of the day, ultimately important to you.

Then, do not, under any circumstances, compromise on those things.  Don’t get into a relationship with a person that doesn’t share those core values.  Because, if you do, one or both of you is going to wind up very, very unhappy.  This is, in fact, exactly what the Bible has in mind and is describing when it says, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”  (2 Cor 6:14)  If you take two people who don’t share core values, and ask them to share a life, that only ends in unhappiness.

But, when you find a person that shares your core values, you can begin to relax.  The major stuff is lined up.  From there, it’s about figuring out how to co-exist with another person who isn’t you.  Well, dang, sis, that’s hard for all of us!  You said in your question that you’re having doubts because the relationship is way harder than you expected.  This may not sound like good news, but I promise you, a Christian marriage is harder than you can imagine.  It requires 100% of everything you’ve got, all day, every day, 365 days a year, no exceptions.  The good news is that if you find a person who shares your core values, and both of you are giving it 100%, you will have an awesome and fulfilling marriage.

There’s This Godly Guy I’m Crazy About…

shinebright88 asked you:
Hey Jed! First of all, I LOVE your blog. It always covers a topic that I’m wondering about. 10 months ago, I realized that I had more than friends” feelings for my best guy friend. Since then, i’ve gone through a thousand different emotions. He hasn’t made any comments about it, so i assume he just wants to be friends. He’s the most Godly man I know, and I admire him a lot. He puts his relationship with God above everything else, and I don’t want to be “that girl” who messes that up. Any advice?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Sis,

Thanks so much for the kind words on the blog!

My sister, I think you should go read the book of Ruth.  She was a Godly woman who set her eyes on a Godly man and decided it was go time.  And she wasn’t subtle about it.  And it worked.  And it was awesome.  And she became Jesus’ great-great-great-great Grandma.

I think you may need to pull a Ruth.  Your friend’s a Godly dude.  And that’s what you dig about him.  Awesome.  The only problem is that you say, “He hasn’t made any comments…so I assume he just wants to be friends.” 

Here’s the thing: I am a dude.  And on behalf of dude’s everywhere, we are really, REALLY thick-headed.  I mean, dang.  Subtlety is lost on us.  Like you wouldn’t believe.  We need people – and especially ladies – to be shockingly direct, or we just will not get it.

So gather your courage, and be direct.  Do what Ruth did.  I have a hunch you’ll like the results a whole lot.

I Went Too Far Sexually. Do I Have To Stop Wearing My Purity Ring?

Anonymous asked:
I’ve had a purity ring on for a few years now, but a week ago I broke the rules of staying pure until marriage (I am still a virgin though). Not really rules, but I guess it’s more of a promise with God. Does that mean I have to take the ring off? I feel ashamed and guilty. I know God would forgive me though, is this the devil tempting me to feel this way? What should I do?

Jed Brewer replied:

Darling, I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way.  Shame and guilt are terrible things.

In moments like this, it’s easy to feel so let down, and disappointed in ourselves, and to feel like God must be disappointed, too.  I’ve felt that way.  But the truth is: he’s not.  God isn’t disappointed because he knew what he was getting into when he chose you.  He knew you’d struggle and stumble and mess up, and he loved you and chose you anyway.  In fact, Psalm 139:16 says that God saw every single day of your life before you’d lived any of them. 

So, if God isn’t disappointed in you, if God knew you were a sinner and chose you and loved you anyway, what does that suggest?  I think it suggests that the guilt and shame, no matter how spiritual they feel, aren’t coming from God.

If we turn to the Bible, we find out that’s 100% true.  Check this out:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, NIV)  See, guilt is a status.  It’s an attempt to tell you where you stand.  And what God is saying is that, no matter what, your status is safe in Jesus.  You’re on good terms with God, always, because of what Jesus did on the cross.

And that shame?  Shame is an attack on your identity.  It’s telling you that you’re just a nasty little worm.  And, dang, darling, God does NOT agree with that.  God says that you’re his *child* (1 John 3:1).  God says that you’re a precious treasure (Matthew 13:44).  Make no mistake, God is crazy about you.

