Have you ever felt like the most broken person in the room? In a sea of entangled backstories and personalities, somehow, someway, you are the one with all the pieces falling apart. A few months ago, I sat among hundreds of other people in church. My mind was on overload, my heart was burdened, my thoughts were imploding, and my eyes were sad. It had been the kind of week that could tear down even the greatest of heroines. And there I sat, a mere mortal, no superpowers, just me. I looked around the crowd, soaking in my surroundings.
All I could think of was the revelation that I was most likely more of a broken person that day than any other attendee. See, that was my truth. It may not have been THE truth, but it was mine. I was having so much trouble gathering myself, not allowing fear and anxiety to steamroll me. I felt a million miles away from God. I felt a million miles away from sanity. I felt a million miles away from my husband who was sitting right beside me.
The mind is a peculiar thing. It can produce a fountain of creativity flowing in abundance and then turn a corner and catapult you into an abyss of self-doubt and self-pity.
I have been privy to both the fountain and the abyss. One clearly is preferable to the other. So, as I sat among the congregation of holy, wonderful, perfect people, I was consumed with my own brokenness. That is how I envisioned my circumstances. It’s an ugly truth and yet as I write it, I know that I’d rather write with painful honesty than succumb to flowery words that painted a picture of a shiny, false version of myself. That day, in church, I felt emotionally spent, spiritually dry, and tired. So very tired.
I decided somewhat recently that if I wait to write about life once it settles down, becomes calm, evolves into an episode of my favorite sitcom, and is filled with ladybugs, butterflies, and background music, I will never write from the heart. I must write through my struggles. Do I want to write through my joys as well? Let’s think about that. Definitely, yes! I am, however, figuring out that shedding light on something is the only way to remove the dark spots. With transparency, comes freedom. And freedom can lead to many amazing things. Freedom does not cast a shadow, rather it captures the sun.
In my despair, it occurred to me that no one wakes up one morning and suddenly realizes that they are in quicksand. It is a slow descent. You do, however, get to the point where you realize it is harder now more than ever to move your limbs because of where you’ve fallen. Thus, that day in church, as I stared at others in all my broken tendencies, I was looking through eyes that were slowing being filled with sand. It was a clarifying moment for me. I was so caught up in my emotion, my struggles, my hurts, my worries that I was struggling to move. And so, I tried to embrace that I was (am) a big, hot mess and that I needed to do something, anything to get the ball rolling toward more dexterity.
I was sinking in the sand that had been placed in my pathway by an enemy that has but one goal – derail my joy, my purpose, and my life from greater callings. And so, there in my broken, sandy state, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I listened to the song that our worship team was playing. It was a song entitled “Sons and Daughters of God.” There is so much of this song that ministered to me.
One particular line of the song penetrated my heart:
“when the lies speak louder than the truth…”
That was it. The real truth was that I have many, many things to be thankful for amidst my trials and tribulations. I have giftings. I have great value. I have joy buried beneath the sand. Figuring out how to release its elation is quite a project unto itself. Accepting defeat, being overrun by anxiety, feeling wounded by the human nature of imperfect people, and the allowance of insecurity to cloud my thoughts were all connected to lies. They were lies designated to swallow me, fade my life’s canvas, and misguide me in every way possible.
I now find myself in the process of climbing out of the sand…to regain and release my joy. It’s a long journey, but not an impossible one. One meaningful worship song isn’t life changing, but the vertical dialogue that it prompted between a very broken me and a very loving God was both meaningful and full of impact. There is much to be said for determination. Looking back, I was determined enough to get out of bed and go to church, despite how I felt. Small victory. Victory nonetheless. A little goes a long way. And, though many areas felt broken that day, and many still feel broken today, there is a purpose for all my fragments.
The more broken pieces, the more reflection possible…that’s what I am aiming to embrace.
I have many reasons to smile, and blessing upon blessing to talk about to any and all who will listen. And so, I’ll persist in the pursuit of knowing I am stronger and more capable than I give myself credit for and even on days where I feel the most broken in a crowd, I’ll take that deep breath once again and allow God’s truth over my life to speak louder than any lie.