Q: It has been nearly two years since my last relationship ended, but I have not been able to get over the hurt. My prayers have become pleas to God to help me trust again. How can I allow myself to trust someone again?
A: I know it’s not easy to get over heartache, and I know how frustrating it is to keep trying to get over something that you can’t seem to get past. But I still believe that God can make all things new, and that He can, and will, heal your heart.
I think the most important thing you can do is to be honest in prayer; share what you’re feeling with God and know that His heart breaks for yours. It’s a scary thing to open our heart to others, but we’re made for community and relationships with others. The alternative is to protect yourself by shutting yourself off from other people, but that’s a miserable way to live.
I love this quote from CS Lewis:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” (from The Four Loves)
In my life, I struggled with the same fear. I couldn’t seem to stay in a relationship because I would freak out and back away from the girl in fear that I would eventually get hurt. When I finally met my wife, it wasn’t that my fears had disappeared, but my desire to pursue a relationship with Courtney was greater than my fears of being hurt.
I am convinced that God allowed me to go through those years of fear so that when I met Courtney, the difference in my heart would be so obvious. I know God didn’t make my ex-girlfriends break my heart, but He found a way to work through my hurt and my fears to prepare me in time to meet Courtney.
So what should you do in the meantime? How can you actively work to find freedom from fear and hurt from a past relationship? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Discover a new hobby or spend time doing things you already enjoy.
Whether it’s playing a sport, practicing a musical instrument, or deciding to learn something new, it always helps when we focus our attention and energy in positive directions instead of spending more time dwelling on the past.
2. Don’t let your imagination drive your emotional life.
It’s normal to wonder what might have been or why things happened the way they did, but overanalyzing the past will never bring us peace. I’ve struggled with this myself, and it required a lot of effort to not give into the temptation to keep thinking about past relationships.
3. Serve others.
First of all, we should be serving others because it’s what Jesus asks of us. Secondly, we find a greater sense of purpose and peace in our own lives when we are willing to spend ourselves in service of others. Taking our attention off of ourselves helps us to move on and move forward to address the needs of our brothers and sisters.
I don’t know what God’s preparing you for, but I promise that it’s worth all of this. I promise that what He has prepared for you will make the pain and the hurt seem like a minor detail when you look back on this time in your life.
Give yourself time to heal, don’t beat yourself up, and trust that God wants your healing and your freedom even more than you do. Be sure of our prayers for you.
Do you have a question about dating and relationships you’d like to ask Brian and Courtney Kissinger? Email them at [email protected] and your question could be the next blog post!