Life is hard. God never promised that it would be easy. In fact, He promised that it would be fraught with difficulties.

One of the negative side-effects of life being so hard is that once you take enough hits, your heart can grow hard. And once that happens, life even gets harder because you begin to see everything through a negative lens. And more than that, the book of Hebrews says that once you allow bitterness to set it, it negatively affects all your relationships. (Hebrews 12:15)

It is a downward cycle that will not get better until you decide to break the cycle. But how do you do that?

Look what the Psalmist says:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12

David’s heart had been damaged through his own sin. That might be the source of your hard heart. Maybe you feel so much shame that you have grown angry at yourself and you are taking it out on others. Or maybe it is the sin of others who have hurt you. Or maybe you are angry at God for not stopping pain and suffering to touch your life.

Whatever the source of the hardness of your heart, only God can make it soft again.

I recently found my heart growing hard. I was hurt and angry. However, it was not long before I saw how it was affecting all those around me. My bad attitude was affecting my leadership, parenting, and my own joy in life.

So, what did I do? I took it to God.

The Psalmist here did not try to change his own heart. He took it to the heart Doctor. He asked God to please give him a renewed heart.

When he asked that God not take His Presence or Holy Spirit from him, it was not as though He thought God would take those things away, it was his way of saying, “I can’t live like this anymore. I need your help!”

Once I did that my heart began to soften. My joy began to return. My strength is being restored.

You might think, “I don’t want a soft heart again. That will just leave me vulnerable to be hurt again!” True. But I believe that the only other option, living with a hard heart, is worse.

Do you want your joy restored? Do you want to regain your emotional and psychological strength? There is only one way – ask God to soften your heart.

Q. Are you afraid to live with a soft heart? What is the worse thing that can happen if you do?
Q. Do you want to be a joy to those around you or one who brings others down?
Q. Proverbs 4:23 says that you are to protect your heart with all diligence because your outward life will be a result of the condition of your heart. What do you want your outward life to look like?