Now, then, I don’t know who told you that you needed to make some sort of promise or deal or arrangement with God where you pledge to be “sexually pure”, but I have the sneaking suspicion that they didn’t bother to consult God on whether or not it was a good idea.  (Read Luke 11:46 to see how Jesus felt about people making up “extra stuff” for us to do to keep God happy.  (Preview: He was really, really not a fan.))

The truth is that we’re all sinners.  All of us.  Every single one.  (Including in our sexuality.)  Jesus said that if you lusted it was as sinful as committing adultery, and if you show me a person who’s never lusted, I’ll show you a person who’s struggling with lying.

So where do we go from here?  Wear that purity ring.  Wear it proudly.  But don’t wear it because your good behavior makes you pure.  It doesn’t.  Wear it because Jesus’ death on the cross makes you pure.  Wear it because God loved you so much that he paid every price and bore every burden so that he could lift you out of the mess of your life and save you and give you a new life in him and a purity and holiness that comes from him.  Wear it, and, whenever you see it on your finger, let it remind you that God took your mistakes and shortcomings and washed them away and made you pure as the driven snow (Isaiah 1:18).  Because that’s exactly what He has done. 

I’m Terrified of Having My Heart Broken Again.

Anonymous asked:
Hi,I was in a relationship a while ago. He hurt me a lot, and wouldn’t speak to me afterwards to get any sort of closure from it, like none at all. I had to find it on my own. I’ve decided to try to let go of the anger and to forgive him and myself for any mistakes. Now, I’m in a constant fear and anxiety of going back to that same place of hurt. And now, it has become difficult to remember all the ways he hurt me and it makes me have a harder time moving forward.

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Anon,

First, before anything, I’m really sorry you’re hurting.  I’m sorry that your heart got broken, and I’m sorry the guy you were with handled things the way he did.  For what it’s worth, that really sucks.

What I think I hear you saying is that you went through a terrible period of suffering, and you feel almost a panic about making sure that it never happens again, but, you’re not sure what you can do to keep history from repeating itself.

I don’t know the details of what you experienced, but, what you’re describing is consistent with what people experience when they go through a trauma.  In other words, at least for you – internally - it sounds like this experience went way beyond a broken heart, into something debilitating.  And we need to figure out why.

When I was in high school, I dated a gal for maybe a month and a half, and then she broke things off.  And that messed me up – bad – for more than a year.  Our relationship hadn’t been all that hot and heavy, but the end of it just plain crushed me.  And I had friends who, at a certain point, started to say, “Dude, what’s going on here?  Why can’t you move on?”

What it took me a very long time to realize is that I didn’t feel loved or wanted by my family.  (And, of course, I didn’t have any kind of walk with the Lord.)  So, this dating relationship was the one place in my life where I experienced being loved.  Thus, when it ended, I was cast into a purgatory of feeling completely unloved and unwanted, in life as a whole.  That’s why I felt crushed, and why I just couldn’t move on.

I tell you that story to mention that what would have been a run-of-the-mill break-up to anybody else (and it certainly was to her) was devastating to me.  And it was devastating because of other things in my life that I wasn’t aware of at the time.

For you, sis, it sounds like you may be dealing with something similar.  Again, the feeling of panic that we have to make sure “this never happens again” is generally something people feel as a response to life-and-death events.  So, what that suggests is that, to you, this breakup was life-and-death. 

There’s a reason you feel that way, and I’d encourage you to find an older Christian mentor or pastor and start talking things out.  Because, unfortunately, if we don’t fix whatever underlying problem is causing us to feel traumatized, the terrible thing is very likely to happen again.  And that’s no good.

The good news, anon, is that, whatever the underlying problem is, it’s fixable.  And fixing that problem will take you from a place of being victimized to a place of being able to enjoy blessings in your life. 

Make it a point to find that older Christian you can keep it real with.  Share your story with them and ask them to help you figure out what’s driving the hurt on this.  The hard work will be worth it.

Keep in touch.  I’m praying for you.

