I recently had lunch with a good friend who is going through a difficult time. He’s in the midst of a painful divorce. His mind is confused, his finances are wrecked, his world is upside down and his heart is broken. He is wrestling with a mixture of emotions that includes regret, sadness, anger, confusion, fear and frustration. He asked me a simple-but-profound question: Where do I go from here?
That’s a good question, isn’t it? It’s a question that we’ll all ask ourselves at different points and how we choose to respond in those crossroads moments can ultimately determine the direction for our lives.
I told my friend that the healing process for a broken heart is actually similar to the healing process for a broken arm. I explained that when my son broke his arm, four key actions were required for the physical healing, and four very similar actions are also required for the emotional healing of a broken heart.
When my son’s arm was broken, the first step was to set the bone. It meant realigning the bone to its proper position so that it would heal properly. Next, the arm had to be wrapped in a hard cast to hold the arm in place and to protect it from additional damage. Third, my son had to temporarily give up some freedoms and restrict his movements to prevent further injury. Finally, my son had to rest so his body would have the strength and stamina to promote healing.
When YOU find yourself in a heartbreaking situation, and you’re wondering what to do next, I encourage you to follow this same path to healing. Do these four things:
1.Set the break back to the right position.
With a broken arm, setting the bone straight is the first step. This happened by trusting the break into the hands of the physician. With a broken heart, our first step is to trust the hands of the Ultimate Physician… God Himself. It means admitting we can’t bring full and complete healing on our own, and thankfully, we don’t have to do it on our own. Jesus is ready to carry us through if we’ll just trust Him. Allow His Word to guide your healing plan and His strength to carry you through.
“…and all who touched Him were healed.” (Matthew 14:36)
2. Put on a cast (protect your heart).
The cast was hard. It provided a layer of protection from anything or anyone who might cause further damage to the break. When your heart is broken, you can’t put on an actual “cast” but you need to put layers of protection around your heart. You don’t want your heart itself to become hard, but you want it to be protected. This happens by surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you and pray for you and removing yourself from people who would intentionally or unintentionally cause further harm.
#3 might be the most difficult task on this list, but it’s crucially important…
3. Temporarily restrict your movements.
When my son was told he couldn’t wrestle or play ball or get his arm wet until the cast came off, he thought he was being punished. I explained to him that it wasn’t a punishment but a protection. When you’ve experienced broken heart, you must also temporarily restrict your movements and give up some freedoms to protect the wound and promote healing. If you try to jump back into all the things you were doing before, the break will never heal properly. Eliminate all the non-essentials from your life and focus only on those activities and people who are actively promoting healing. Everyone and everything else can wait.
Not only do you need to “restrict your movements,” but you also need periods of complete rest. Don’t try to figure out the future. Don’t try to fix everything that’s been broken. Don’t let worry take root in your heart. Give yourself permission to rest. Take it one day at a time. The healing won’t be fast, but slowing down will promote healing in your soul, it will help you refocus on what matters most and it will bring you closer to God in the process. Don’t rush. Rest. Healing doesn’t happen in a microwave; it happens in a crock pot.
Don’t lose hope. You WILL get through this!
Don't give up on your marriage. It is worth the effort and investment. If you feel like your marriage is struggling, or even failing, there is hope. There is healing.