I am a big fan of being put together. My i’s need to be dotted and my t’s need to be crossed. Everything has its place and I fully expect for each item to be in its said location. My life should run smoothly and look a certain, beautiful, put-together way. But that’s simply not the way things work. Life is a beautifully chaotic mess that we can choose to embrace.
In his book, Healing the Shame that Binds You, John Bradshaw discusses the concept of healthy shame that points us back to who God is and away from ourselves. Healthy shame is the part of us that realizes and accepts our limitations instead of trying to be like God.
Toxic shame tells us that we should build a facade so we appear to be more than we are. This is the voice that tells us we are the worst, but if we do these certain things or act a certain way, we can cover our shame. When we adopt unhealthy behaviors and addictions, we distract ourselves and others from the shame lurking within us.
Have you ever been tempted to do something to appear as more than you actually are? Have you ever tried to reject your natural limitations?
I most definitely have. I want to control so I don’t experience pain, I want to maintain the illusion of perfection so I’m not rejected, and I desire to puff myself up so I will be perceived as impenetrable.
But what if our pain, our struggle, and our brokenness are actually good things?
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (ESV)
A few years ago, I fell and I chipped the bone in my ankle. It sucked and it hurt, but more than anything, it was an incredibly humbling experience. I hated every second of it but I’m so thankful I went through it. I grew a lot during that time, though I hoped and prayed for that particular season to be over quickly.
During the month following my fall, I remained squarely in denial. I didn’t want to admit that I was broken. And it wasn’t until I finally accepted that something was wrong and went to the doctor that I was able to heal.
And it’s the same way for us spiritually.
If I don’t accept the fact that I have a sin problem and that my heart loves so many things other than God, then I’m going to continue hurting. If I’m unwilling to face and accept my brokenness, I have no hope of getting better. I have no reason to seek help if I don’t believe that anything is wrong.
But when I have the courage to say “yes, I am broken” and I come to the healer, then he can do something about it. Admitting it really is the first step to recovery.
The beauty of brokenness is wholly unique.
It’s frightening, uncomfortable, and unpleasant but the results are well worth it. I don’t like being broken physically, spiritually, emotionally, or any other way, but there can be a tremendous benefit at the end if I submit to the process. Healing can’t happen until we are willing to admit this very real part of us.
Let’s embrace the beauty of brokenness today by coming to God in an honest state instead of trying to maintain the facades we’ve built over time. Let’s say “no” to toxic shame that whispers lies to us and accept the freedom that is available to us in Christ.
I encourage you to find a safe space that you can be broken with another trusted human and see the beauty of brokenness for yourself this week!
How do you feel about brokenness?
Are there certain things you do to cover up shame?
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