Anger. I struggle with it. Almost everyone I know struggles with this feeling. I’m not the type who flies off the handle, but I sometimes feel like punching someone in the face. The struggle is not acting on it. Sound familiar?
I recently came into a dispute with a friend. Very hurtful things were said to me and I responded in equal measure. In the process of the exchange, something in my perspective became damaged. I had a hard time sorting through my feelings and figuring out what was going on in the situation. I couldn’t understand why such hurtful things were said to me, out of the blue. I wondered deeply if there was something I had done or said that was not being let on, that I could have addressed or fixed better. I carried the hurtful things said against my worth to heart, but was struggling with those words pitted against the experience of my family, in particular of my children, who saw in me much greater worth than what this friend was telling me I had. I couldn’t work it out. I couldn’t see what was Truth and what was someone else’s baggage.
My husband, whom I love dearly, was mostly useless, so I turned to two things I knew could help me see clearly again: prayer and counselling. I’d like to say that I’m balanced enough to have worked through it on my own, but even with prayer, I needed the help and guidance of someone with experience.
My vision became much clearer with subsequent sessions. It’s hard to look at my own faults, acknowledge them, admit that I’m not perfect, and continue on with life. Not being complacent in getting on with life, but growing in the hopes that in being aware of my own faults, I’ll be less likely to fall into their temptations again. This experience strengthened my reliance on God and helped me to realise (once again) that we are all broken people. The friend whom I had the dispute with? She’s broken too. We are all broken. Broken, broken, broken. God made me wonderfully. Wonderfully imperfect. It runs along breaking the first commandment to see myself in any other way or expect perfection in my (or others’) actions – this is why we celebrate Reconciliation. My friend is made wonderfully imperfect and though at times I do not want to acknowledge it, she is just as deserving of love as I am because she also is an adopted daughter of the Most High. We are broken creatures, striving for the complete unbroken of God’s love and perfection.
The thing is, God shines best in those who can recognise their own brokenness, in those who can say, “Crap, this is messed up and I’ve been a part of that messing. God, what can you help me to do? How can you make your glory shine through this?” When we break open before God we reach out for help to the One whom we can be assured is already waiting for us to ask. That’s exactly how the Spirit moves through us. That’s where God can do some of his best work.
I don’t like being angry. I don’t like being wrong. I do have to smarten up sometimes to better respect others. I can also rely that when I finally do recognise my brokenness, God will be there waiting for my hand to be held out, asking for help. And God will be there to lift me up.
Where in your life can God transform your brokenness this week?