embracing brokenness

I like to do everything “right.” I like to have it together – no matter what I might be doing. I like to think I can figure out or do just about anything. I want everyone to be happy.

You can see where this is leading, can’t you?

I’m not sure why it is so hard for me to see it…

I struggle with being imperfect, messing up, arriving late, and hurting others. I’m frustrated when I know I’m not good at something. And I’m miserable when I feel that I’ve let others down.

That’s not a good way to live – because those things happen all the time.

I am a broken, imperfect person.

We all are.

Imperfection is not such a bad thing – or so they say. Imperfection simply means that we are like everyone else. We need each other. And we need Jesus.

It also means that I need to learn to say that I am sorry (I’m still working on that), that I don’t know, or that something will have to wait. It means I need to give grace to myself, accept that I’m not great at everything, and ask for help from others.

Sometimes, there are things I can work on and improve. Other times, I need to admit the weak areas and ensure others help fill in my gaps.

And when I learn to do those things, I can give more grace and acceptance to others when their imperfections and brokenness inevitably affect me.

Right now, I feel a bit frustrated that I continue to be frustrated with this issue. This is not a new discovery for me. I have been in this battle against perfectionism for a long time. It just happened to noticeably raise its ugly head again recently.

That is part of the battle – that crazy-maker, relentless longing that holds on to that tiniest impossible delusion that I can actually beat this thing and get “better.”

And so, here I am – sharing my brokenness with you – hoping you might join me in this journey, acknowledge and embrace your brokenness – and give yourself grace. Maybe you will even accept my brokenness if it happens to bump up against yours occasionally.

May we give lots of grace to ourselves and each other.

How do you typically deal with your brokenness?

Image – Kintsugi pottery – A broken piece made more beautiful and valuable by filling the cracks with gold. (Credit: riho-kitagawa-JuDPjcutors-unsplash)

life is a story

maskEvery life is a story… Comedy. Drama. Action. Horror. Newscast.

My favorite part of our meetings this year is when each person took a few minutes to tell (a very brief version of) their life journey. Many made us laugh. Others made us cry. Some left us with our mouths open in disbelief. Each story was unique.

Some used pictures. Others told stories. Some communicated with confidence and creative presentations. Others simply read from their notes. Some were so nervous that their voice cracked and their knees literally trembled as they spoke… but they did it, and it was powerful.

I could relate to some of the stories; others were very, very different from my reality. Either way, I felt more connected to each one as I came to know them just a little bit better. Through our vulnerability, we were building community.

Pain permeated many of the stories; loneliness, illness, rejection, death. Some told of shame or fear, lost dreams or broken hearts. For a few the pain was fresh and raw; a story being told for the first time. For others, the sting is gone now, and they are living a new life. I often heard a thread of grace, redemption, and hope.

Although I have always been a “people person” and have enjoyed meeting many different types of people, I feel like this year I have come to appreciate each person’s unique story more than ever. I have especially treasured those people who are open and real with me, allowing me to see their brokenness and their imperfections… and those who have invited me to share their new adventures and their joys.

It is sometimes more comfortable and natural for us to compare, or hide, and isolate ourselves from others, but I recognize each life is valuable and lived to be told. In a safe place, with a commitment to growth, our lives are a priceless gift when shared with others. As our lives intersect, they are like the threads in a beautiful tapestry… not to be hidden, but to bring warmth and beauty and richness to our world.

Do you share your (real) life with others? Are you a safe place for others to share their story?