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If you’re broken, get to brokenness

We’re all broken, some of us are just more committed to not admitting the fact. We hide in the language of victimization and responsibility-ducking. We look for others to blame or reasons that justify our behavior.   It can be exasperating to deal with a close friend or someone in your …
By Seth Barnes
man in jail 2We’re all broken, some of us are just more committed to not admitting the fact. We hide in the language of victimization and responsibility-ducking. We look for others to blame or reasons that justify our behavior.
 
It can be exasperating to deal with a close friend or someone in your family who prefers to duck and dodge as opposed to trading in reality.
 
Stop for a second and think of a person for whom this is true.
 
Got that person in mind? Think about the effort you may have expended in getting them to look at the reality of their broken behavior. Confrontation is uncomfortable for most people – if you brought it to their attention, it cost you energy and maybe stress. And how did the person you confronted respond? Did they divert attention by pointing out someone else’s behavior? Did you get embroiled in a complicated conversation that took you far from the issue you were trying to address with them?
 
If so, welcome to the club. Admitting the reality of being broken is costly – most people won’t go there without a fight. To do otherwise can require either committing to fix the issue or being exposed as deficient when it’s all they can do to just make it through the day.
 
All of us, when we get to the place in our lives where we see how broken we are, have a choice to make. We can avoid the pain of dealing with it by deflecting attention from it. Or we can admit it.
 
If we admit that we are broken and embrace that reality, then we have arrived at the unpleasant and lonely place of brokenness. The good news about brokenness is that you no longer have to expend all the energy to keep up appearances – you can now take that energy and apply it to getting to a place of wholeness. People who work with addicts call this “hitting bottom.” Until a person hits bottom and says, “Yes, the reality is, I’m broken. I’ve wanted a drink worse that I’ve wanted to stop lying to people,” they can’t begin to heal.
 
The bad news about getting to brokenness is that you are likely to experience a profound sense
of disorientation. What used to come naturally no longer works. You’re unsure of yourself. And as
you look at the parts of your life that feel hopelessly broken, you can come to the
conclusion, “I’m a mess. I’m useless to anybody. I should just give
up.”

The truth is, you were always a mess, always broken, just like the rest of us. Getting
to brokenness involves coming to a greater awareness of what others can
plainly see. God allows you to go blithely through life, ignorant of the
things that sabotage your relationships and work. But he’ll allow the
evidence of your brokenness to accumulate until it reaches the tipping
point and you can acknowledge that not only is what you’re doing not
working for you, but that you need to make a change.
 
So, here’s a message from all of us who have committed to dropping the defensive posture that looks at others before we look at ourselves, to the rest of you who are working hard at guarding your brokenness:
 
Isn’t it time to stop the masquerade? You exhaust us. Even saying this to you now feels exhausting. We only want to see you whole and happy. All the deflection, the passive-aggressive conversations, the endless expenditure of energy to avoid admitting what all of us plainly see is simply not worth it. What you’re protecting is not worth the effort – yours and ours. If you could see the way it has hurt the very people you love and pushed them away from you, you wouldn’t be as committed to hiding as you are. Today would be a good day to let your healing begin. We promise that we’ll show you the grace that you need to find your way back to daylight. We’ll love you and encourage you the best way we know how. We’ve been there ourselves and know well the grace we needed.

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