Relationships can be painful. If you have people in your life the potential is always there for misunderstanding, rejection and even betrayal. The more you care, the greater the pain when something goes wrong. When that happens, the temptation to let your heart get hard in order to stop the hurt can be a strong one. You might decide to run away, or wear anger like a suit of armour to keep yourself safe, but life inside that particular armour isn’t any picnic, and we were never designed to live in isolation. We were created to love and be loved with all the risks that entails.
How do you keep your heart soft when your emotions are in tatters and the pain seems unbearable? I can tell you this. When I found myself in that place I did the only thing I could do. I cried out to God about it….
Lord, I don’t think I can do this. It hurts too much.
It feels as though my heart has been torn right out of my chest and thrown on the ground and stomped on.
I know that as well.
Paralysed, I stand staring at the sorry mess that was and is my heart. It lies in the dirt, all bruised and squashed and bleeding and I feel helpless.
I don’t know what to do, Lord.
The answer comes in that still, soft voice that I’ve come to recognize and love in the course of a lifetime.
You can stand there, paralysed, staring at the sorry mess that was and is your heart, or you can pick it up and give it to me.
In the silence I can feel His gentle urging. The whisper in my mind comes again, softer yet.
Pick it up and give it to me.
I reach down slowly into the dirt and gather up what is left of my heart and hold it out to Him. As I do so, I find that my eyes are no longer focused on my pain. They are focused on Him and in that moment something changes. I am reminded of just how much He loves me. I can’t explain it, but I find the pain easing and strength returning, and I can move and live again. His love can soften a heart of stone and it comforts me and heals me.
I have decided. I will keep my heart soft and risk the pain that comes along with the joy in relationships even if it means that I might find myself in this place again, with a heart broken and bleeding in the dirt.
I know what to do now. I will pick it up and give it to Him.
Psalm 147:3 “He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds”
Ezekiel 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”