Sunday, 12 January 2014

Turning Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope

2013 saw me thrust into a wilderness of sorts. Not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. After 3 friendships collapsing in a matter of months at the beginning of the year, I soon fell into a depression, with the wounds being deepened when my church  failed to care for me in my dark state. After all, healing can only take place within the church walls on a Sunday right? If you stop going, well you are out of sight and out of mind. With everything stripped away, I found myself deep in the wilderness with nothing, and hope seemed to be but a distant memory. I was in Heartbreak Valley.

I have been reading Brene Brown's book "Daring Greatly", this summer. It has been a real eye opener to vulnerability and shame. In the chapter 2 I read:
"....there is one particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust.
In fact, this betrayal usually happens long before the other ones. I'm talking about the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship. The word betrayal evokes experiences of cheating, lying, breaking a confidence, failing to defend us to someone else who's gossipping about us, and not choosing us to someone over other people. These behaviours are certainly betrayals, but they are not the only form of betrayal. If I had to choose the form of betrayal that emerged most frequently from my research and that was the most dangerous in forms of corroding the trust connection, I would say disengagement.
When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears- the fears of being abandoned, unworthy and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can't point to the source of pain - there's no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazy-making."
p51,52 (Daring Greatly.- Brene Brown.)

Hello! Crazy-making. Yep, that was me last year. But reading this makes perfect sense why I fell into the depression. With 2 disengagements last year, I felt shame and fear of being abandoned, unworthy and unlovable. I was unable to trust anyone. What I also realised after reading this passage in the book, is that I have been a victim of disengagement over the past 20 years with Christians over and over again. I would form relationships, trust people when they invite me to share my heart, only for the person to disengage from the friendship. I find Christian friendships usually have an expiry date. There is rarely longevity. I don't think that I am alone in my experience. Disengagement is very much part of the church culture. It is dangerous. I wonder how many times I may have betrayed people by disengaging. It makes my heart hurt to think of the pain I may have caused people. 

So, I have trust issues. But I also have  a deep seeded need for connection. I believe that God is in the process of making all things new in my heart. It is a process. I have had a hard time trusting God through it all. I even found myself doubting whether or not Jesus is real . But I feel Him gently pursuing me. I believe that He has taken me into this wilderness so that I can start over.
And now, here’s what I’m going to do:  I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness    where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses.    I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. She’ll respond like she did as a young girl,  those days when she was fresh out of Egypt.{Hosea 2:14-15 MSG}

I am believing that I will remember what it was like when I first gave my heart to Jesus, and respond accordingly. I am learning to trust again. I am trusting that He will bring me into connection with other Christians that I can truly trust with my heart. I am not sure exactly what that will look like. But I know I can't go back to the type of churches that I have been to over the past 20 years.  He will turn my Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. I hold on to that thread of hope. It will take every ounce of courage within me to be brave and trust again.

Still taking lessons from the King,

*all art work by Jo-Anne M  Puggioni (that's me!)

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  1. Have you heard the song Acres of Hope? It is so, so good.

    I really empathize with this idea of disengagement. It's given me a name to put to something I've been experiencing. I have noticed (and this reality becomes increasingly more painful) that I am almost always the one who initiates contact with the ones I count as friends. I am always the one calling, inviting, etc., with one exception. Usually once I initiate, the other person happily (seemingly, at least) hangs out. But hardly ever does anyone invite me somewhere. It really hurts. So I've stepped back, stopped inviting, because I can't keep on putting myself out there and not have most people reciprocate. I don't know if this is the right thing to do, but I'm tired. So tired. And hurt. And frustrated.

    Anyway, thank you. Thank you for writing about this, for letting me know that this hurt has a true source.

    1. It really helps to put a name to the hurt doesn't it Beth? I understand about stepping back and stopping the invitations. xo


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Jo Princess Warrior xo