Q: My boyfriend just dumped me. He said he wasn’t ready for a relationship yet. What should I say or do?

I’m sorry that it hurts, sis! Breakups are painful. There’s just no way around that. But after a good cry-it-out and a handful of chocolate chips, gather up your courage and follow this five-step plan:

Step 1: Hold your head high. Take on each day with dignity and humility. Don’t insult him, talk bad about him, try to convince him his decision is wrong, etc. Just be you—the you that God adores—and treat your ex like you should treat everyone else, with class and respect, no matter how he treats you.

Step 2: Put some distance between you. Don’t try to hang on, or hope his feelings for you will come back if he spends time with you. He may want to continue to “hang out,” which might be alright for him, but probably really hard for you. If you need space, ask him for it, and ask him to respect your request.

Step 3: Give it timeHave you ever watched out the window when taking off in an airplane? You know how the world below gets really small the further up you go? I think the same is true with painful situations. Time has a way of making each one seem small(er)—sometimes it just takes a while to get there!

Step 4: Trust that Christ will see you through all situations. Yep—that includes this one! Philippians 4:4-7 is good medicine for a broken heart:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Step 5: Arm yourself. When our heart is breaking, we’re easy prey for our enemy. Don’t let his lies get all up in your head—lies like, “I’m not good enough—that’s why he left me,” or “I’ll never be happy again.” Instead, dig deep into Truth with a capitol T (God’s Word) so you’ll be able to ditch the negative self-talk. You might also want to read a relationship book as you figure out where to go from here. My book, Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break Youis one option. It’s got practical tips for healing from past relationships, and lots about how to build a solid relationship in the future.

So think about kingdom things (Colossians 3:2), give it time, get some space, and hold your head high. You are an amazing creation of Christ, a child of God, worth far more to Him than the flowers—and look how beautiful they are. Imagine how beautiful you are to God!

(Bonus step: Takes some time to read Psalm 139 tonight before you go to bed. Consider it God’s love letter to you today.)

Love,