Hope is an exhilarating feeling of expectation! A deep-felt desire for a particular thing to happen, causing us to wake up daily in anticipation; like a child at Christmas or like me, racing home to a package with my latest pair of shoes! Hope is a beautiful sensation when the expectation is met, and when we receive that for which we prayed. Especially when the dress we ordered fits or when a particular person calls!
- What happens when what you earnestly hoped for does not happen?
- How do you feel when you do not receive your desired outcome?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12 NKJ
Joy stems from the heart. So, when the heart is sick or crushed, the only thing flowing from it is the absolute opposite. It is achy. It feels blue. It feels like someone turned off the lights. The level of disappointment will determine the depth of pain and length of sorrow. Reason being you will hear me say, repeatedly: You must respect someone’s pain. It is not your place to measure the depth of anyone’s sorrow, for you do not know the level of their disappointment.
” Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.!” – Proverbs 4:23 NIV
Sadly, it is the least protected. We often hear statements like, “My life is an open book.” “My heart is as big as Texas.” These may sound like noble statements, but when not managed properly, it is a wide, open door for anything or anyone to hurt it with no regard. Disappointment creeps into the heart when you and I mismanage the things we hope for. That is not to say, it is completely our fault. Do not get me wrong! What I am saying is we must manage what we allow in our life. Once something or someone has caused a sting, our inner posture should be one of protecting the heart God has healed and restored multiple times over! Can I get a loud amen? Guard your heart with goodness and Godliness. Let goodness and Godliness be the filters you use to determine what you allow.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 NIV
Anything contrary to these things, within the context of your situation, should not have access. When in doubt, proceed with caution or not at all. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results! Please do not spend time trying to change the shade of a red flag! “Red is red.” It may be an orange red, ruby red, wine red, garnet, vermilion, or my absolute favorite: Burgundy Red. Regardless of the shimmer the red flag may come in, it is still a red flag, and it is your responsibility to guard your heart. You owe it to yourself!
Hope deferred makes the heart sick! It causes depression, anxiety, and deep sadness. The only anesthetic for heart ache is prayer and time. (Contrary to widespread belief.)
Friend, it is your responsibility to guard your heart. It is your responsibility to wisely manage the things you hope for. – If you know anything about me, then you know I love shoes! I cannot “hope” to wear a gorgeous pair of shoes two sizes smaller or bigger. I can pull off a half size bigger, but not smaller. (Someone should be shouting right now!) If I insist on squeezing into a smaller pair of shoes, it is just a matter of time when the swelling will cause an immense amount of pain. At that point, it no longer matters how gorgeous and expensive my name brand shoes are; my feet are simply not going anywhere! Simple analogy. In my wheelhouse, for sure, yet loaded with truth.
- Is that you?
- Are you trying to squeeze into something not a good fit for your life?
- How many times have you settled for a situation way beneath your privilege?
- How many times have you allowed something you knew was not a good fit, linger longer than it should?
Sadly, when it hits the expiration date, it spoils. It is just a matter of time when “that thing” will cause pain. When something is not meant to be in your life and you have surrendered your life to Christ, trust me when I say, HE will remove it. He loves you and all, but He will not spare you the pain of delivering you from a toxic situation! Listen closely: Complete surrender is the anesthetic that “eases” the pain. However, there is no antidote for lack of surrender. Just heartache and pain.
Friends, put a security lock on the door of your heart and do not give the “code” to anyone who has not earned your trust. Much less, anyone who has broken it. That goes for every level of relationship; not limited to romantic relationships. Initially, trust is given freely, but when someone breaks your trust, it is your responsibility to assess if it is repairable.
- How many times do you want to run the same lap?
- How many times do you want to puncture the same wound?
So, where do we go from here?
When someone is displaying depression, grief, and sorrow, it is not our job to blame, trivialize, or heal. All we can do is listen and point them in the right direction. Provide soothing words of encouragement and point them to the heart specialist, Jesus! Note: When someone says, “Just get over it!” – it is a clear sign they do not possess the caliber to manage your pain.
We have all seen movies or real-life situations of someone having a heart attack in a public place and the crowd yells, “Is there a doctor in the house?” So, I ask you: Would you allow a mechanic, gardener, or pilot answer that call? No. It requires a doctor. It requires someone who knows what they are doing and can help save a life.
The same applies to anyone who is heart sick. You cannot allow just anyone to “poke” around trying to figure things out. You need someone with empathy, compassion, and life experience. Someone who understands the language of pain and can point you to the Savior.
Here are a few things to consider when “heart sick”:
1. Acknowledge the pain and respect it. – What does it mean to respect the pain? Do not ignore its presence. Address it. Embrace it. Identify where it came from and ask yourself healing questions:
- Is there something I can do about it?
- If it is the loss of a loved one, there is nothing more you can do other than grieve and give yourself time to heal.
- Loss of a relationship? – There may still be hope, but you will need to make sure it is a healthy hope. Seeking to reconcile a relationship just to calm the pain will result in a toxic cycle leading to further heartache and recycled pain. It is important to acknowledge the pain and embrace it accordingly.
2. Surround yourself with people who genuinely have your best interest at heart. – I cannot say this enough.
- People who love you will comfort you with truth. They will not coddle your toxicity. They will wipe your tears, pull your hair back and allow you to purge, but will not allow you to retract.
- Choose your circle wisely when you are hurting. You run the risk of venting with whomever will listen, but sadly, not every friendly smile is your friend.
Lastly, but certainly not least, talk to Jesus!
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” – Psalm 147:3 NIV
If any of this resonates with your heart, feel free to write me note. I’d love to personally pray for you!