Day 1: Your Mess is Not You // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness
Hi there! This is day 1 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. As the month unfolds, you can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.
We did it…we made it to October, and FALL! My all-time favorite season. And with October comes the beginning of something I am so excited and just a little bit anxious to share with you, because it is so tender and honest: the 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness series I have been working on. As much as part of me wants to hold it close in fear, I am letting it off leash to hopefully breathe life and healing into you, too, friend. I so hope it does. Today is Day 1, and I can’t wait to share with you what the Lord has been whispering to my heart. Welcome.
If you are here, I assume that you have been face to face with heartache at some point. Maybe you are going through it now. Maybe it was 10 years ago. Maybe the wounds are fresh and raw, maybe they are old and buried. Wherever your pain has come from, however many miles you’ve carried it like stones in all your pockets and weights tied to all your limbs, whatever junk you see all around you, I want you to know:
Your mess is not you.
Sometimes when we encounter brokenness – in others, in ourselves, in our lives – we respond in ways that are not very pretty. In mourning for the death of a loved one we held so tight, we snap at our partner who “just doesn’t get it.” Steeped in latent anger from a less than great childhood, we stonewall anyone who disagrees with us to preserve our own fragile self-worth. Dealing with a bully at school or work, we are surprised at just how mean we can be when provoked. After what feels like a lifetime of stress, one little thing goes wrong with the car and BOOM, we lose it completely. Does any of this sound familiar?
We justify our acting out – our mess. Of COURSE I yelled at my boyfriend – I’m hurting! He should give me more grace. (Whether he should or shouldn’t, is yelling at him really ever the right thing to do?)
But it makes SENSE to cut people out of my life who disagree with my choices and ideas! I don’t need that kind of negative energy around me! (Sometimes, but if we hit the delete button on everyone who challenges us in any way, how will we grow?)
But SHE was rude to me first. I was only giving it back. (If she was, shouldn’t I have chosen mercy over revenge, even when it’s hard?)
But everything in my life always goes wrong! When do I get a break?! (Come on…everything? Really? Do I have food in my fridge and a warm place to sleep tonight? Things might be going sideways right now, but do I really believe nothing good ever happens to me? Is that even remotely true?)
Are you with me? We justify our mess because we are hurting, and we can’t deal with the pain of messing up on top of the pain we are already in. The only way to do it differently is to grow. Hurt people hurt people, right? We have to be the ones to break the cycle. The way out is to stop justifying our mess just because we are hurting. There is deep, hard-won freedom in being honest with ourselves about the amount of hurt we are in, AND about our response to that hurt. If we find we have been recycling our hurt into more hurt and heaping it upon others, that is something we need to work on. Give yourself grace, it’s a process! It’s also super important that we do not swing to the other harmful extreme, which is beating ourselves up about being so terrible. We all mess up. There isn’t a single person who ever walked this earth who didn’t except Jesus.
We will talk more about that cycle later, but for today, hear me when I say that if your response to your pain has you in the middle of a big MESS right now…
You are not your mess. Your mess does not define you.
This is not who you are.
Do you know who you are? I’ll tell you.