If you read one article - ever - about dating as a Christian, it should be this one.  Check it and spread the word!

unkaglen:

Let’s face it, dating is a modern cultural phenomenon. The Bible doesn’t say anything about it, because dating as we know it today didn’t exist back then. So can we still apply the Bible to the modern cultural phenomenon of dating? You bet. But it won’t work to try and rewrite the rules of dating…

What’s So Great About Sex? – Vol. 3

Quick Intro:
In this series, we’re taking a look at the way God designed sex to work within marriage, and how awesome it is.  We’re specifically looking at a book in the Bible called “Song of Solomon”, which comes right before Isaiah.  The whole book is about how great sex is within marriage.  In fact, it’s an explicit conversation between a husband and wife.  Seriously – check it out.

Today: The Total Package!

Alright, my friends.  We’re about to put the secular world to shame.  This is from Song of Solomon, and, in this passage, the husband is talking about his wife:

“Body and soul, you are paradise,
   a whole orchard of succulent fruits.” (c.f. Song of Solomon 4:8-15, MSG)

A stand up comic once said, “I don’t care how gorgeous a woman is, somewhere on earth, there’s a guy that’s sick of putting up with her nonsense.”  (He may have used a word other than “nonsense.”)

But his point is well taken.  They say that beauty is only skin deep, and, in a worldly sense, that could not be more true.

The awful reality is that physical beauty – or a lack of it – is a weird handicap in every direction in the dating world.  Folks who don’t have the greatest looks are ignored, whether they’re amazing people or not.  And folks who have striking features and fast metabolisms are generally deluged with attention from people who just want something out of them.  And neither situation is good.

The secular world has so reduced romance and sexuality to something physical that people routinely have sex with people they don’t even like.  A non-Christian friend of mine once reported that he wound up on a date with a woman he couldn’t stand, so he decided to try and get her into bed as a way of making up for a crappy evening.

As it turns out, this is nothing to shoot for.  All we have here is a pool of people judging each other on appearances, and then using each other to scratch an itch.  Nothing could be more sad, and nothing could be less satisfying.

But, in a Christian marriage, what we see is your spouse beholding both your physical body and your spiritual self, and digging all of it.

The husband in this passage is clearly entranced by his wife’s beauty (just read everything that comes before this verse).  But he is turned on by her personhood – her soul – just as much.

Now, we’ve all heard the bland and terrible phrase, “She has a nice personality.”  But that isn’t what’s being said here.

The husband is saying that both her physicality and spirituality are overflowing with awesomeness.  Yes, altogether, she is a paradise, but that paradise is composed of detail after detail after detail (an orchard has many trees in it!), and that every bit of it is being tasted and savored and explored.  He is as turned on by her kindness as he is by her curves.

To the husband in this passage, sex isn’t about scratching an itch.  And it isn’t about celebrating his wife’s physical beauty – not solely.  No, to the husband, sex with his wife is a celebration of all of her – mind, body, and spirit.

Here’s why this matters.  You will be physically attracted to your spouse, yes, but God wants to give you the total package.  God wants to give you a spouse who excites you and turns you on with their heart as well as their body.

And that means that it only gets better.  As you grow as a Christian, your personhood grows richer, and deeper, and more amazing.  You’re becoming who you really are.  And, to your spouse, all of that is more and more of a turn-on.

In the secular world, when two people hook up, you can start the timer until they’re bored with each other, and they move on.  But in God’s plan, there is always more to discover in your spouse, and your marriage, and your sexuality.  There is always more to savor and to celebrate.  Yes, age and physical decline happen to us all.  But God wants to give you a marriage where, wrinkles or no, your spouse sees you ministering to a person going through a hard time and gets that look in their eye of, “My, my, my.  Just wait till I get you home.”

This is sexuality that only gets better. My friends, that’s what God wants for you. It’s what awaits you, and it’s worth waiting for.

Want to give dating advice?  Need to give dating advice?  Afraid you don’t know what to say?  Check this post!

thebridgechicago:

Anonymous asked: My friends talk to me about their relationship problems a lot. I want to give them advice, especially if something bad is going on in the relationship. The thing is, I don’t have much dating experience. So should I just not say anything? I want to help!

I answered: If you…