A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Crushed. Defeated. Deflated. Lower than low. That feeling that follows overwhelming disappointment, humiliation, embarrassment. Accurately described since antiquity as a crushed spirit.
Proverbs 18:14 calls this condition unbearable. The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
Take if from one who has experienced this dreadful feeling too many times, a crushed spirit is curable and temporary. But when it hits, you feel as if you will not survive.
And yes, it happens to people of faith. Christians aren’t immune. But we aren’t left to fend for ourselves in such times. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
Some of us are extra sensitive and susceptible to getting our feelings hurt. But a crushed spirit is so much more, and it is no respecter of persons. It can afflict the toughest of the tough, and it is not gender specific.
A crushed spirit is inevitable and unavoidable because it is rooted in trust and manifest in disappointment.
(1) People let you down
When we place our trust in people, especially those we love, we can be deeply wounded by broken promises, betrayal, or shocking behavior.
(2) You let yourself down
You do something to bring shame upon yourself or act contrary to your value system. Paul talked about this conflict with self in Romans 7:15. “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
(3) You let someone else down
A crushed spirit can be caused by betraying the trust our loved ones have placed in us. We say or do something that deeply hurts them or worse yet, damages or destroys the relationship. It hurts to hurt people we love.
(4) You lose something or someone of great value
We build our lives around people, objects, and situations upon which we depend. That spouse you thought you could rely upon. The job you must have to pay the bills and put food on the table. Your car. Your home. And then suddenly that object of dependability is gone and your spirit is crushed.
(5) You lose a hard fought battle
Defeat is never easy, and it’s especially difficult when it is something for which you have given your all. You knocked yourself out to get a promotion, but you didn’t get it. Possibly you did all you could to save your marriage, but it didn’t work out. Or you trained and prepared to make the team or get the job, but you didn’t make it.
(6) Broken dreams, shattered hopes, and failure
Dreamers often fail. Setting the bar high leads to frequent major disappointments and bouts with a crushed spirit. An expected career choice that didn’t pan out. The dream house that wasn’t realized. The girl or guy of your dreams whose feelings weren’t mutual.
Like I said, a crushed spirit is temporary. It is a painful setback to be sure. But, like my grandmother used to say, “This, too, shall pass.”
The danger, however, is allowing that painful memory that caused your crushed spirit to hinder future big dreams and relationships. Yes, it’s hard to get back on the bicycle after falling off. It’s only natural to be reluctant to trust someone with your heart after it has been severely broken.
A crushed spirit isn’t an end, it’s just an interlude. It’s a passage of life, not a stopping place. Don’t deny yourself the wonderful blessings that God has waiting for you.
Previously, I mentioned Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Think about this promise next time your spirit is crushed by severe disappointment. In your darkest hour, the Lord is close to you, and He will save you from your pain. In time, He will lift you up, restore you, and give you something better.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Healing for a Broken Heart
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.