Most of us, if we have spent any time at all on planet earth have had to deal with healing the brokenhearted including healing our own broken hearts. Somewhere at sometime, someone has walked on and trampled our most precious possession, our heart. Recently I had to deal with being brokenhearted in my own life. I got stomped on good. And even though I am 48 years old and have been a believer in Jesus for 32 years it didn't make the process of healing the brokenhearted any easier. You see, I know the process to come to a place of healing. I have even had training on how to lead others to the place of healing. I have gone through the healing process more than once in my own life yet it doesn't make it any easier to get from point A to point B.
5 stages of healing the brokenhearted
There are 5 basic stages you have to go through emotionally in healing the brokenhearted and sometimes your heart takes its sweet time going through them.
- The first stage is denial where you just don't want to even accept that it has happened to you, especially if this is not the first time. You try to deny that it has any emotional effect on you at all and you build an emotional wall. It is the stiff upper lip policy and many people get stuck here and never really heal up from the emotional trauma that has been inflicted upon them. They close down and just do not allow people to get close ever again because if they admit that they need people emotionally then they have to deal with the pain that people have or can inflict upon them. I went through this stage, acting as if I didn't need anyone emotionally. I tried to put on the brave facade that said what the person said didn't hurt me and that it was their loss not mine. Can anyone admit they have done the same?
- Then comes the bargaining stage where you try to figure out how to fix it so that the loss or pain is just temporary or goes away. Many times we try to set up conditions or requirements that will make everything ok like trying to make the person apologize, or repent, or take responsibility for their actions that have wounded us. We may even try to manipulate them into doing so or lay the guilt on so thick that emotionally we think they have to agree to make it all better. Even if they do succumb to our efforts to get them to make it all better, it really does not fix the problem. Our heart has been broken and patches and band-aids will not fix it. Our bargains and our man-made efforts will not heal the broken heart.
- After the bargains don't work and our attempts to put things back the way they were fail, inevitably anger sets in. We get angry with the person who hurt us, angry with God who allowed it, and angry with ourselves for not protecting ourselves from pain. We didn't deserve the pain. It is not fair. And we are right. It is not fair, and we didn't deserve it. But it honestly is not about whether or not we deserved it, or whether or not it is fair. We do not live in a perfect world and if we will quiet our hearts we know that if we truly received what we deserved, it would be much worse for us. God is both gracious and merciful and even though this hurts, it is not nearly as bad as what Jesus took on our behalf. This is not about fairness, or about your worth or lack thereof, but it is about what type of person you are going to allow yourself to become. It is ok to be angry, and it is ok to vent to God or those close to you, but do not let the anger become who you are.
- After anger comes the realization that the situation cannot be fixed. That there is no solution but just the reality that your heart is broken. For many people this can feel quite depressing. That it is futile. And in some ways, with human understanding it is. Because you cannot fix it, and even the person who hurt you cannot fix it. However we are not a people who does not have hope. It is one of the most amazing things that we as believers experience. It is when our hearts are broken, and our spirits are crushed that God comes to the forefront in amazing ways. Psalm 34:18 We may not be able to do a darn thing to fix our broken heart, and obviously the person who has hurt us has no ability to heal our broken heart, but the creator of the heart is more than capable to put it back together again. Do you remember the old nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty? Well they called all the kings horses and all the kings men, but they forgot to call the King himself! The creator of your heart is more than able and willing to heal your broken heart. Luke 4:18
- When the King comes to heal your broken heart, then is when you get to the acceptance stage. No, the pain wasn't justified, nor was it fun, but you accept that it happened and it even had a purpose if for no other reason than for you to learn that the King is always there to heal you, wipe your tears away, and give you a hope and a future. Just this weekend I finally got to the acceptance stage. As Bert Waggoner the national director for Vineyard USA was speaking at the pastors conference I attended, he shared stories of how God had used brokenhearted experiences in his life to prepare him for his future. I knew it was time to call upon the King to heal my broken heart. As I went to the front to ask for prayer, the Creator of my heart met me there and gave me the gift I needed for healing the brokenhearted. In front of my friends, peers, and leaders, I cried. And as the tears flowed down my face as the pain was removed, hope was born anew. He was healing the brokenhearted.