Good Morning Heartache

Have you ever felt a pain, somewhere inside, that you can’t express?  The kind of ache that can’t be calmed with Advil or any other medicine… the kind that you can’t reach, can’t touch, can’t soothe away?  When I was little, my dad told me my soul was inside me, and I thought that if a doctor opened me up he would be able to see it.  I thought it was like my lungs, or my bones, or any other physical aspect of my body.  But a soul isn’t like that… a soul is who we are apart from our physical attributes.  So when a soul is hurt, that ache can’t be remedied with human medicine.

It’s called ‘heartache’, although the pain does not originate in our physical, blood-pumping muscles.  A heartache is perhaps the hardest of pains to cure because there are so many things that instigate it… it could be a death, or an illness, or stress, or the loss of a job or finances.  There are as many reasons for the ache of a heart as there are days in the year, because with each day there will be new trials to face.  But tere is one real reasons for an aching heart — and that’s a breaking heart.

Ever heard Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart”?  It’s a classic for country music lovers like myself.  Anyone aquainted with country music has heard their share of ‘aching heart’ stories — but if you take a closer look, you’ll see the main reason for an ‘achy breaky heart’ is a broken relationship.  It is through relationships — of any sort — that our hearts are most susceptible to pain.

The heart is the seat of emotions, and when a person enters into a relationship, be it a friendship, or a romantic relationship, or family, the emotions are always involved.  When that relationship falls through, or disappoints us, our hearts are ‘broken’.  Have you felt the pain of a broken heart?  I don’t know anyone who hasn’t.  It has been said that if  ‘you love deeply, you hurt deeply’.  In genuine love, this is very true.  Yet pain is still felt in what is mistaken for love: infatuation.

Many people today mistake infatuation for love.  Infatuation is the warm fuzzy feeling you get around a person that you like; the happy thoughts, and sweet words, that all seem to be what love is all about.  What so many girls, and boys, don’t know is that emotions lie.  You can’t trust yourself!  All the ‘believe in yourself’ jargon you hear today is silliness, for “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  (Jer. 17:9, ESV)  You may be thinking, “My heart is not ‘sick’!”  yet in your own nature, it is.  Your heart will lead you astray after your own desires, rather than submitting them to God.

I said I was starting another series on relationships, and this is the beginning.  I decided to start with broken hearts because I am very well aquainted with them!  While I will try to warn and advise my readers, I certainly can’t guarantee that you will never have a broken heart.  Life brings disappointments.  I can offer you a way that makes a broken heart much less common.  Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way.

I mentioned infatuation briefly; now let me give you the more commonly used name: a crush.  For many girls crushes are ‘okay‘, and I certainly don’t think that in and of themselves they are sinful.  It is perfectly possible to admire someone within the relams of purity.  Too often, however, crushes get out of hand.  My first crush was at six years old.  There was a little boy at my church who always came dressed in a little suit with his hair combed.  His name was David, and I adored him.  All I knew was that he could spell “Mississippi” faster than anyone else in the first grade (I went to the Christian school then) and that was enough for me.  Quite a standard, hm?  I’d like to see how that would hold up now!  *hee hee*  Anyway, it seemed that every year I had a new ‘crush’:  Phil, Zach, Aaron, Rich, Daniel, Jesse… and they all ended up being nothing but a marvelous waste of time. 

If someone had told me while in the throes of my devotion that I was ‘wasting my time’ I would have hardly listened.  I didn’t want to.  Infatuation is blinding that way: you give and give your emotions without regard for the consequences until, like a knife in the heart, reality strikes.  Too often my reality was that the guy I liked had a girlfriend.  Thus, I perfected the admirer-from-afar status.  (Which, during my infatuation heyday, it is lucky for my admirees that I was ‘afar’, for I had some pretty bad hair years!)

The problem with infatuations, or crushes, is that no matter how hard you try to hide them they are always obvious, and generally a wonderful instigator to embarrassing moments.  I could never hide anything.  Thus, my bi-yearly rotation of crushes was well known to my close friends, and even to some of my crushes themselves.  It didn’t do anything for me — or my friendships.  There was jealousy, insecurity, embarrassment… and most of all, a broken heart. 

