Embracing My Own Brokenness
So far, my One Word for 2017 has been… Hmmm…. How shall I put this? Um… “not as awesome as I had hoped it would be”? Uh… “Hard”? Or… “Not as natural and easy as I expected it to be”?
You see, when the Lord whispered “Embrace” to me at the turn of the New Year, I felt a little thrill. “Awesome,” I thought. In my mind I think I thought “Embrace” was code for “Be present in your life.” I think I thought that all God was calling me to do was to be mindful of my moments and to really stop and notice what was going on in and around me.
And the truth is, I’m already pretty good at taking deep breaths and rooting myself in my present moments. I don’t watch TV, I’m not addicted to social media, I love to read, and the artist in me makes me naturally disposed to just settling down and being a “noticer” in the world. And, as much as this part of my wiring sometimes drives me batty, I actually typically enjoy being so observant and present in my life. Most of the time I relish just sitting back and reflecting on my life and my moments. It is supremely fulfilling to me to live a particular moment and then find a quiet place to just sit and ponder, reflect on, or write about it. Something about the process of taking notice of all the details that make up a particular moment (whether good or hard) brings a deep breath of refreshment to me.
So when I received “Embrace” as my marching orders?
“No problem,” I figured. “I’ve got this.”
And being present in my moments IS certainly a part of what God is calling me to this year.
But… it’s more than that, too.
Because He also very clearly told me (back in January) to “Embrace who I’ve made you.”
And this has, to my surprise, been much harder than I thought it would be.
You see, I already went through a huge season of self-discovery and growth about five years ago that really rocked my world and, though extremely challenging at the time, it ultimately helped me find a sense of peace and satisfaction with who I am and how God has gifted and wired me. And, to tell you the truth, I thought I had gotten to a pretty good and healthy spot with it all. For the past few years I have become quite comfortable in my own skin, quite at peace with who God has made me to be and what that looks like in this world. It has been a hard but amazing journey.
Now God is beckoning me to, once again, take some time to really dive in and learn more about who I am, how He has gifted and wired me, and (the hardest part) accept and get comfy with it all.
Over the past couple months, He and I seem to be going to new layers in this whole self-discovery process. He is summoning me to give Him access to even deeper places in my self— places that I thought were settled and had been thoroughly healed up but now I see that there is more work to do. Actually, much more work.
So this whole theme of “Embrace” has been much more challenging than I had anticipated.
Because, so far, “embracing myself” has meant me learning to embrace my own brokenness. It has meant embracing grace for my sin and blunders. Embracing God’s acceptance of and love for me despite myself, despite my obvious inadequacies, despite my weakness and sinfulness, and despite what a hot mess I am.
“My power is made perfect in weakness,” God says. Well… good then. Because I’m giving Him plenty of opportunities to show His power and greatness lately.
The truth is this: it is hard to look in the mirror and see all my own flaws. It’s hard to see how much healing and growth and strength I still need. I wish I was better than I am. I wish I was more complete and more sturdy and more capable than I am. I wish I was more whole and more healthy and more inspiring than I am.
It’s hard to see all that, to know all that, and then to be asked to EMBRACE all that.
I don’t want to embrace it. I want to change it.
Ugh. So hard.
In light of all this, I can’t help but remember what the apostle Paul wrote almost two thousand years ago. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, he said this:
“I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
If what Paul said is true… if somehow it is in all this hardship that God can shine brighter and I will somehow be mysteriously made stronger… then I suppose I’ll keep trying to embrace it all. Despite how humbling it is, despite how much courage and vulnerability it takes, despite how crappy it feels to be, as Paul wrote, “weak” and “insulted” and facing “difficulties”… I will try to embrace God in it all. And I will try to harness who God made me to be in it all. With this in mind, I will keep trying to view myself, even the parts about myself that drive me crazy, in a positive light.
I’m not there yet, Paul. I’m not ready to “delight” in all my garbage and all my challenges. I am most certainly still in process with all this. But I’ll keep trying.
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What about you?
Do you ever struggle to make peace with the fact that you are who you are— strengths, weaknesses, failures, faults and all? How do you get through those times when you feel insecure or inadequate or simply frustrated or disappointed with yourself?
Please share your journey in the comment section below.