Today I was met with some pretty terrible news. I won’t get into the specifics, but if you know me personally you know how much I’m hurting right now. And I decided that I’m not going to pretend that I’m okay and put up a post about my new shirt, as cute as it is. I thought about it. It would have been easier. But I’m not going to do that, because I think maybe someone out there needs to hear what I’m going to say.
The stuff you don’t talk about because you know you’ll break down and you’re afraid you’ll never be able to stop again.That’s heartbreak.
Hearts break for lots of reasons. Those fragile little beautiful terrible things. I’m going to define heartbreak as that empty feeling deep in your chest as a result of some traumatic event. You know, that butterfly feeling in your stomach, but not the good kind, and your hands feel like they are made of paper. The feeling that if you take another step you’re afraid you’ll fall over or blow away. I mean the deep, deep hurt. The hard stuff. The stuff you don’t talk about because you know you’ll break down and you’re afraid you’ll never be able to stop again.That’s heartbreak.
What I’ve found to be true, at least for me, is that my heart normally breaks because of other people. You let people get close to you, and then there is a hole in your chest from where they were when they leave. It’s a pretty nasty cycle. I’ve met a lot of people that won’t let people get close to them because their heart has been seriously shattered before, and honestly, I get it. It’s hard to let people in. Heartbreak sucks, as in I would never wish that on my worst enemy sucks, and I know what it’s like to build up walls to protect yourself against it. I get it. I say that, but here I am, letting people in. Maybe that’s why I’m typing this with shaky hands at 2 am with puffy red eyes, huh?
The truth is that relationships are risky. Not just the romantic kind, any kind. Often times we think of heartbreak in terms of breakups, and it very well could come from that. But it can also come from siblings, parents, friends… anyone you let get close to you is capable of breaking your heart. That’s scary, isn’t it? It’s okay to admit that it’s scary. But I sit here choking back tears and I’m telling you do not build those walls. I don’t know where you are. I don’t know who you’ve lost or how you’ve lost them, but I promise you that if you build those walls, if you choose not to feel for the sake of never hurting again… that isn’t fully living. You won’t be fully living. I am begging you not to build those walls.
Please don’t shut the door on your heart because someone left you broken.
Yes, there is a place for boundaries. You absolutely get to choose who you let into your heart, and you should not take that responsibility lightly. But you have to open the door and let people in, even if it hurts. And you know what, sometimes you may regret that. I regret letting certain people into my heart, absolutely I do. But I know for a fact that if I never opened up my heart again, I would regret it a lot more. If I never let anyone in, Josh wouldn’t have been there to hold me as I bawled for hours on end tonight, and Caroline wouldn’t have been there to bring me Camomile tea and pray for me on the phone while I stood crying in the stall of a crowded bathroom. We are not made to do this life alone. We are made for community, and we are made to love and love deeply. It is not enough to just ask someone how they are doing casually once a week, waiting for the imminent, “good” in return. It is not enough to tell someone about your difficult paper and leave it at that. We need deep relationships. We need them badly. Please don’t shut the door on your heart because someone left you broken. But all of that begs the question: what do you do with a broken heart?
Tonight, I prayed and prayed and prayed like I’ve never prayed before. What I mean by that is, I said a few words, yeah, but mostly it was a silent, urgent prayer that can only be described as desperate silence. For some reason one of my very favorite verses, “O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the roar of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and breakers wash over me.” David gets it. He just does. When your soul is in despair, sometimes all you can do is desperate silence. Deep crying out to deep, trusting that He hears you. Sometimes that is all you can do, and that is absolutely enough.
“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” Hosea 6:1. This verse has gotten me through a lot of heartbreak. Sometimes God tears us to pieces. But you know what, He promises to heal us, and that is a promise we have to hold onto with everything in us. It is okay to let yourself mourn. It is okay to be sad. But do not lose hope, because although our soul is in despair, we have to trust that the Lord will bind up our wounds. And we have to keep letting people in, even if our heart breaks again, because that’s what this life is about. Relationships.
Have you ever thought about how one of Jesus’s closest friends on earth was the reason He was literally put to death? He sold him to killers. I mean think about that. Jesus, who knew Judas was going to kill Him, still chose him as a disciple. Jesus knew, but he still him people in. Jesus knew, but He still had intimate relationships with his disciples. He loved them. It says in the Bible that when Lazarus died, “Jesus wept.” He wept. He did not get teary eyed. He wept. You guys, even when you think He doesn’t, He knows how you feel. Jesus is with you. He is sitting right beside you, and He is crying with you. He is mourning with you. He is not condemning you for “letting the wrong person in,” He is not watching you suffer and waiting for you to get over it. He is holding your hand, He is looking at you with the kind of love that you have for the people that can hurt you the most. He loves you, and He wants to heal you.
Chose carefully who you let in, but let them in.
My only advice for broken hearts is this: Let your deep cry out. It is okay to be sad, but do not let it overcome you. Trust that the Lord is watching you and He loves you with a love that is only possible when you let someone in. And I beg of you don’t build walls around your heart. Chose carefully who you let in, but let them in. Do not keep yourself from real, intimate relationships because you’ve been hurt before. And above all else, know that you are not alone. Jesus is hurting right there with you. He knows you, He loves you, and He is holding you close. The heart is a fragile little thing, but it’s so wonderful when you fill it all the way up with people that will be there when someone else isn’t anymore. I love you. Know that you are being prayed over. Contact me if you’re hurting, and if you think about it, say a lil’ prayer for me too. Lord knows I need it, and we are all in this together after all.