Open Your Heart >> Live Fully Surrendered

Day 2 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Getting Yourself Out There Again (When Community Hurts)

The days can be long when you feel that no one understands you—no one knows your story, what you have gone through. It is a long day, so hard on your heart, when you feel that no one cares. There is a shield building around your heart now—it has been for some time. A wall of protection. You think you protect yourself from being hurt by letting the wall go up. But this wall cannot stay up if you want more in this life than resentment and fear and pain. 

I know how you have been hurt by trusting people who were not trustworthy. But you don’t want to stay here—not really. It is too lonely. And you are made to connect with others, you know. (Yes, it takes effort to let people in. And, yes, it is risky too. I know.) 

But where do we go from here? Where do you go when you have not let people in for so long—shared your heart, listened to their stories, offered help to someone who is hurting like you? How do you begin again when the whole world feels untrustworthy and unkind? When you are tired of putting yourself out there, convinced that you will only be hurt if you do?

Yes, there are no guarantees that it will be easy. There will be no guarantees of the outcome, that a friendship will grow from the risk you take of saying one yes, and then another. I know it takes such work to build a relationship again. But you can trust me. You can trust me. And you can ask what new relationships I bring.

And have you considered that the risk may be worth it? What if surrendering the fear of getting hurt again, giving me your heart, and trusting me with it, would be the only protection you need? There are unsafe people, yes. There are people you encounter who are not kind, who are wounded and do not know me; their pain and unhealed wounds lead them. But you don’t want your pain and your wounds to lead you, do you? This is not a life I have for you. 

Let me lead.

You are paid for, your debt completely paid. With your ransomed life you are made new again, and with that newness you are welcomed into healing, a complete healing of your heart so that you can go forward and take risks again, letting yourself feel and share and be known. It is time to know others. Let me, son . . . daughter, protect your heart. That is not your job. That is not what you need to do.

Let me be the protector of your heart. Let me be your shield. Let me help you in situations where you are trusting another person again and you can’t control how they are going to treat you. Let me guide you so you know where to turn—whether to keep pursuing this relationship or whether to walk away. But know that I care about your relationships, I care about your interactions and how they shape you and encourage you. I care, most of all, how they affect your heart. 

Exercise:

Trusting people is risky. It makes us vulnerable. And when we’re vulnerable we can be hurt. Trusting people opens us to the richness and goodness of relationship, yes. But it also opens us to the potential for pain. We give the people we trust the opportunity to wound our hearts.

And some people will. Some people, in some circumstances, will break our trust—and break our hearts. None of us can escape it. We live in a broken world and these are desperate days. So, we will all be hurt. We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all been wounded by someone at some point—and some of us much more deeply than others.

So, how do we move forward?

Well, it makes a lot of sense to protect ourselves. To shut down trust. If we’re going to be hurt again at some point, it makes sense close ourselves off from the danger of relationship, from the potential for pain. When our confidence in friendship, in relationship, is in tatters, it makes sense to close ourselves off from risking and caring and loving ever again. It makes sense to build a wall to protect ourselves—to shield our emotions and safeguard our heart. It makes sense.

Well, it would make sense, if it weren’t for God.

The Holy Spirit reminds us that He is our protector; He is our shield. While the world can’t be trusted, He can. All the time, in every circumstance. And when He invites us to move toward another person, to engage again in relationship—we can trust that He is there, in the very situation, right there with us. He never abandons us. He never forgets about us. He never misunderstands. Where He leads, it is good. For He is good. He is good.

Let’s take the next moments and ask Jesus to come in . . . come into the places that hurt in our hearts . . . the places that have been wounded by rejection . . . by betrayal . . . by a failure of community.

Now ask Jesus to show you where He was. He was there, back then. He is always here. So, look for Him now as you remember. What was He was doing in those moments. Look for Him as the scene plays out again in your mind. 

Once you see Him, look for his eyes. Look into them. And ask Him what He wants to say to you. Ask Him how He would like to rewrite the scene—how to view it now, through His eyes.

Trust that He is here with you now. Trust that Jesus, who is with you in all moments, will bring the healing you need. Trust that He loves you; that He will come to rescue your heart.

And let Him. Ask Him to take your pain—to carry it, to deal with it, so you don’t have to. Ask Him to heal the broken places.

And now, ask Him to guide you toward what’s next in terms of relationship and community—in terms of trust. What relationship does He want you to pursue?

Is the first relationship He has for you the one with Him?

And then what? What relationship might be next?

Listen now and for the next few moments.

(And before we finish up here, we want to say that nothing in this episode should be interpreted as encouragement to rationalize, or to conceal, or to remain in an abusive relationship. If you are facing abuse, please find a way to get safe and get help.)