Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
We’re talking about mending a broken heart, the theme I started in Part 1. I said that lots of people go through pain, and I think it’s an important thing to sometimes reflect on the true meaning of life and the greatest opportunity of all to draw close to God.
It is also an opportunity to learn empathy toward others who are going through the same things. You cannot do all of these things if you try to ignore the pain. Seek God as your healer! Just like you tell a doctor your symptoms, tell God how much you were wounded and need his healing touch. He will hear the cries of the broken. God the Father wants to reach down, take your hand, and walk you through your pain.
Healing takes time
Now, that could take time. It may take weeks. For many of us it will take years, perhaps even a lifetime to close the wounds of our hearts completely. God will spend as much time and as many years as necessary to help you through it. He wants to gently apply the daily salve or ointment of his Holy Spirit to your heart until your heart is healed. I know this because he has done it with me. When I am down, he lifts me up in many different ways. He is there for me to cry on his shoulder, so to speak, and then sends his encouraging Spirit to get me back up and going again.
King David said in Psalm 56: “You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?” God was so aware of David that he even collected his tears. In the same way God is involved and aware of our pain, our joys, our failures, our accomplishments. When Hezekiah was stricken with sickness, he poured out his heart to God. God heard him and saw his tears. God was moved with compassion:
“Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you”’” (2 Kings 20).
Understand that God can be closer to us when the pain is so greater than at any other times in our life. Many people love Psalm 34; it talks about asking and receiving God’s love and encouragement, because He is very near to you. He wants to bring you hope, peace and joy. David wrote in Psalm 34:18 (NIV): “The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Remember this verse by heart and believe it!
Broken-hearted experience is a very painful experience. Even after some time has passed, pain can be triggered back by anything that reminds you of your pain. It could be something as simple as hearing music on the radio that reminds us about our pain. Even though pain can get better with time, what you do with the time determines how long our healing process is. Time is not the best healer; what we do with that time is the best healer. I once met a woman who put her life on hold for 14 years after a painful divorce, and was still hurting 14 years later.
Healing requires coping skills
If you are ever going to heal your broken heart, and find the courage to love yourself and others again, you have to learn some coping skills. A coping skill is a behavioural tool for overcoming difficult situations, without correcting or eliminating the underlying cause. So you don’t need to analyse or worry about the reason your heart got broken, to learn how to feel good about yourself again. Coping skills will help you overcome emotions like anger, feeling rejected, bitterness and sadness, which usually follow a break-up. If you don’t learn to control your emotions, they will control you. They will control your mood, decisions, actions, habits, behaviour, mentality, mindset (your way of thinking) and wellbeing.
First, we need to acknowledge that our heart is broken. You can’t mend or change what you can’t admit. Denial is being unwilling to face the truth on either a conscious or subconscious level. Denial doesn’t make your problem go away, and it can lead to irrational thinking, phobia and fear of facing the truth. It is important to have some grieving time. If you refuse to acknowledge your pain, it just stays at the back of your mind, it doesn’t really go away. In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what has become known as the five stages of grief. They are as follows:
- Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
- Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
- Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will…”
- Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what is going to happen/has happened.”
(To be continued in Mend a Broken Heart – Part 3)