By Jennifer Maggio, Crosswalk.com
It comes rushing in like a familiar friend who unexpectedly comes for a visit, and it’s usually bearing luggage for a long-term stay. A broken heart. Unfortunately, we’re all too familiar with its grip. The weight of a broken heart leaves grief in its wake, making most of us gasp for air as we flail our arms trying to escape its immovable grip. The pain is substantial. The vibrant blues and yellows of life quickly turn gray and we find ourselves trudging through. It’s usually not the weight of one thing that puts us under. Rather it’s the occurrence of seemingly a thousand. A thousand pains. Disappointments. Blows. One more failed relationship. Another lost job. One more rejection from a friend. A broken heart sucks the air from our mouths. We want to breathe and live and laugh. We just can’t. I want to talk to the one who is muddling through a broken heart today.
Broken hearts stem from loss – a loved one, a season, a job, health, a dream, a relationship, or the word wounds of a loved one. A broken heart comes in like a mighty river, snatching everything in its path, leaving a wake of destruction. Do you ever feel like you’ve had more than your fair share of broken hearts? Like maybe you’ve suffered one too many blows and this thing is going to take you out? Like it isn’t fair because everyone else’s life seems to be a breeze compared to the hardships you’ve suffered? I’ve been there!
I’m convinced that no one knows the familiarity of a broken heart quite like a mom. Moms make the world go ‘round. We cook and clean and work and encourage and fix and plan. We are the glue of the family. Our children need us for essays and carpool. We are expected to have all the answers and often little grace is extended when we fail, when we miss the mark, when we say the wrong thing, or when we swing and miss. We are expected to have it all together all the time. When moms suffer a heart-aching blow, the whole family can suffer. When moms function through broken hearts, with babies (big or small) in tow, the way they recover is so very important. Their lives are at stake.
Here are 7 ways to heal from a broken heart that have served me well in various seasons:
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1. Learn to sit with the pain.
Don’t rush through the recovery process too quickly or you’ll likely be back in it too soon. It takes time to heal and a half-healed wound will likely reopen. Sometimes, we want to rush through a process to get to the next thing, to just be on the other side. But take time to heal, to assess. Discomfort often breeds revelation, so sit in the discomfort of the pain for a little while. Take the time necessary to evaluate the pain, understand what happened, and how the pain could be avoided in the future, when applicable. It’s especially important to see how the pain can be utilized for purpose. Maybe this pain was necessary for a life lesson for your next season.
2. Avoid significant decisions.
Too often the weight of a broken heart leaves pressure to change things immediately. We must “fix” it. And while it is necessary to evaluate and determine how to move forward, it is also important to be steady, not hasty. Pursuing a major geographic relocation, jumping into a new relationship, making a major purchase, or changing jobs may be a false substitute that only provides temporary comfort. Proceed with caution.
3. Think about what you’re thinking about.
Sometimes our thoughts can run away with us during times of brokenness. I’m a bad mom. I’m never going to find the one. No one would ever want to be with me. I don’t deserve happiness. Philippians 4;8 says “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.” What are you spending time thinking about? Is it true? Is it praise-worthy? Is it honorable? Do you seek revenge and meditate on what he said or did? Do you focus on the lie of the enemy or the truth that God called you redeemed, restored, renewed, and transformed? Focus on what is true to help pull you from the pit of pain.
Related Resource: Listen to our FREE podcast, Reframed: The Power of Perspective. In each episode, Carley provides practical techniques for identifying and reframing negative thinking patterns. Listen to an episode below, and check out all of our episodes on LifeAudio.com.
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4. Relinquish the guilt.
Let’s face it. Sometimes broken hearts are a direct result of a decision we made. Perhaps we did something unethical and lost the dream job. Maybe we lost our marriage due to an affair. Perhaps we lost our business due to a poor financial decision. There are many instances where a broken heart is a direct result of our actions. (Obviously, there are many instances when this isn’t the case, as well.) If this is the case, ask for forgiveness when needed. Repent if needed, and move on. Allowing guilt to permeate our futures only hinders the healing process.
5. Embrace anger for a season.
There is “a time for everything under the sun” according to Ecclesiastes 3:1. Maybe your broken heart is because cancer stole a loved one’s life. Your broken heart could be due to a betrayal or dishonesty. It’s okay to be angry. It’s a natural response to pain. But don’t camp out there too long. Anger can morph into bitterness. And bitterness will fester, causing more damage and wounds.
6. Ask for help.
Seek guidance from a pastor, counselor, Bible study teacher, or trusted friend. Seek the wise counsel of a loved one. Don’t pretend it’s okay. Don’t drown when a life raft is available. Many of us want to appear to have it all together and work extra hard. We put the pieces of our image back together so that others know that the thing that happened to us didn’t break us. But it’s important to grieve loss. It’s important to journal, to walk through it with a friend, to seek a professional when needed.
7. Rejoice in God’s comfort.
Sure, a broken heart is horrible and no fun to say the least, but our Father is waiting to heal every wound. God is near the brokenhearted. He bottles the tears we shed. He is there as a surgeon performing heart surgery to repair the damage in a way only he can. When I’m at my weakest and most broken, often, I envision my Heavenly Father with arms extended waiting on me to run for a loving embrace. I run. He wraps his arms around me. And I just sink. I sink into the goodness of his love. I bask in his mercy that forgives. I rest in his presence that will make all things new. And sometimes I stay there awhile. But like all loving fathers, he gently places my foot on solid ground, dusts my dirty knees, and encourages me to try it again.
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