BY RENEE ALKINS
I WISH THERE WAS a 12-step program for overcoming a broken heart, but there isn’t. It can take weeks, months, years, decades, and even a lifetime to heal from emotional pain. In the Bible, Job lost everything he owned, and everyone he loved. In anguish, he cried, “My life is almost over. My plans are destroyed. And so are the longings of my heart” (Job 17:11, New International Reader’s Version).
If you’re single and brokenhearted, you’re not alone. Loving someone is risky business. It requires vulnerability, and that exposure leaves you susceptible to pain. But that’s not a reason to give up on love. No matter how much you’ve been hurt, you can learn, heal, and bounce back. Moment by moment, day by day, use the following pointers to mend your broken heart – and love again.
Embrace this Season
We’ve all heard the expression, “If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.” This isn’t just a cliché; it’s the truth. God allows us to experience a variety of things, so we can mature and prepare for our future. Ecclesiastes 3:1-7 states, “There is a right time for everything: a time to be born; a time to die ... a time to cry; a time to laugh; a time to grieve; a time to dance ... a time to tear; a time to repair” (Living Bible). Maybe it feels like the worst time in your life, but it’s an important season. It’s here to strengthen your confidence in God’s faithfulness, and help you grow from your mistakes. Don’t ignore what you’re feeling. Embrace it! Use your pain to become stronger and wiser.
Let Go of Your Regrets
Dwelling on the past (what you could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve done) will eat you up. So stop blaming yourself for your heart break, and open yourself up to a better future. In Isaiah 43:18-19, the Lord said, “Forget what happened long ago! Don’t think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands” (Contemporary English Version). Now, that’s an encouraging message! Don’t believe for one second that you’ve missed your opportunity to love – and be loved. Leave your past in the past, and become hopeful about your future. You’re not too old, you’re not too hurt, and you’re not too damaged to start again.
Open Up to a New
In her book, How to Avoid the 10 Mistakes Single Women Make, Michelle McKinney Hammond states, “It’s amazing [how much] energy we put into categorizing our type of man, and yet I find very few people ever married to their type. [This indicates], for the most part, our type just ain’t right for us.” Thus, when we submit our lives to God, we also submit our plans. We give the Lord permission to direct, veto, and shape our journeys – and even who we choose for a potential mate. Proverbs 16:9 teaches, “In your heart you plan your life. But the Lord decides where your steps will take you” (New International Reader’s Version). Therefore, let go of your type, and allow God to be your matchmaker. Your heart isn’t broken because of “the one who got away.” Maybe it’s just sore – because God’s opening your heart to a new type.
Allow it Not to Make Sense
Women love to analyze, re-analyze, and psychoanalyze. But everything doesn’t have to make sense. God sees the big picture. He knows where we’re headed, and He knows what’s good for us. Maybe your “Knight in Shining Armor” would have limited you, cheated on you, bored you, or constantly bickered with you. Or maybe he just wasn’t the best choice for you. These things are hard to imagine when we’re “in love,” but God sees the end of every road. In Isaiah 55:8-9, the Lord says, “My thoughts and My ways are not like yours. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, My thoughts and My ways are higher than yours” (Contemporary English Version). Basically, God can custom-design a mind-blowing, beyond-your-dreams “knight” for you. If that seems too good to be true, read Ephesians 3:20. It promises, “God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine” (New International Reader’s Version).
When someone hurts us, revenge often comes to mind. Fantasies about slashing tires, breaking windows, calling the “other woman,” and burning clothes can be temporarily comforting. But it’s impossible to ruin another human being without ruining ourselves. In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” Instead of focusing on what was “done” to you, turn feelings of victimization into revelation. You see, a broken heart means that you were courageous. It’s not a sign of weakness or stupidity. It means that you were brave enough to take a risk, and caring enough to love. That shouldn’t make you angry; it should make you proud. Each day, God loves us without the promise that we’ll love Him in return. So, if you loved someone enough to take that risk, choose to forgive. Don’t allow something that beautiful to make you hateful.