"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Broken—Looking to Move Forward

By Micky Wolf

Things can and do fall apart—either from age and use, abuse, or lack of attention. It makes little difference whether we are talking about stuff or people. 


“Broken”…something—or someone—that has been shattered or separated into pieces [often violently], damaged, altered, violated by transgression, made weak or infirm, subdued completely or reduced in rank. [Merriam-Webster Dictionary] 

Most of us, in some manner or form, have been shattered or separated into pieces at one time or another. You could be, in this moment, in the midst of such an experience. Maybe you carry a broken-heart as the result of being rejected by someone you dearly love. Your broken-place might be one of great sorrow associated with the unresolved issues surrounding the death of a spouse or close friend. For others, the broken-place more resembles an ongoing infection, the nagging sense something is not quite right.

Regardless of how we have been broken in body, mind, spirit or emotions—damaged, altered, violated, made weak or infirm, subdued or reduced in rank—our brokenness can be used by God as a wellspring from which to stir up hope and generate healing, reshaping and restoring life even in the midst of the journey. Age, gender, social standing, or geographical location—we can view these circumstances as barriers or gateways to His love and compassion.

5 Steps to Looking and Responding

Our resistance to looking at brokenness—of things or within self—is understandable. After all, what fun is there in looking at what appears to be mostly trash or unusable junk? But what if taking the time—and feeling the pain of what is—opens the door to restoration or healing?

  1. Choice—Do you want to be healed and restored?
Sometimes our greatest resistance is wrapped and hidden beneath self-doubt and fear. Or lack of trust that God will really do what only He can do. Sometimes the familiarity of what we live with—within self or in our surroundings—has become quite comfortable, even if it is broken.

  1. Choice—Will you cooperate with God?
His grace abounds and is more than sufficient to overcome [or in some cases help us accept] any measure of our brokenness. Yet, for all His promises to not abandon or forsake us, we turn away from the ugly parts of self believing it is too much for Him. Cooperating with God begins with a simple yes. Whether whispered from the shroud of darkness or shouted from the hilltops, we can be assured He will—in His perfect time and plan—envelope our being with love, mercy and compassion to assuage every doubt, concern and fear lodged within our broken bodies and spirits.

  1. Choice—Are you willing to be changed?
Choosing to look at your broken places will open a door, one you may not be so sure you want to pass through. When we truly see in the bright light of honesty what is broken and falling apart, we face a new reality—choosing to let things stay the way they are, or acknowledging the need for change. Sometimes the very thought of “change” is enough to overwhelm our thoughts and feelings with all sorts of images and emotions of the unknown. People with reservoirs of painful experiences surrounding the unexpected are particularly hesitant to change. For them, living a peaceful life is all about maintaining control, which means avoiding anything that even hints at taking a risk by engaging in something new.

  1. Choice—Will you let go of the old?
How many of us have at least one old pair of shoes sitting in the closet? Not the pair we use for gardening or working on a messy project—the pair or pairs we hang on to “just because”. We would be hard-pressed to give a good reason for keeping a lot of things. In the process we miss wonderful opportunities for recycling or repurposing a multitude of stuff and ideas in ways that would not only be a blessing to others, but allow us to experience new freedom and peace of mind and heart by “letting go”. Whether it’s an old pair of shoes or an age-inappropriate behavior, there is peace and joy awaiting us as we release our grip on what has served us—maybe even well—in the past.

  1. Choice—Will you accept being different?
Sometimes we avoid looking at our broken places because we sense it will mean we will, in some way, be made different. And that is definitely true. No ifs, ands or buts about it—if we move through a process of change in allowing God to heal and restore our broken places, we will not be the same person at the end as we were at the beginning. And not only will the evidence of that change be there for us to see, feel and know, others are likely to witness the difference as well. It might be one thing to accept the new self personally, quite another to come to terms with the fact others may be less pleased with the differences in the way we now think, feel and act.

God is most certainly not in the business of making junk. He is, however, definitely in the business of healing and repairing what has been used, abused and broken. Whether that means completely getting rid of something, restoring it to a former luster, or replacing a part or two, we can take solace and courage in knowing He loves us so much He will not turn away. In Truth, He will enter with us into our broken places with the greatest care and compassion—that we can count on. [Isaiah 42:3] 

Can I accept my broken places in light of God’s loving presence?

How do I feel about be healed and restored?

Am I resisting God in looking at my brokenness?

Is it difficult for me to accept change? Being changed?

Do I struggle with letting go? Being different?

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