Relationships end, seasons of life transition, jobs change, friendships ebb and flow, and life throws us curve balls that shatter our hearts in ways we often don’t expect.
Society tells us to build up a wall amidst heartbreak and push through. Emotions should be suppressed and once something hurts, we should avoid it with everything we have. Settling for friends with benefits to avoid the potential pain of becoming emotionally involved, going to an unfulfilling job everyday instead of taking a risk on your dream because of a fear of failure, keeping friendships at a distant to avoid ever having a friend let you down… We attempt to safely set our lives up to avoid pain, yet pain inevitably comes and failure happens. We break, we crumble, and we question everything that we’ve worked so hard to construct. Where did we go wrong in playing it safe? What did we miss?
Surrender. We missed the beauty and the freedom in surrender. In all of our desperate attempts to create safety, we forgot that life isn’t meant to be played safe and the tighter grip we have on our life the more we fall into a false reality of “having it all together”.
Earlier this year I hit a wall. I had an unexpected breakup that led me to question why my life has been defined by so much heartbreak. I’d call it a season of heartbreak, but that season seemed to have lasted the better part of 8 years. Heartbreak after heartbreak, struggle after struggle… It seemed never ending and I was weary. But something had shifted in me and instead of falling right back to my “safe place", emotionally shut off and running on autopilot, I fell on my face and finally opened the white knuckled grip I had on my life and asked God what all of this was for. So many times I had angrily questioned God’s intentions with my life, and why I had to go through so much pain… but this time I simply surrendered everything to Him. And suddenly there was a peace that came over me. My heart still ached but I knew it was going to heal, and I knew I was going to be okay (after all I had survived much worse). I knew this heartbreak was only temporary and I had a peace that this was just another piece of the story God was writing in my life.
The freedom in the surrender of this unrelenting season of heartbreak allowed healing to finally surface in my life, and the reconstruction started to happen. With my head down, my eyes focused upward and one tiny step after the next there was a monumental redesign going on that even I didn’t notice until months later. Things that had once been triggers were suddenly becoming moments of peace and gratitude. Cooking a meal was no longer a trigger resulting in flashbacks of abuse but instead meal prepping became one of the most peaceful parts of my week. Working out no longer brought back rushing memories of being told I was too fat, that my legs were too big, and that my greatest flaw was my body… but instead I began to thank God for how strong my legs were, and I began to thank God for this body He gave me and I finally began to treat this body well.
But there was still something lingering that left me unsettled...
Earlier this year I had the honor of sharing my story with the Colts rookies, and that day will forever be a monumental day for me and not for the obvious reasons.
Taking a long lunch from work that day to share my story with a room full of NFL players seemed surreal. On my way back to the office my heart shifted, and I finally realized that the moments I feel closest to God are the moments that I am able to share my story with someone. Whether that’s one person or hundreds of people, it’s in those moments that I feel the presence of God most intimately. People always used to ask me what my dreams in life were after my divorce, and I could never answer them because I wasn’t allowed to dream for so many years. Yet suddenly everything clicked, my dream was to do everything I could to share my story with as many people as possible in order to further the kingdom of God… and I wasn’t going to be able to do that sitting in a cubicle everyday. While I’ve become very good at taking calculated risks over the years, this was a calculated risk that was terrifying. Months and months of prayer resulting constant confirmation led me to to walk away from that cubicle and the safety of a steady paycheck to pursue my dream. Still teaching dance, and paying my bills doing something I could pour my heart in to, but allowing myself the freedom away from a full time job to whole heartedly pursue what God placed on my heart… and to see where this dream could lead.
Rape, an abusive marriage, PTSD, numerous unhealthy relationships that left my heart in pieces, broken friendships, unemployment, financial struggle, numerous surgeries and other moments of tiny shattering heartbreaks has led me to the most beautiful place in life. This beautiful place embracing the freedom of surrender. Of knowing that healing is hard, but redemption is real. But most importantly knowing that with every painful heartbreak comes the powerful opportunity to allow Christ to be glorified in the aftermath.
It may hurt now, but it won’t hurt forever. Someday the broken pieces of your shattered heart will be reconstructed into an unimaginable masterpiece as long as you are willing to surrender the hurt and allow it to heal.