Updated: May 14, 2020
Allowing Restoration in the Broken Heart
The human heart keeps us physically alive. The spiritual heart keeps us eternally alive. Because life flows from the heart, it is essential to care for it well. All hearts are subject to damage and disease, therefore we need to develop a practice of monitoring them.
When the heart develops disease blood flow is restricted, preventing it from supplying essential nutrients to the rest of the body. Some diseases cause valves to harden and vessels to be blocked, where others cause the muscle to be weak or have an irregular rhythm.
We experience this in the same way in our spiritual heart. Over time the realities of life such as, pain, disappointment, fear, isolation, or selfish desire, can cause blockages or off beat rhythms in our relationship with our heart’s creator. When our heart becomes hardened by the troubles of life we lose our ability to understand, hear, and believe God. When selfish desire creates an off beat rhythm, our desire for God weakens and we lose our willingness to walk with him, at his pace.
Our natural self defense from feeling pain is to allow hardening and desensitize ourselves to those feelings. Our fear is that when we are soft and sensitive we will feel more vulnerable to pain. A hard heart is a false protection and is nothing compared to the protection God wants to give us when we entrust it to him and let it become sensitive to His Spirit. His purpose is not to let us feel the pain of brokenness but instead heal it so that we can understand, hear, and believe him.
God gives us the responsibility to guard our hearts. Instead, we often find it easier to become desensitized to what is wrong, rather than choosing to guard what we allow in and out. For example, instead of choosing to eat healthy we ignore our body’s negative reaction to eating something unhealthy because we don't want to acknowledge that what we are putting in our body is harmful.
Proverbs 4:23 (TPT) says, “So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life.” There is a constant flow that comes out of the heart into everyday life. If we want what comes out of us to reflect God, then we must refill ourselves with Him.
There are many known causes of heart disease from neglect of physical health, to family history, but in recent years there has been research done to show that loneliness and social isolation increase the risk of Coronary Heart Disease and stroke by 29%.¹ CHD and stroke are two of the leading causes of death and disability in high-income countries. This information proves that the way we are feeling in our hearts influences the health of our bodies.
In order to restore our physical heart health from damage and disease, there are three major paths doctors take:
Repair: clean out a blockage or create a new pathway around it to maintain blood flow
Implant: insert a pacemaker to produce regular impulses and set a new rhythm
Transplant: damage is significant enough that an entirely new heart is required to restore life to its most optimal function
Depending on what we need at the time, God is willing and able to do this same work in our spiritual heart. Sometimes it’s just a clean out and sometimes it’s a full transplant. Either way He is faithful to give us what we need when we entrust it to Him, lay our defenses down, and allow ourselves to get on the table for surgery.
Ezekiel 11:19 (AMP) says, “And I will give them one heart [a new heart], and put a new spirit within them. I will take from them the heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh [that is responsive to My touch].
If God gives us a new heart, but our blood is contaminated we are still going to end up with an unhealthy body. That’s why Jesus died for us as a sacrifice so that his blood could become our transfusion. We need his pure blood to replace our contaminated blood. With a new heart and new blood we are free to live out the plans that are exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask, think, or imagine.
With heart surgery old habits of a hardened heart can begin to be broken and new habits of a softened heart can begin to be built. Building new healthy habits is the key to keeping a soft, healthy heart.
A few habits to keep the heart soft are:
Thankfulness. Remember what He’s done for you already.
Repentance. Choose humility over pride - willingness to be wrong and to change.
Stillness. Waiting on God - allowing yourself to be sensitive to His Spirit.
¹ Valtorta NK, Kanaan M, Gilbody S, et alLoneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studiesHeart 2016;102:1009-1016.