Did your heart take a beating last year? Mine did. Gunk was stirred up, memories relived, regrets remembered. I'm ready for a new beginning.
I can’t be the only person who wants to dive into the new year with a fresh slate, eager to see what 2021 brings. I don’t think I’m unique. Don't we all have expectations that this year will be better than the last? This year, my goal is to continue to move toward healing for my wounded heart.
I don't always do a beginning-of-year personal inventory, but I’ve been feeling like something is being worked out in my heart/mind/spirit. Granted, 2020 wasn't the easiest year to live through, but too often my thoughts had gone to past hurts and disappointments. I want 2021 to be different. I want to grow, to heal, and to help others move forward through their disappointments. I want to help hurting hearts heal.
Sometimes we've been wounded by others' actions, and sometimes our wounds come from consequences of our own behavior. Either way, I’ve come to believe that we must take an active part in healing our hearts—or having our hearts continue to heal. Yes, that’s better.
First thing, realize that all healing comes from God.
The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15
Isn't that amazing? The Almighty can/will restore a crushed spirit. He can/will revive courage. Doesn't that bring comfort to you? It does to me.
Take heart, and move forward with the knowledge that the past is over but the future is waiting to unfold. Whatever wounds and disappointments you struggled with in 2020 can be left behind as the calendar page turns. God promises a new beginning with each day.
Do you harbor bitterness? I used to be a serial forgiver. I would forgive then bitterness would creep in, and I would find myself reliving the pain and rescinding my forgiveness. During 2020, I discovered that forgiveness is both a decision and a process. I know it’s my responsibility to turn that bitterness around. I try. Honestly. That I slide back toward pain and bitterness is proof that God has more work to do in my heart. I'm willing to do that, regardless of how it might feel. Remember, you can't always trust your feelings, but you can trust God.
Do you need motivation to let go of bitterness? Check this out: “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" Matthew 5:43-44
So, here’s what we need to consider to move our hearts toward healing:
Cleanse your heart daily (Don’t accumulate grudges, let them go.)
Avoid what will lead you away from a God-centered life. (That’s different for everyone, but if you think about it, you know what your hot button is.)
Find ways to demonstrate your choice to forgive those who have wronged you.
Don't engage with toxic people who have hurt you. Guard your heart! You can't change them, anyway.
Easy peasy? No! But it’s worth the effort. Decide to freshen up your heart. Not only will you make the world a better place, but you'll make yourself a better person. And that's something!