when God says ‘no’ (+ 5 things to do when that happens)

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “He’s interested in someone else.”

Those words were a devastating blow to the months and months and months of hoping, praying, and crying I’d done about This One Guy. The whole thing had been an entirely new experience for me. Sure, I’d had crushes here and there (more like mindless infatuation, really) but I’d never felt this seriously about anyone. I really thought that this guy was maybe, hopefully the one for me, the one I’d end up marrying.

And then…the talk with his mom.

Everything bottomed out after I heard those words. I went home from church and sat in my family’s van and cried and prayed and read a bit of the Psalms. I called a friend from church and my pastor’s wife and my assistant pastor’s wife and talked to them about it. And then I came inside and my siblings made a special run to the store to get me chocolate ice cream (classic breakup food—not that it was a breakup :P) and I think I watched an episode of Sue Thomas F.B. Eye. (I make fun of that show but it’s been my go-to more than once when I need a break from stress or grief or anything.)

The thing is that I think God led me to talk to the guy’s mom and tell her how I felt. I kind of thought that after if found out that it wasn’t going to work, I’d be able to move on and be fine (though I knew I’d be crushed at first). I’m glad that I found out the truth instead of going on for months and months more, thinking that I had a chance, but it was it was also fun, y’know? Having that one person who you just really, really like and imagining a future, all of that. (Annnnnd this is why my pastor said that, in future, I should be careful to guard my heart so that I don’t get emotionally invested in a guy without knowing whether or not it’s God’s will. :P)

The bottom line is…

God said ‘no’.

And He’s God! If He makes it clear that something’s not His will, then you’re pretty much up against an immovable wall. (I know people do things out of His will every day, but do you get the difference? Like, I can’t make the guy fall in love with me. Any relationship I have in the future will have to be brought about by God because yeah. I just…can’t. Like, I could chase guys until I got one—maybe—but that’s so lame!)

How do you deal with that, when God says that to you? How am I dealing with it?

Well, in some ways, I’m not. *hides face* But here are a few things I’ve learned in the past couple of months (I’m still learning, learning, learning and I stumble and fall SO many times, so please don’t think that I’m some perfect Christian blogger).

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When we pray, we aren’t just talking to ourselves (though it can sometimes feel that way). We’re talking to God. To Jesus. It’s getting alone with God, pouring out your heart before Him, telling Him exactly how you feel and then leaving it in His hands as a kind and loving Father Who will always do what’s best.

There may be a temptation to draw back from God, to give up on prayer, to think “What’s the use? What I was praying for didn’t happen. God didn’t give me the answer I wanted and He could have. He’s God, after all!” While I don’t remember if I’ve ever prayed a similar prayer, I know that it can be something in our hearts—even if we never specifically pray it to God. He knows what’s in the darkest corners of our heart too. We can’t hide anything from Him. And, truthfully, His will for your life is better than anything you could plan for yourself. He truly loves you! Please don’t ever doubt that, even when disappointment makes His love seem distant.

If you’re struggling to put your thoughts into words in order to pray, don’t stress about it! God knows our thoughts before we even think them. (Psalm 139:2b says “thou understandest my thought afar off“.)

An awesome thing to do if you can’t put your feelings into words is to start praying through the Psalms. David and the other psalmists seem to have experienced every emotion known to man and they poured out those feelings (under inspiration of the Holy Ghost) into gorgeous poetry. Often, one particular Psalm can capture your emotional state so perfectly that it seems weird not to pray it out to God, y’know?

Here are some great passages to read, pray through, and meditate on: Psalm 62:5-8, Psalm 57:1-2, Psalm 27, Psalm 9:9-11, Psalm 16, Psalm 30, Psalm 37:3-8, Psalm 71, Psalm 84:10-12, Psalm 91, and Psalm 138:7-8. And there are tons more! Those are just some that I’ve highlighted or have found really special to me, personally. Comment and tell me some Psalms that have helped you through a tough time—I’d love to check them out.

Do you have a support system? People—one, two, or more—who you can count on to be there for you with words of encouragement, hope, and good advice when you need it most? I hope so! I’m blessed to be surrounded by awesome, supportive people but there have been times when I either didn’t reach out to them or when I didn’t feel as though I actually had many people to turn to. (The particular time I’m thinking about is another blog post altogether—we’ll see.)

