Shattered remnants of broken relationships and unhealed remembrances make my heart lurch. My mind gets tangled up with thoughts of the things I’ve said and done as well as what’s been said and done to me. If I’m not intentional about capturing these thoughts, and renewing them as I know I should, I tend to get stuck. Internally, it’s more like a downward spiral of negativity. Outwardly, my body feels challenged to move forward in a positive way.
I wonder if it’s just me.
I wonder how many of us find it hard to see beyond the broken pieces of our lives. Can we connect to the brokenness of others? Do we know how to move in such a way that we find healing and wholeness in the context of community?
How someone acted towards me causes me to feel rejected and I want to reject them too. Offenses settle in and soon I find myself shrinking away from someone whom I’m supposed to grow alongside of in this season.
What if, our broken pieces become less painful when we let them rub against the grain of each other? Maybe, side by side we find our sharp edges worn and a little more bearable.
Thinking about the way in which another’s pain touches mine can be scary. I've had harmful experiences and I bet you have too.
Sometimes, I’ve pursued connection with others who weren’t safe. Perhaps their underlying hurts turned into ways of relating which restricts their ability to give and take. Without this, there is no way for our rough edges to smooth together. Instead, jagged edges remain fixedly razor sharp.
It’s easy to assume this will always be the case. It’s tempting to say, "This is just the way it is and the way it always will be.” Subtle, frequent whispers occur and we believe lies. We start living in a false frame of identity given by the enemy. The one which says, “This is just who I am and always will be.” Or, "This is just who they are and always will be."
None of these conclusions are true.
Broken relationships and broken people aren’t destined to a fate of pain. I must remember this every time I’m tempted to stop trying. If I don’t find a way to reject these thoughts, I’m ensnared once again. Then, I’m limited in my ability to find connection with others which my heart craves.
What can we do when our thoughts start taking us down? How do we find beauty when brokenness has left its mark?
What if, the pain of our wounds keeps us from seeing our wounded healer? How can we get beyond them?
Scripture reveals an answer which seems ironic at best. When I’m at my worst, it feels like the answer I want least. Even so, it’s the one which turns my heart around.
In the Psalms we see desperate pleas from a man considered to have a heart after God. This man, David, cried out honestly when feeling lonely and abandoned. Those he had relationship with sought his demise and David's pain flowed.
David’s example leads me to share my own open expressions before the One who made me. With the brokenness of my heart laid bare, I find a God who holds me safely there.
Not only does David pour it all out, but he turns to the stunning response of praise. He chooses to praise God for who He is, regardless of the pain he feels in his circumstances. Even when others turned against him, he directs his thoughts towards the beauty maker.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:11 ESV
When I’m likely to center my thoughts on the ways in which I feel disconnected from others, I lose sight of the one whose presence is always available. Praise reminds my heart I’m connected to the very God who made me and loves me fully.
Thoughts turned towards praise help us find the one who mends and restores. He soothes our rough edges making room for connection once again.
Relationships are complex. There are no simple answers. I'm believing praise is a powerful step and one I want to take. Could you, would you, too? Wonder with me at what God might do!
Praising the one broken for our burdens helps us find a way to be broken together.
What if we stood broken together in our communities?
Have you been on the giving or receiving end of this?
How did work in and through you?