Isn’t it true that your emotions really take a knock when your heart is aching?
Sometimes it feels like the day of healing is a million miles away. The difficult time you encountered in the past can take a while to be purged from your system. There is hope for your hurting heart!
Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted, and bind up their wounds.”
It's definitely healthy to experience a range of emotions. However, it's unwise to have the negative ones consume your existence. A physical injury like a broken leg or arm can negatively affect your life until it’s healed. Similarly so can a broken heart, even though it’s not primarily physical. Just as the physical self affects our emotional self, our emotional self can also have physical ramifications.
Emotional healing is possible!
There may be some necessary steps to take. Here are some ones to possibly consider and pray over:
Remove or limit negative influences in your life.
If you're honest with yourself, you'll realize something important. Some of the negative influences may very well be the people closest to you! It's going to be a challenge separating from them. But wait - Hold on! You may not want to ditch them completely and I am not going to ask you to. It’s something you’ll need to ascertain and choose for yourself - just how separate you need to become. And whether permanently of temporarily.
You may need to separate totally in an extreme case, and you may need some outside input in discerning if that’s the case. Or you may need to adopt some personal boundaries in associating with that person. You may decide to keep certain people at arm’s length for your own emotional safety. You get to decide who gets to be a part of your inner circle.
Are any of your friends guilty of adding fuel to the fire? Can you identify times when they've encouraged you to avoid forgiving someone who offended you? I’ve chosen to distance myself from a friend who was a chronic gossiper. I’ve had a close family member who would constantly stir up discontent with things that I’d not even had an issue with. I learned to identify when it started and change the subject or cut the conversation short whenever it happened.
You can very quickly identify people whose advice is riddled with negativity. Avoid allowing the friendship to cloud your judgment.
Accept responsibility for your actions.
It's pretty hard to look in the mirror when you know that your own actions resulted in the hurt you feel. But it can be difficult to accept the part you played.
Be courageous enough to accept responsibility for your actions.
John 14:27 - “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
Confront your wrongdoings.
Be willing to both accept forgiveness and to forgive yourself so you can move on to better days ahead.
Forgive the person who hurt you.
Holding onto bitterness will impede your healing.
Forgiveness doesn't mean pretending you aren't hurt or that you approve of what they did. It doesn't keep you from taking measures to protect yourself from further harm. Forgiveness doesn't invalidate your hurt, your broken heart.
Leslie Vernick and Henry Cloud, both have extensive resources available that can help. You can find them both with a quick web search. She teaches the difference between disappointing, destructive and dangerous relationships and he teaches on personal boundaries in relationships.
This is Part one. Watch for the next blog post - Part two of Hurting Hearts.