Like I talked about above, when I found out that the guy I was interested in was actually interested in someone else, there were three different people I called. I also talked with my sister and texted another friend in the church during that time. And then there was also my pastor a couple days later, plus the guy’s mom actually.

I feel really blessed to have all that support.

If you’re going through a tough time, reach out to the people around you. I know it can be really scary to do that, even if it’s someone you like and trust. Maybe you’re not sure how they’ll react or if they’ll actually be able to help you.

The truth is that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in troubles. He should be the One we turn to first. But He also puts people in our lives and He created us to need human interaction. He sets the lonely in families.

Don’t be content with surface conversations. Call someone up, arrange to meet them for coffee, and then let them know what you’re struggling with. Be honest and let them pray for you and walk with you through this time. Your relationship with them will be strengthened and it’ll be amazing in the end.

God is God. There are so many adjectives that we could use to describe Him. So many verses we could go to to explain Who He is. But sometimes in the middle of our day to day lives, we can lose sight of Him, even though we know He exists, that He’s there and that He sees and hears us.

It’s always a good idea to get alone by yourself and truly meditate on Who God is and what He’s done for us. I don’t know about you, but when I really start to think of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross and the amazing love that poured into that sacrifice…it really puts my problems into perspective. How can I sit around feeling sorry for myself when Someone literally died for me? When He loves me so much, has done so much for me?

When I was struggling with a different problem, I started a list of truths about God and then wrote out verses to support each truth. I didn’t do nearly as much on that list as I should have, but maybe I’ll return to it someday. I highly recommend that you start your own list as well!

Our hearts are deceitful and when we’re led by our emotions, our lives become a roller-coaster. I don’t feel loved. I don’t feel like God is there. I don’t feel as though He’s actually kind and merciful. I don’t feel forgiven.

Thankfully feelings don’t equal truth. God’s Word is truth. Jesus is truth. We all need to return to the Bible every single day to discover truths about God, meditate on them, and let Who He is and what He’s done calm our spirits and increase our love for Him.

Yep, I’m still sad about the whole thing. Sometimes I cry quite a bit, even though it’s been *quickly checks journal* close to two months since I found out about The Realities of Life. (#traumaqueen) And the thing is, it’s totally okay to grieve—even if it’s two years (or more) since you’ve been hurt. God doesn’t put a time limit on our grief. We do, however, need to guard our heart against becoming bitter, jealous, hateful, or any other sinful emotion. We need to keep taking our tears to God, giving the pain over to Him, and letting Him do what He wants with our lives. Because…

Joy comes in the morning.

He gives beauty for ashes.

His mercies are new every morning.

He makes everything beautiful in its time.

Our expectation is from Him.

And He loves us. So grieve, yes. But always, always remember Who your God is. Don’t turn from Him. Instead, run toward Him with every problem.

You’ve prayed. You’ve cried. You’ve cried to friends. You’ve cried out to God. You feel as though you’ll probably never be happy again. You’ve eaten way too many carbs in the past few days.

Well, it’s time to do something.

I’m not saying that you have to run a 5K marathon. Or wash the dishes, even. Just something as simple as making your bed. Or putting on some fun earrings. Or reading a book to your little sibling. The big things can come later. Right now is the time to take one baby step forward.

Done that? Looking for more? Well, what I’ve found is that throwing yourself into activities doesn’t take away your feelings or your grief or anything of that. Only God can turn your sorrow into true joy. But getting things accomplished is helpful in a couple different ways: one, it does provide a distraction and two, when you push yourself to spend time with friends, make a delicious supper, work, garden, etc., you’re still moving forward and doing good things. Not doing anything and regretting it is one of the worst feelings.

In the last couple of months, I’ve worked on a couple different writing projects, made supper almost every night (cooking is the besssst), done church projects and activities, spent time with friends, and more. I still struggle! But I’m glad that I can look back on those two months and see that I did stuff with my life.

So when you feel ready, do a little something. You’ve got this. ❤

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Wow. That ended up being super long. Thanks for hanging in there! And now I want to hear from you guys: what are some of your tips for working through grief, trauma, heartbreak, etc.? Let me know in the comments. ❤

Eva-Joy