Looking back, those ‘broken hearts’ weren’t as traumatic as they felt at the time.  All the same, they were real for me.  I felt the pain.  Problem was, it was self inflicted.  The blame for that kind of broken heart cannot be placed on anyone but myself.  I let my heart go too far — I ‘loved too deeply’, when it wasn’t even love!  Out of my lack of self control, I broke my own heart. 

There is only one way to keep this from happening to yourself.  It is to maintain emotional control. There are several aspects of this.  First, you must recognize that you are the proprietor of your heart, choosing to sell it or keep it as you wish.  No one ‘makes’ you fall in love with them (and remember, it’s not love); they can encourage you, but it is your choice to give your heart.  Secondly, you must maintain cognitive control: watch your thoughts.  Thoughts lead to action.  Lastly, go to Christ.  Take your heart to Him alone.  That is where I found my solace.  When my emotions were raging, crying, wishing — I went to Him.  I knew He cared, even if it seemed that no one else did (which of course wasn’t true, but pity parties are part of the shebang too). 

A loss of emotional control always precedes a loss of physical control.  That’s why dating leads to physical involvement so quickly.  Emotional prostitution is a harsh phrase to describe it, but consider a moment:  to sell your heart for the thrill of the moment without regard for future consequences — does it not fit?  King Solomon sold his heart out to his foreign wives, thus leading to the destruction of his kingdom’s morality.  How gladly would Satan destroy the lives of girls who gave up on preserving their hearts!  Yet before Solomon fell, he left us a challenge that I forward to all you young men and women:

“Guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life…” (Prov. 4:23)

Join me?

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8 Responses

  1. Exactly what I needed to hear! I’m really struggling with guarding my heart right now. I know in my head what I want but, you’re so right, my heart doesn’t seem to want it right now. I mean, right now, my 16 year old heart wants nothing more than to be in a dating relationship but I know that in a few years, when (God willing) I meet my future husband, I’ll want to give him everything I have. Every part of my heart, no matter how small.
    Anyway, thanks for the encouragement!
    God bless, Happy New Years!
    Caroline

  2. From a long time happily married woman…those chemical reactions (crushes) that one has to new people you meet, don’t always go away after you’re married. The difference is that I love my husband; any new feeling I have I write it off as a person who my hubby and I might like to get to know as a friend and that’s it. I don’t label it love or lust…just an interest in getting to know a person. That’s all it ever is (a chemical reaction), only when you’re young and surprised by that feeling, and looking for a guy…you label it as so much more. Phylicia, you are VERY wise to understand that you can’t trust your feelings; love and relationships are a choice. I have been JOYFULLY married for almost 14 years. I chose my husband and choose to find new ways to delight in him everyday.

  3. this was a great post, Phy. thanks for taking the time to write it. I can completely understand the “admiring from afar” part you mentioned. first of all, it was nice to hear that someone else is like me 🙂 and i appreciate the thoughts you shared. keep up the good work!

  4. Totally right! Wow, you could seriously write a book. I just love your writing style, it’s so catching. About your post, that’s really true. I have had TOO many crushes in the past, many which have destroyed me, and still are destroying me. They are ALL senseless. It’s just going in a runt, over and over again. You love (you think), you stare, you get a warm heart, then all of a sudden it’s over! Thanks Phylicia for posting this!

    Vanessa

  5. That is so true. You should write a book concerning all this! I have had many crushes in the past, TOO many, all of them senseless. Thanks for posting this Phylicia, it’s much needed in this crooked world. I have suffered from these ‘crushes’ and am still suffering one which happened almost 2 years ago. All it does is causes pain…pain, and pain! And yes, a broken heart does take place, or worse, embarrassment like you said. Keep those great posts coming! Vanessa

  6. Ooops, the first comment said it wouldn’t go, and now I got two up there! 🙂 Saying the same thing, just different wording!

  7. Good post. I often tell people we’re all stuck in junior high – we just think we are more mature. But, unfortunately, without conscious effort to avoid crushes, I (and many woman I know) fall into that trap far too often.

  8. Hey! It’s good to see you’re posting regularly again! Our internet has been down all thrugh c-mas, so I haven’t been on lately 😦

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