“At this time I feel like it’s best for us to be friends”…is an excerpt taken directly from the text message he sent me. Although I had convinced myself that this would be one of the hardest pills to swallow, (hence my presence in the relationship far beyond its true expiration date), this statement alone became the beginning of my beginning!

I had endured so much anxiety attempting to prevent this moment from arriving. Forget ALL of the red flags! You know how it’s said to be for some of us ladies: I was thirty years old, that relationship was inching towards a year, the celibate journey was getting more and more daunting…the last thing I wanted to endure was the idea of breaking, healing, then waiting to meet a candidate all over again! Nonetheless, it happened!

“At this time I feel like it’s best for us to be friends.” Once I completely read the entire lengthy message, if I am honest with myself, I could not agree more. *Sigh* Without getting into detail, I tried to assist God with His plans for me YET AGAIN! YET AGAIN, His grace intervened. To my surprise, the very thing I had spent most of my energy trying to prevent came bearing my PEACE! The world, in fact, continued to rotate on its axis (contrary to my irrational beliefs) and I was now removed from what I had CHOSEN to bear and given the opportunity to take HIS yoke. What did His yoke consist of in this case? STANDARDS…Standards, all of which seemed so familiar to the once ON FIRE, He’s so faithful to perform Toya. Immediately God reminded me that within these lost standards was my true identity, my true worth, HIS plans for me, and HIS promises for me. I thank God for the break UP because I was definitely nearing a breakdown!

Let’s explore the beauty of my break UP.

Break UP (my definition): a. The opposite of break down. b. Consisting of one’s head remaining upright and reliant of His strength in weakness. c. Separating from maladaptive posture, while consistently moving forward. d. Finding the testimony in hardships.

What/Who did I really need to break up with? What was it that I needed to deal with before it dealt with me? In this case, the gentleman involved was merely one entity of my dilemma. My break up with him was only the first domino in a line among others. It wasn’t until this break UP, that I realized that I assessed my self worth based on others’ perceptions of me. This was a HUGE mistake and a condition that I too had to break up with: effective immediately.

My break UP has enabled me to ultimately BREAK AWAY. Break away from guilt obligating me to stay, low self-esteem, emotional abuse, my own understanding, and the root of it all, FEAR! Because my world, as I knew it, had been shaken up, I was challenged to awaken strength and faith that had apparently lied dormant in me, and that had caused me to believe I had to take what I could get. Typically, I’d begin to pray for direction only accepting one of a few paths: to “wait on God” for the right man, to believe that the same man would “get it together” and we’d come back around, or to altogether keep myself overwhelmed with commitments increasing my anxiety to prevent my depression. Yikes! However, these break UPs forced me to face ME. The mirror reflected insecurity, trauma (from previous relationships), and the fear of loneliness. As amazing as she was on paper, in relationships, in endeavors, and even in the eyes of many others, I wasn’t sure I could confirm nor deny that I truly loved her…that I truly had her best interest at heart. For the first time, I realized the rent-free arrangement that I had with the very emotions that were stripping my joy and stagnating my faith. It seemed impossible to be kind, patient, nurturing, and aligned with myself, as a way to truly heal. Crazy to hear a therapist say this right? I knew I had to defy this reality and learn myself to some day love myself. And…so…I…did!

…but how did I Break UP?

I had to learn that the long-term guarantee of a break UP was a renewed mind. A renewed mind not only comes from the desire to break UP, but from the actual HONEST pursuit to do so. I am guilty of working on “E” a lot more often than I am proud of. Sparks are sometimes everywhere, but I insist that I do just one or ten more things, first, before refueling. My commitment and loyalty in relationships was no different. I prayed and cried, and prayed and cried on multiple occasions asking God to renew my heart and mind and to free me ( from myself). I would often feel better in the moment, but it seemed in the matter of minutes of my quiet praise and worship sessions, anxiety would flood my mind all over again. It is obviously unrealistic for me to spend the rest of my life in formal worship posture and streaming tears, so I therefore had to change my formula.

I had to surrender! This step was so important because only God could truly renew my mind. Every time He has, He has succeeded! In order for Him to complete His work in us however, we must surrender our own thoughts, timelines, and expectations of how the process will manifest. This is by far easier said than done, but in my short lifestyle of desperate surrender, I have been utterly AMAZED!

After surrendering, I incorporated discipline. Any time I sensed depressive like symptoms, I redirected my energy immediately. What is it that I should be thinking about to assist me with taking another step in my assigned footsteps? Where is His peace? What can I do to fulfill my purpose TODAY? My motto and meditation became Philippians 4:8b, “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.”

In summary, my break UPs consisted of (B)reaking away, (R)enewal, (E)valuation, (A)ccepting my journey, (K)nowing my own worth, (U)niting with God’s Will for me by Faith, and (P)lanting my feet in my ordained footsteps. This has been MY journey as a single woman. What’s yours? How might you insert your own break UPs in this story? What questions would you benefit filling in the blanks for? What break UPs does your life require? As I write this to encourage each one of you, I am literally in the midst of facing a fear and a dream combined. My journey of break Ups and self exploration is not to be misunderstood however. I STILL await the man God has for me. I STILL believe I have been called to be a wife. I STILL desire to be a mother. The difference is, in my next relationship, I will be in place to ACCURATELY and holistically introduce myself. Toya…who isn’t so bad after all…who is done forcing herself to succumb to society’s norms, irrational expectations, and living beneath her standards, and who is finally embracing that she ALREADY is all that God says she is! And…SO…ARE…YOU! Insert your name here: Go _______________!

You’ve got this.

Blessings and Love,

PS, just in case you ever need a bit more affirming here are some great Break UP Scriptures:

Genesis 50:20 “God means well”
Psalm 139:14- “You are a masterpiece”
Romans 12:2-“Reboot your mind daily”
1 Corinthians 2:9- “You have seen nothing yet”
Philippians 4:8-“Think UP”

LaToya Braxton is a Pediatric Mental Health and Marriage and Family Therapist, currently practicing in her native state, California. In response to a deficit within her church and community, she launched a non-profit organization, with the objective to educate, confront, and channel the REAL essence of being a lady entitled, COVEREDGIRL. In addition to her advocacy for the holistic wellbeing of children, youth, and transitioning age adults, LaToya is a speaker, writer, entrepreneur, community advocate, and servant in her local church body. She is currently pursuing fluent proficiency in Spanish and American Sign Language. God’s will for her footsteps continues to require LaToya to travel the world, demonstrating His love through mental health and community organization. LaToya earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Management from Stillman College, a Masters in Counselor Education from the University of Florida, and an Education Specialist Degree also from the University of Florida. Go Gators! For self-care, LaToya enjoys leisurely traveling, outdoor adventures, trying new cuisine, family time, and taking on DIYs.