Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Escaping Yourself

Have you ever watched the movie “Never Been Kissed”? It’s like a girl’s worst High School nightmare come to life. If I see it’s on TV, I give the remote a rest and settle in.

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it, but I still cringe and say…”Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it.” She doesn’t listen. She does it.

If you’ve not seen it, it’s basically about a reporter who’s sent back to High School. Her assignment? Get in with the popular group and get the salacious goods on them. Simple, right?

No, not simple. Our heroine finds out all too quick she has her work cut out for her. She was not part of the popular clique in High School and her brother is quick to remind her of that fact when he learns about her writing assignment. He was even so loving as to remind her of the nickname they gave her. Josie grossy.

After a painful flashback her brother gives her a pep talk and she’s ready to seize the day! Or not.

After many awkward trials and embarrassing tribulations, her brother comes to her rescue and he goes back to school too. He has no problem getting into the popular group on his first day. He knows how to speak their language because once upon a time, he was popular too.

So what does her brother do when he’s “in”? He talks her up. He says a bunch of things to make her appear “cooler” than she is. He even goes so far to say, he dated her and that her family is well off.

I’m gonna stop there. To know what happens next, you’ll just have to watch the movie.

Let’s just call what her brother did what it is. A lie. In fact, he told multiple lies. It’s all very innocent isn’t it? After all, he just wanted to help his sister with her job assignment. What’s the harm in that?

Remember, on her own, she wasn’t “good enough” for the popular group. It was only when they believed she was something she wasn’t, she became acceptable in their eyes.

I can relate to that. I’ve tried pretending to be something I’m not in order to garner the approval of someone. I wonder if you can relate as well.

Imagine putting on someone else’s clothes that are too small. No matter how much you try to wriggle your body into them, they don’t fit. But let’s say you actually manage to squeeze yourself into them. It doesn’t take long to realize, this look is not for you and you can’t wait to get them off.

At what point does a lie become so uncomfortable you feel compelled to tell the truth? How long do you think a lie can “live” in you before it changes you? And by change, I don’t mean in a good way.

Typically when one lie is told, another is sure to follow. Eventually you have a string of lies to keep up with and before you know it, you’re in a constant state of worry over who knows what. It’s exhausting.

Lies have a way of catching up to you. Either someone figures it out or you become so frazzled, you have to tell the truth. Either way, be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Why is telling the truth so hard? Why is being who God made us to be, never enough? Why are we so afraid of the person in the mirror?

It’s the person in the mirror, you can’t escape. When you wake up, you’re there. When you leave the house, you’re there. When you go to sleep at night, you’re there. You are literally everywhere, you are.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape you. Let me ask a simple question. When does self-acceptance start? It doesn’t have to be complicated unless we make it so.

Let’s begin with answering what makes you feel most like you? Not what everyone else thinks you need to be, but what speaks joy into your soul?

When we try to be something we’re not, we do ourselves and others an injustice. We rob ourselves and the world of that “thing” that makes us who we are. We can even hurt others in the process of pretending we’re something we’re not. Including ourselves.

Sweet friend, self-acceptance isn’t a weakness. It’s a knowing who you are and not letting someone shame you for it. It’s a strength! I daresay if someone feels the need to shame you, they’ve yet to accept who they are. Why else would they feel the need to attack you? Think about that.

Everyday I see someone caught up in societal chains and social media makes those chains stronger. Living life behind a screen is a futile way of living. Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with the popular trends? Have you spent hours trying to copy someone else’s look? Dance? Talent?

Have you noticed the minute if you’re able to conquer the latest trend, it’s already passed and you have to begin the next one? Consider this. Maybe someone needs what YOU have to offer. But you’re so bogged down with trying to be someone else you forgot how awesome you are.

Our heroine from the movie inevitably couldn’t keep up the facade she’d taken on. Her “self” beckoned to make a stand. To be heard. To be seen.

It’s only when she stopped being who she thought she should be, that she became everything she needed to be. The approval of others faded into the background and she lived her life.

Is your “self” beckoning to be heard? To be seen? Maybe it’s time to listen. I know a thing or two about shunning myself and wanting to be someone, anyone, other than me. But at the end of the day no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t escape me.

I allowed others to disapprove of me and I wore their disapproval like my armor. No one told me it was ok to just be me. I needed to be skinnier, smarter, quieter, louder, dumber, and the list goes on.

It seems everyone had an opinion on what and who I needed to be or look like. So I became a version of other people’s input only to find out, by their measure, I still wasn’t enough.

Just like our heroine from the movie, I couldn’t keep up. Something had to give. So when I was at the end of “me,” I came face to face with my Creator, Jesus Christ. Maybe you’ve heard of Him.

