Muscle Memory

Why can it be so hard to heal from a broken heart?  Why do we continue to struggle with habits that are harmful for our physical or emotional health?

I was speaking with a friend some time ago, and she said it’s like muscle memory.  When we do anything physically repetitive, the muscles being used become accustomed to that movement over time.

These muscles then tend to repeat that movement, even when we are doing a different activity.

So, when intense upheavals happen in our lives-a broken heart, a moment of intense anger-we return to the same coping mechanisms we’ve always used, even if they are harmful.  Going back to our comfort zones after a physical or emotional trauma helps us cope in the moment.

But sometimes our coping mechanisms are harmful.  Overeating, seeking approval from others, addictive behaviors and so forth- are so easy to fall back on because we’ve used them so many times before.

Think of it as the emotional equivalent of muscle memory.

Heart memory.

What any trainer will tell you though, is that in order for the body to be conditioned to operate at it’s peak performance, the athlete must train various muscle groups so that the whole body will be strengthened and readied for competition.

Ok so how about heart memory when it comes to emotions?

When a person wants to get in peak physical condition and they’ve done all they can do by themselves, they go to a trainer.  The trainer pushes them and causes them to work different muscle groups.  This is often an uncomfortable process, but one that strengthens and brings the person to optimal health.

By now you’ve read enough of my posts to know where this is headed.

When you want to re-train your heart, heal from an emotional trauma, or learn a new coping mechanism, you need a trainer who knows just how to challenge you.


He’s the easiest yet hardest trainer a person can have.  Because He is always accessible and His advice is free, His schedule is always open for private sessions.  But learning how to use faith, perseverance, and boldness to take back confidence, joy, healing, and peace are very challenging when it would be easier to just sit back and use the same old coping mechanisms we’re used to.

And just like some of us have gym memberships we haven’t used in a while or trainers we haven’t scheduled an appointment with since bikini season, some of us haven’t called on Christ to strengthen our hearts.  Or, we know what He has told us to do, but because it’s uncomfortable, we put the training off.

Healing from emotional trauma is always difficult.  Learning how to cope with anger, fear and sadness can be overwhelming.  But until we train our hearts to heal in ways that strengthen us and not harm us, we will continue to fall back on the familiar.

Next time an emotional trauma happens to you, or if you are in one right now, try going to the Ultimate Trainer.  He will strengthen you beyond your highest expectations.  There will be sweat and tears, but He already supplied the blood.  And unlike trainers for your physical health, he is available 24-7.




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