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What if This Breakdown is a Breakthrough?

What if This Breakdown is a Breakthrough?

It was a Sunday afternoon. He came over, sat on my front porch, and told me the ball was in my court. We hadn’t talked much in a few days, and it felt tense, but he smiled at me kindly and I knew I just needed to be honest. Counseling that week had been a doozy, and my heart and mind had been heavy all week with everything I was processing and realizing. As we sat in the humid August heat and I tried to wrap words around everything I was feeling, tears started welling up in my eyes. It all felt like too much. I didn’t know how to end this, but I knew I needed to. I didn’t know how to step away, but I knew that the direction things were heading wasn’t healthy for me. I didn’t know what to say, didn’t want to hurt him, but knew I needed to do what was best for myself, as selfish as that seemed and as hard as that was.

That conversation broke something open in me.

It felt like weeks of wrestling with hard realities and ugly truths and uglier sin patterns in my life had all come to a front and brought me to this place where I was crying on a porch, skin sticky with stress sweat and humidity, trying not to make eye contact with this person I was walking away from.

It felt like a breakdown.

It wasn’t him, not really. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be in a relationship, because ultimately, I do. It wasn’t that he didn’t make me happy, or that things between us hadn’t been fun. It was something more, something bigger, something I couldn’t even quite put my finger on.

It was more that this person, in this season, with my heart and mind in the state they were in, with my battle with my persistent depression, with my realization that I don’t actually think I have forgiven myself for past mistakes, with my struggle to truly and deeply love my own self, with my wrestling with faith and what I actually believe to be true about God in my life… all of it was just creating a perfect storm in my life. Something had to give.

And while that afternoon felt like a massive breakdown, the more I talked it out and cried at the kitchen table with my sweet and gracious roommate, the more I started to see it differently.

What if this breakdown was actually a breakthrough?

What if this conversation was happening with this person because I had actually decided to live differently instead of continuing in old, worn patterns I’m so prone to playing out in relationships?

What if these questions of faith and belief and truth that I was wrestling with were actually coming from an honest place of seeking God in all his glory, with all of my broken and beloved humanity?

What if this wasn’t just one more example of how messed up I am, or what a failure I’ve become, but instead a situation where I chose to try something new and open myself up, and learn in the process despite the end result not being what I had hoped?

What if there was freedom on the other side of these decisions, this conversation, this situation?

It changed everything to reframe this breakdown as a breakthrough.

I saw hope where before I just saw despair.

I saw forgiveness where there had been shame.

I saw peace where there had been unrest.

I saw growth, new life coming from once dead places.

I saw progress, forward instead of backward.

I saw Jesus at work, changing my heart and my life to be a little bit more aligned with his perfect vision and plan for my life than before. I saw healing happening, even in a hard situation where everything hurt. I saw resurrection springing up inside of me, and it was something to celebrate.

Something did have to end. Closure did have to come. Goodbyes had to be made, and tears were shed. But something new began there too. A new door opened. A new opportunity came for me to live more freely in the way God designed for me. All I had to do was see it, believe it, choose it, and move into it.

A breakthrough, indeed.

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Rachel Dawson

Rachel Dawson is a believer, editor, writer, social media manager, and bookworm living in Richmond, VA. She's the design editor for a handful of Christian sites by day, and runs The Rising blog and quite a few other creative and community-building endeavors on the side. You’ll often find her in coffeeshops with her nose in a book and a vegan latte in hand, but she’ll drop everything to swap stories and talk about Jesus with you. She also loves the Enneagram, doodling her sermon notes, Instagramming too much, tacos, and sharks... you know, the important things. You can find her online at or @racheladawson on Twitter and Instagram.

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