You’d be surprised how many people feel heavy-hearted, yet hide their sadness and despondence. My ideas for healing your heart will show you that you’re not alone. Heavy-heartedness isn’t fun — but the good news is you will find a light, joyful heart if you look in the right place.
Laughing is good, but it doesn’t last forever. “Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends…the grief remains.” – Proverbs 14:13 (NLT).
Are you hiding your heavy heart from the world? I get dozens of emails and comments here on She Blossoms every day. We all feel the weight of sorrow, grief, loss, disappointment, fear and confusion. Many of us pretend we’re fine…but the truth is that we desperately need healing.
I walk every morning at 5:15. Today I walked by a dead raccoon on the road. Seeing him was sad, but what broke my heart was his buddy. His raccoon mate kept circling around his body, prodding, smelling, hovering.
My heart still feels heavy for the surviving raccoon. I don’t know how (or if) animals process grief and loss, but I believe heavy-heartedness will be part of that raccoon’s life for awhile. He didn’t want to leave his mate, he didn’t want to continue life alone, and he was confuse and lost because of death. His heart was heavy. So was mine.
Why is your heart heavy? Maybe you’re grieving a heartbreaking loss, or feeling confused and lost because of a breakup or broken dream. Maybe you’re looking for words of comfort because your heart is broken. Maybe you’ve been coping with heavy-heartedness for years and you just don’t know how to find healing.
Healing Your Heavy Heart
I don’t have quick tips for healing heavy-heartedness because they don’t exist! The only way to create a light, whole, fresh, clean heart is to pick up your pain and take it to God.
This step is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project. I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of the Bible. The Reason You Were Created – Step 1, based on Genesis 1, was the first. This article — Healing Your Heavy Heart — is inspired by Genesis 4.
In this article, we get a glimpse of God and Cain (Adam and Eve’s first son) in Genesis 4. Even better, we see why hearts get heavy and how to find healing.
1. He knows the deep, heavy secrets of your heart. Genesis 4 tells us that both Cain and Abel offered a sacrifice to God. Cain’s grain sacrifice wasn’t as “good” as Abel’s firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. The Bible doesn’t say exactly why God disregarded Cain’s offering or what he did wrong, but I’m convinced it was a heart matter. God knew what was happening in Cain’s heart and it didn’t make Him happy. Maybe Cain’s heart was bitter, arrogant, selfish or hard. Only God knows what happened within Cain’s heart and spirit…and only God knows exactly what’s happening in your heart, too.
2. God is always looking for us. In Who You Were Created to Be – Step 3 I describe how God sought and questioned Adam and Eve about their experience (Genesis 3). God created all humans for a relationship with Him. I don’t know why, but He loves us and wants to connect with us on a personal level. Even when we make mistakes and stray far away, He still seeks, questions, guides and loves us. You, dear reader, are here because God is drawing near. He wants to lift your burden and heal your heavy heart.
3. God interacts with us — even when we stray. Not only does He hear our prayers and answer when we call out, God actually responds when we talk to Him. Cain didn’t want to be doomed to wander the earth with a restless heart for the rest of his life. He didn’t want to be cast away from God’s presence, and he feared he’d be killed. So God put a mark on Cain. God is holy and just, which means His discipline has to stand. But He is also loving and kind, which means He hears when we cry out.
1. You compare yourself to others. Genesis 4 tells us that after God disregarded Cain’s offering, Cain became despondent. He compared his offering to his brother Abel’s and he came up short. He compared his relationship with God to Abel’s relationship with God, and again he came up wanting. Comparing ourselves to others is human nature. We do it all the time — and allowing ourselves to keep comparing ourselves to others is serious mistake. Why? Because sometimes we do better than others, and sometimes we do worse. If our self-identity is based on how we fare in comparison to others, we’ll constantly be up and down. Our hearts will be heavy, light, up, down, closed, open…but not true or consistent.
2. Your heart changes everything. You can do everything right: be kind to your neighbors, volunteer, give money to charity, pick up extra duties at work, cover for troublesome family members or friends…but if your heart is hard, mean, cold or heavy then you might was well save yourself the effort. God sees your heart. He knows the truth about you, just like He knew the truth about Cain.
3. You don’t fear God. God is holy, awesome, powerful, kind, compassionate, mysterious and glorious, yet you — and I — shrug Him off. We treat Him like a vending machine: “Please God let me have this, get that, win this, find that.” “Please God heal my heavy heart.” “Please God help me be skinny, beautiful, rich.” This is human nature, to treat God casually and informally. Did you read Cain’s response to God in Genesis 4? Not only did Cain treat God with disrespect, he lied to God. We do the same thing, and it destroys our relationship with God.
When I say “you”, I’m actually referring to me. I compare myself to others and struggle with inferiority. My heart gets cold, proud, mean. I treat God like Santa Claus, and often find myself worshiping what He gives me instead of His amazing, mighty presence in my life. I need healing for my heavy heart…which is why I’m writing this She Blossoms Through the Bible series.
Healing Your Heavy Heart
1. Write down 3 reasons for your heavy-heartedness. Why is your heart heavy? Don’t just list the external reasons (loss, broken relationships, health problems, etc). Go inside yourself. Today, I have a heavy heart because of the surviving raccoon. It’s not just about an animal or death…it’s vulnerability, helplessness, fear and loneliness that makes my heart heavy. Our heavy hearts aren’t caused only by external circumstances. We carry pain, loss and heartache within us, and every fresh wound weighs down our hearts a little more.
2. Explore different ways to heal. From experience I know my heavy-heartedness will eventually lift. If I stay in this moment, focusing on right now, then I won’t feel my past pain. I know if I open my heart to Jesus, I will feel better, lighter, more joyful and peaceful. I’ve experienced a lot of loss, disappointment, abuse and sadness…and I know my heart is healthier than ever because I’ve tried a million different ways to heal. The only cure for my heavy heart is Jesus. His presence, healing, love, light, peace and freedom. And I only know this because I tried so many ways to heal my pain. What have you tried?
3. Find yourself in Genesis 4. The Bible is God’s story, and it’s our story. I’m reading and writing through Scripture because I want to know more about Him. I want to learn about myself, to gain wisdom and insight for living. The more I see myself in the Bible, the closer I get to God. The closer I am with God, the lighter my heart feels. I still feel the ache of sorrow, loss and pain. But I know Jesus Christ. I know He felt the same when He encountered the lost, lonely, grieved, afflicted people in His world. God may not erase pain, but He did send Jesus to show us how to live in this world. God is present and responsive…and He is calling you home.
How are you? Your thoughts — big and little — are welcome below. Writing forces you to slow down, think, and connect with yourself. This makes it an excellent way to figure out the cause of your heavy heart, and start healing.
With the heart of Jesus,
P.S. Are you struggling to break old habits? Read 3 Ways to Stop Wasing Your Life on Meaningless Things.