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How to Deal with Heartbreak and Burdens By Ed McDowell

Time to Cope with Heartbreak and Burdens

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

Psalms 55:22 NLT

Some of the most difficult burdens leaders face are the ones that strike closest to home and leadership. Betrayal, broken trust, deception, slander, and violence within families, organizations, and communities we have helped to shape break our hearts, because it is so personal. We are completely invested in these relationships. They are part of our lives. Our relationships and responses to them must change because of choices being made. We love the people involved. Our heart breaks and breaks again.  


These are the kinds of burdens King David is writing about in Psalm 55.  Enemies within the Kingdom are working against everything it stands for. A trusted confidant has turned against the pursuit of shared vision.  Evil within has been stirred up. These are the burdens of King David’s heart.  Every leader experiences heartbreak like this, and it is ok to be honest about it.


King David gives us a path for dealing with these heavy burdens that is brilliant.  Give your heartbreak to the Lord.   

Think of all the things that could be suggested right now.  Try harder, get professional help, this may be your fault, that’s life, deal with it, it comes with the territory, and get a grip.

A Process

King David is leading us to a deeper way of living and responding to hard things.  He has come to know something of the nature of God that is substantially different that the counsel and advice being so freely flung around that does not address burdens that break the heart. 

  • Give you burdens to the Lord.  If not God, then who are you going to share these burdens with?  There is no better option anywhere or anytime.
  • He will take care of you.  At the heart of seeking good care in any area of our lives are two questions:  Can I trust you? Are you any good at what you do?  We are looking for the unmatched combination of trust and competency when seeking care.  Put these questions up against God and his care, and the answers are clear.  Is He trustworthy? Yes! Completely!  Is He competent in providing care?  Yes! He established the compassionate standard for care. His care is unlimited in its capacity. 
  • He will not let you slip and fall over this heartbreak.  Heartbreak creates real or perceived vulnerability in leaders.  It can cut to the core of self confidence and create a sense of “disqualification” within a person’s mind.  God responds by letting us know that He is working above what we perceive, think, or feel to give us a way through.  He is not going to let us fall, as we go through this most difficult pain of heartbreak.


Bringing heartbreak into God’s loving care is the best thing a leader can do.  Let It become your response to hard things.  Rest in the fact that God keeps His word. He will take care of you.  Have peace in knowing that, in God’s loving care, God Himself will keep you from slipping and falling. 


Dear Father God,

Heartbreak close to home, family, organization,  and community is such a heavy burden.  Broken trust and betrayal are devastating to the heart.  Thank You for inviting us to bring these burdens to You.  Thank You for taking care of us in our heartbreak.  Thank You for keeping us from slipping and falling when our own hearts are broken.  You are so incredible to love us in these ways.

In Jesus name, Amen


Ed McDowell is the CEO of Warm Beach Camp. He has extensive experience in overseeing and directing ministry organizations, including stewardship development, personnel and organizational management.

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