How Can We Heal Our Hearts?
Many of us are walking around with broken hearts. This isn’t visible to those around us, but it is a reality. How can we mend these broken hearts? I recently read a great piece on this in the book The Essential Guide to Healing by Pastors Bill Johnson and Randy Clark. This section of the book is found on pages 156 – 159. Here is a summary of their points:
1. Be Honest with God
We can come to God and be honest about our sorrows, anger and pain. He is not shocked by our emotions . . . he already knows about them! Be open with Him and pray with confidence. As it says in Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The authors say they pray something like this: “Father, I know You are good and that You never lie or abandon Your children. But it sure feels and looks to me as if You did. It looks as if You didn’t keep Your promise to me. I know my perception is wrong because You are always good. I need You to help me. Please heal my heart, and according to your promises, please deliver me quickly.”
We don’t need to be religious or say what we think God wants to hear. And it is good to be honest with him sooner versus later. The longer we wait, the more likely we will harden our hearts against him, causing us even more pain than our original circumstances did.
2. Listen to God
The author recommends turning to the psalms for comfort. The people who wrote the psalms were extremely honest with God about their feelings. David often prayed for God to destroy his enemies. There is no sugar-coating in the psalms. Read the psalms until you find words that mimic your own feelings. Then, meditate on them. Pray them back to God, journal them, sing them. Whatever soothes your soul.
3. Receive God’s Peace
Continue speaking, praying and being honest with God until you begin to feel His peace. Philippians 4:7 says, And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This peace doesn’t come to us naturally, but supernaturally.
In order to receive it, we must give up our right to understand WHY something bad has happened to us. For most of us, there is no way to intellectually understand the hard circumstances in our lives.
When we keep asking WHY WHY WHY, it causes our pain to turn into suffering.
We will never know why. When we accept this hard truth, our spirits can be renewed.
4. Feed Your Heart Correctly
Focus on what God is doing, not on what he has not done, or seems to not be doing for you. Pray until you sense his heart, agree with His Word, and then leave your burdens with him. You may have to do this over and over again. I often leave something with God, then my natural anxiety returns, and I take it back! Then, I have to decide to leave that same burden again. In Matthew 3:11-12, John the Baptist boldly proclaimed that Jesus was God. But, after John was imprisoned, he began to doubt. In Matthew 11:4, John sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if Jesus really was the savior. He had taken his eyes off what Jesus had done, (heal the blind, deaf and lame) and was focusing on what Jesus was not doing – freeing John from prison. When we are hurting, it is difficult to focus on how God has helped us in the past. But, turning our minds to his past good deeds will keep us from dwelling on the pain we are currently experiencing. It builds our faith and gives us hope for the current situation we experience.
I (Caroline) would add one more thought to the great ideas of these pastors. Here is my addition:
5. Surround Yourself with Encouragers
When we are in pain, we often isolate ourselves. It seems cruel to share our pain with others. But, God gave us other people to help us. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says,
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Reaching out to others in our pain may feel icky. We may have to swallow our pride to be honest with those who perhaps falsely believe we “have it all together.” So, step out and seek the comfort of others. When we are honest about our messed-up lives, this gives others a chance to be honest about their mess.
Question: What do YOU do when you are in emotional pain? Which of these suggestions have you tried?
I pray you will use this time of sorrow to grow closer to God and to others.