There’s been quite a few too many times in my life where I’ve been so heartbroken I could literally feel my heart cracking and aching in my chest.
For example: When my cousin wrecked her car and drowned. When I almost shot myself in the head at 17. When my grandpa finally died from cancer. When I was standing in my room, tears running down my face and blood down my hips, wondering if I would make it past the age of 18. To name a few.
All of the events listed above happened over a 2 year span. I was extremely depressed, ridden with anxiety, I considered suicide every day, and I began to cut myself. I allowed myself to get into relationships where I was abused and mistreated. I drove recklessly and without a seatbelt because I didn’t care if I died.
My emotional and mental state were fractured. I cried constantly. I felt like I was going insane and wondered at times if I would need to be put in a psychiatric hospital.
I also found myself in a consistent state of physical pain. My heart would ache and hurt, and the only thing I thought would take it away was Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
And while the pills did make the pain temporarily go away (only to return later), the effects were short-lived because I was not going to the root source of the pain and actually healing my heart (both my physical heart and my emotional heart). I wanted a quick, easy fix, instead of something that would’ve taken time but would have properly healed my heart in the long run.
You see, I was shutting out Jesus.
Oh, I still went to church because I knew my parents would raise hell if I didn’t. I still considered myself a Christian. And if I was having a *really* bad day, I may have said a quick prayer.
But the thought of telling God what was going on in my life, how I was feeling, and that I needed Him made me uncomfortable, scared, and angry. So I pushed Him to the side.
I did not want to be emotionally close to anyone, and that included God. Especially God.
I often wonder how my life would be different if I had just accepted that He loved me even in my darkest moments and that He was standing there, waiting for me to turn to Him.
Yes, there were things that happened in my life that were out of my control. But if I had let Jesus comfort me, I sincerely believe I would not have fallen into self-harm and being suicidal .
I would not have gone over the edge and been swallowed alive in darkness.
If I could go back, how would I have let Jesus heal me?
I began shutting Jesus out because I doubted His goodness. I blamed Him for the bad things that had happened in my life. So I would lay down a foundation by telling my 16-year-old self that no matter what happens, God is good.
There is no evil in Him, and the Bible says that He Himself is love. God is the very definition of good in every sense of the word.
Does He allow bad things to happen? Sometimes, yes. But anything that He allows, He has a plan to repurpose for good.
He may allow us to go through hard things but it’s never in vain. Trials in this life strengthen us and they serve the amazing purpose of allowing us to be more empathetic to others we meet.
I also would have continued daily in open, honest prayer. It’s hard to maintain a relationship with someone that you don’t talk to.
How could Jesus heal me if I wasn’t telling Him what was on my heart? I wasn’t describing my thoughts and feelings to Him.
This also goes hand in hand with my refusal to surrender my broken heart to Him.
I can be a very stubborn, headstrong person. I didn’t want to expose my hurts and mistakes to God. I held them tightly in my fist where I felt like it was safest.
Why is surrendering your broken heart to God important when it comes to healing?
If your toddler broke their favorite toy and sobbed uncontrollably about it being broken, but refused to hand it to you, how could you fix it?
You wouldn’t want to rudely grab it and rip it out of their little hands, fix it in anger, and then shove it back to them. No, you wait for them to hand it to you when they’re ready.
In the same way, God will not suddenly grab a hold of our heart and start working on it without our permission. He’s a gentleman and will wait until you give Him the go ahead.
You surrender to God first by accepting that whatever your circumstances are, He has allowed them. And He’s very aware of them. He intricately knows every detail, ones that even you don’t know. You can’t surrender to God if you’re mad at Him.
Initially, this makes many Christians angry. They wonder where He was in the middle of their tragedies and if He’s oh-so-powerful, why He didn’t stop it. Why did God allow them to get cancer, and if He knew it was going to happen, why didn’t He stop it? Why did God allow this person to sexually assault me? Why did He let my parents get a divorce?
You have to change your perspective on the matter and look at it through the lens of viewing God as a good God who loves you. Yes, He allowed a bad thing to happen to you. But you can find comfort in this from knowing God only allows things in your life that are going to bring glory to Him, make you a stronger person, or be for the people around you. Every tragic hardship in your life will be used for good.
The next step is being willing to release emotional pain into the hands of God. I’m not quite sure why, but humans (myself included) oftentimes find themselves holding onto thoughts and memories that hurt them. Maybe it’s because it’s familiar, or it makes us feel in control of something while everything else in our lives is in a whirlwind.
But we can’t surrender our heart to God without surrendering every aspect of it, and that includes our pain. All of it.
The pain that you’re holding onto is worthless compared to the peace and joy God can give you if you let Him have it.
Moving on, I believe it’s vital in surrendering to God to keep going to church and reading your Bible. I know, those are the Christian fundamentals. But how can God speak words of His love and healing to your heart if you’re choosing not to listen?
And it’s important to remain receptive to what He’s telling you. God knows exactly what you need when you’re broken and He’s willing to give it to you if you’re willing to receive and apply it.
God loves you more than any person ever could and He wants to offer you safety, peace, and a healed heart.
He does not want us to stay in a place of darkness and brokenness. He is willing at any moment to begin the process of healing, as long as you’re ready. And here’s the thing: if you don’t feel ready, you can ask Him to make you ready (I’ve done it before).