If not, allow me introduce you to the One who loves you, just as you are. He accepts you, even when you reject yourself. A little secret…you can’t escape from Him either. How do I know?

It’s one of God’s promises. The LORD God goes with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Where you go, HE goes. Who else can make that kind of promise?

If you’re tired of all the noise, may I invite you to come sit with God? He knows what your tired soul needs. He wants to refresh you and restore what’s broken.

You don’t have to accept His invitation. He’s secure in who He is despite being rejected daily. He’s so secure in his identity, He’s stays the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He won’t change for you. He knows what He stands for. Do you?

In a world that begs us to believe in everything it tosses our way, aren’t you ready for something that doesn’t shift with every passing fancy?

I know I was and you know what? Jesus, was patiently waiting. My life combining with Jesus is the BEST decision I ever made. I can say with bold confidence:

Jesus! He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

Have an amazing day my friends! Shine Bright!

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Love Saved You

“Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here.” ~ Psalm 103:15-16 (NLT)

Have you ever walked through a cemetery? It’s a stark reminder that life here on earth is fleeting. Last October I found myself walking through a cemetery in Auburn, NY. I was visiting some dear friends and felt the need to stretch my legs a bit. 

This cemetery has some old headstones. So old, you could no longer read the etched engraving. 

It was during my walk I came upon this engraved stone.

I nodded my head in agreement as I thought about my brother who had recently passed. My earthly love wasn’t enough to save him. Wounds still fresh, I stood in front of this stone and read the inscribing a few times. Tears slid from my eyes.

I continued on my walk thinking about my brother. Like I so often do, I asked Jesus to give him a hug from me and I blew them both a kiss. It makes me feel better. 

After I walked a bit, I decided I wanted a picture of that quote so I headed back. I read the inscribing once again and then it hit me; my earthly love didn’t save my brother, but there was a love that did! 

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16 (emphasis added)

So you see, love did save my brother and he now has eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Hallelujah! That’s reason to celebrate! 

Death is not easy for those left behind. In my mind, there should be a natural order on how things play out. But, I’m not the one who numbered my brother’s days or knew my brother before he was formed in our mother’s womb. 

My brother’s death shook me to my core. Friends, our days are numbered. We only get this one life here on earth. I’ve spent far too much time worrying about trivial things. I don’t know about you, but I can get stuck pretty easily in negative thought patterns. Where does that lead me? What kind of “life” does that produce? 

At some point, you have to ask yourself, are you living like you’re “living?” or, are you living like you’re “dying?” 

My brother died in between 2 very special days. My son’s birthday is June 18th and my best friend’s birthday is June 22nd. God knows me so well, He made sure I wouldn’t get stuck in grieving mode. Both of these special days remind me that I’m still among the living and there’s still reason to celebrate.  

June 20th may be the day my brother’s earthly life ended, but it’s the day his heavenly life began. Thank you, Jesus!  

Happy Heavenly Birthday my brother. I see you sliding down those rainbows! 

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Check Yourself

When I was in the military we had an Air Force Instruction for everything. AFI 36-2903 instructed us on dress and personal appearance. When I first joined the military it was actually Air Force Regulation 35-10. I share that tidbit because change happens. Basically, this told us how we should look by conforming to the standard set by our military leaders.

It was a reminder that we should check ourselves and make sure we were right before we looked at another and attempted to correct the way they looked compared to the AF standard.

If you decided to address someone else for being in violation you better make sure they couldn’t come back at you and say you were also in violation. Because, well, awkward!

Pretty much any building you went into had a full-length mirror to allow you to check your look. Some of those mirrors were conveniently placed just inside the doors so as you walked out, you got that last glimpse.

This instruction was all about outward appearance. An AFI could govern the way you outwardly appeared but it couldn’t govern your heart. And let’s face it, outward appearances can mask what’s going on inside. 

I no longer have to adhere to AFI instructions, as I’m retired. However, one of the things that still sticks with me is to check myself before I check another. But these days, it’s more an inward check. Let’s face it, outward checks are easy to do. But an inward check? That takes time. That takes revelation. That takes soul searching.

Matthew 7:3-5 reminds us to check ourselves.

“Why do you look at the small piece of wood in your brother’s eye, and do not see the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take that small piece of wood out of your eye,’ when there is a big piece of wood in your own eye? You who pretend to be someone you are not, first take the big piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you can see better to take the small piece of wood out of your brother’s eye.” (NLV)

Bible Gateway

Bottom line, it’s not easy to do the hard stuff of inward work. But I promise it’s worth it. Getting to know you, how, and why you were created is an amazing investment of your time. Knowing your worth will change how you see yourself and those around you. 

Have an amazing day, friends! After all, it’s a do-over complete with God’s new mercies! 

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