These three words have never had as much relevance in my life as they have now. Seasons have come and gone, and there have been times when the Lord has asked me to let some relationships go. There have also been times when the Lord has blessed me with very dear relationships, and unfortunately, those have also gone downhill. Some of those relationship losses were easy to cope with, while others were painstakingly hard. But, throughout them all, I’ve learned how to lean into God, allow Him to break pride, and heal with love.
Prayer is key. Healing never looks the way we want it to look. Sometimes healing means praying for the other person to keep move forward, even if you can’t be there to celebrate with them or encourage them in their endeavors. Prayer causes us to truly die to our flesh and come to grips with the ultimatum, “It’s either what we want, or what God wants.” We can’t have it both because God is going to lead us into some very painful things to pray. It will test our level of patience. It will reveal the ugly things rooted in our hearts, but ultimately, it will get us to a place where we can pray the purest prayers, rooted in love, and truly be okay with the outcome.
“Love is patient, love is kind,” (1 Corinthians 13: 4a)
Don’t tolerate pride. During the healing process, the Lord has walked me through extremely hard moments of vulnerability. Nothing kills pride and hastens the healing process more than humility and vulnerability before the Lord. Pride has two extremes: It either wants to constantly remind you of how badly others have hurt you, or it tries to convince you that you’re okay and that it didn’t hurt. Tolerating either is not okay. Those painful thoughts are going to come because… well, it hurt! However, healing comes in those moments of humility. To God, you recognize, “Father, this situation really did hurt me. It hurt so badly. Pretending like it didn’t doesn’t make me tougher. It only helps to build barriers. Because I know that forgiveness is a choice that is not based on my emotions, I choose to forgive all those involved. Heal me in the deepest parts of where hurt has resided. I give you permission to touch and heal the root of the pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ” Pride is not your friend, and it’s not “protecting” you. Not only will pride create a divide between you and others, but it will also divide you and God.
“[Love] does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud,” (1 Corinthians 13: 4b)
Ask God to silence the wrong voices. During healing, this is crucial. Just because people love you doesn’t mean that their heart is always in the right place to speak. Sometimes another’s “love” (or their need to defend us) can cause them to speak/act from their flesh. In those moments, the voices we’re allowing to speak into us are actually reaffirming pride that the Lord is trying to break. Often times, they’re helping us to keep rehearsing the offense. Ask the Lord to highlight voices that aren’t helping you to heal. Then, ask for boldness to walk away. When God does a healing work, He’s not just working on the problem at hand, He’s healing the deeper root issues, as well. Wrong voices have the power to help you to keep rehearsing the offense without ever actually dealing with it. Ask God for help. He’ll give you the grace.
Love is warfare. “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes,” (1 Corinthians 13: 7 NIV). Love always protects the other person involved, and for me, the Lord has been showing me that that means that I will protect their name and their character. I won’t talk bad about them, entertain a bad thought about them, and I won’t allow others to either. Love is making the choice to trust what God says about people, and not what our distorted reality says about them. I was praying recently, and the Lord told me that, “love is warfare.” Not saying what you really want to say in the heat of the moment is warfare. Standing still, not giving into what the enemy wants is warfare. Choosing God’s perspective is warfare. Speaking life is warfare. It makes the enemy so mad when we choose to not give into conflict, even when conflict is coming at us.
Learn to let the relationship go. This has been the hardest for me, personally. Frequently, I’ll be bombarded with thoughts of, “No! I’m believing for restoration! The Lord can restore!! You’re not fighting hard enough! You’re just going to let it go? Just like that?!” Letting people go doesn’t mean that you are giving up on them, or on what God can do. It’s an incredibly, brave act of love that says, “God, I cannot do this. We had all of the knowledge as to how to fix this, yet we STILL couldn’t make this work. I choose to give this to You to do what only You can do. I choose to relinquish control.”
Keep moving forward with a pure heart. While the previous was the hardest for me, I know that for some, this may feel like the hardest thing. Satan wants to tell you that you’re abandoning the person. He wants to lie, and tell you that they’re not moving forward, and that they’re going to be bitter with you for doing so. Or, he’ll try to convince you that it’s some type of competition. So, yes, you can move forward, but the goal is to beat them in life. Regardless of the tactic, it’s a lie. Of course moving forward isn’t always easy. The lies will come, and sometimes looking ahead makes the days feel like an eternity, but it’s one prayer at a time.
It’s dispelling one lie at a time.
It’s leaning into God, one step at a time.
It’s trusting that God is going to take care of you.
It’s trusting that when He says, “Don’t defend yourself,” that He is your vindicator.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12: 9)
Keep your love on. Their actions shouldn’t determine yours. It doesn’t matter if the person never wants to talk to you again, or if they hate you. Even when it’s hard and you feel stupid, keep your love on. Seek God on whether or not it’s His will for that relationship to have a place in your life in the future. From the purest place, pray for them. Trust that God is doing a work in them just like He’s doing in you. Ultimately, it’s the old saying, “Healing isn’t for the other person. It’s for you.” When you allow the Lord to show you how much those relationships shaped the good in you, it’s hard to turn your love off. It actually helps you to love them, and others, in a greater measure. It helps you to heal. One day, you’ll be able to see them without your heart skipping six beats. “Love endures (suffers something painful or difficult, patiently) all things,” (1 Corinthians 13: 7).
Be patient with yourself. Don’t rush it. Trust the Lord’s timing. I think sometimes we are so “big picture” focused, that we grow impatient, not allowing God to heal us fully. When you’ve been hurt, it’s a natural reaction to want to act out of fear, anxiety, and throw up walls of defense. You may think you’re completely healed until you see the person. There’s no need in beating yourself up because you went out of your way to ignore them so they couldn’t see how badly you were hurting, but you should be more realistic with the timing of your healing. (Haha! You may need more than the one week of healing you’ve set for yourself!) However, it’s in those moments that we truly get see God be God because He’s close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)! Lean in on His perfect love that casts out fear.
Again, it’s one day at a time.
Is it going to hurt some days? Yes. Sometimes, badly.
Will you still miss those people? Of course.
But healing comes so much faster when we allow God to do the work.