I hide behind what I perceive others want me to be. I feel like I am standing behind this impenetrable glass screen that keeps me safe. Here I am able to hide the brokenness in me. Here I am able to hold onto the illusion of wholeness. I often look at all my scars and wonder at the purpose of such painful experiences that created these imperfections. Is it just the work of a God to break us down so we are of use? I don't think that entirely as God actually prefers to work with broken people. Why? What value is there in brokenness? The messiness that makes our lives individual and painful with thorns, poisonness words and hateful actions... and then there are the actions of those around us.
These have been my thoughts, swirling around my head, questioning the creator God of his intentions with this mess. I know he keeps calling me to risk coming out from behind that screen a little bit more each day. To take a step of faith within the confines of safe relationships. But it is my brokenness that holds me back. Fear connected to my past that keeps me hidden behind my protective shield.
God shares with me what brokenness allows us to do when we step out and open ourselves up, warts and all. I see the fractures in our hearts allowing for connection between each of us, the humble spirit willing to share the pain, the empathy built through experience drawing us to each other. It is by sharing our brokenness that we are able to see others beyond their brokenness, to their heart. And they to ours. It is dangerous and the price can be costly, but what of the price of staying behind the protective screen?
Here in this place of isolation, there is no change, no connection, no movement. We sit and view the world from a place of hurt and fear, seeing all that we are missing out on and blaming everyone around us for their part in our pain. They didn't try hard enough or we are so flawed connection is impossible. Yet, it is the shields we unknowingly keep in place that inhibit connection. They prevent us from seeing the world as it is, causing us to see the world tainted with negative intentions. In some it leads to an attitude of entitlement, that others should fulfill our needs without extending that same level of interaction to those around us.
In a world where everyone has experienced pain, and everyone has their own level of brokenness, imagine what happens when we are all out to fill out broken hearts. It can be seen in a negative spirit focused in on others brokenness as targets for power over them rather than an area for connection. Others areas of strength seen as a threat to our illusions due to them illuminating our weakness. Trying to fill up the fractures in our sense of self with various other unhealthy, and equally as damaging practices.
It is the illusion we hold so tightly to. The illusion we use to protect ourself, losing ourself along the way, that becomes our master dictating the expected outcome. Yet, it is deceptive in its ability to proctect. We risk not being able to maintain it, people seeing through to our pain. To our heartache. To our weakness. To our shame. What we don't realise is the protective shield is glass and a lot of the time our weaknesses show through.
How do we respond when our shame is exposed? When we can no longer hold onto our constructed image, the pieces falling away and our scars opened for all to see? For me it is so hard to not react instinctively to protect myself, though it depends on the circumstances. I hold so much brokenness inside, it feels like it seeps through the cracks and everyone can see, no matter how hard I try to hold it all in. Yet, even though I feel it is so obvious I hold even tighter to the illusion of being what others want. Of hiding the whole hearted sadness. Of denying my shame and never acknowledging my grief. It feels better that we all should maintain our illusions of wholeness. It is easier. It is far less painful... or so it seems.
As I journey along my healing journey I am discovering how much of myself I don't know. I am discovering how much it hurts to be totally heart sick with grief and struggle to put on the illusion people are use to seeing. People don't react well to that. Pain that is too hard to mask makes others feel really uncomfortable, as it resonates with the pain they are trying to pretend doesn't exist. We are all playing our part in maintaining the illusion and when our pain becomes too big to lock away, we upset the apple cart, we stray from our roles. For each person who pulls that illusion down and shares their brokenness and connects with another and their brokenness we are actually rewriting the roles. We are allowing people to be real in a world full of pretend.
I love how God explains things to me in pictures and this illustration is such a brilliant way of seeing things. We are each a cog in a machine. We have our place, our role and our area of influence. When we hold onto our illusions we are actually surpressing the teeth in the cog that is suppose to interconnect with other cogs. Each of our teeth is the brokenness that makes us entirely unique. It is our pain and suffering, our heart break, rejection and shame. All these experiences have shaped us to fit perfectly into this specific area of influence God had prepared for us. He is not the author of our pain but he will always make something beautiful out of our mess. When the cog's teeth fit together with the one next to them, the weakness or low point fits together with anothers high point. And vice versa. Our strength helping along the weak. It is the way God made us. To use all of our experiences, the positive and negative, to glorify him.
I am still learning to trust in the process of learning about the illusions I have been holding onto all these years. It is a hard process and incredibly painful, yet I have to hold onto faith that God will in fact use these low points to join me with others high points and together turn the tide within our area of influence. In truth, when I think of what God can do if we just trust him completely, I get excited. I can't wait to see how he uses this mess I am right now.