Day 16: Bitter or Better // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness
Hi there! This is day 16 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.
Some people are potatoes. Ever meet someone who just has a different way about them? They are wise and unhurried, speak with a humble but confident voice, and have a noticeable undercurrent of joy. There are people in this life who shine immediately when you meet them and you instantly know you are in the presence of someone who has suffered considerably. Talk to them, and it seems like they know secrets about life that you don’t. Wise people are not born, they become this way through struggle and heartache and wrestling with God. There is a certain beauty and strength that is hard-won only from pain.
Some people are eggs. On the opposite side of the coin from what I described above, you have likely met someone who has struggled with difficult circumstances and instead become bitter. These people seem to bring a dark cloud with them wherever they go. Everything is negative. Not good enough. Would have been better if ______. One mishap sends them spiraling into a rant about how nothing ever goes right for them. They may genuinely not want to be this way, or not even realize they are doing it, but they always seem to be unsatisfied and unhappy about everything, no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
The same boiling water that hardens the egg softens the potato. In the same way, going through hard things can either lead to hardness and bitterness, or make us more compassionate, tender, and wise. I’m pleading with you (and with myself), let’s be potatoes, for the sake of ourselves and for the people around us. Jesus is writing a new story for us where our brokenness is being put to death. Allowing it to make us resentful over what we have had to walk through means we miss our new life, yes, but we also forfeit the gifts inside the pain.
I believe God never causes us pain just to teach us something, but He does repurpose what the enemy has meant for evil for our good. The Holy Spirit is so good at hiding bits of grace in the disaster for us to find. I am working on intentionally listening for these little graces and allowing them to change me more than the loudness of the pain. It’s possible for our hurts and heartbreaks to make us more tender toward hurting folks, not less. It’s absolutely possible to intentionally choose an attitude of gratefulness for what we do have in the middle of a whole lot of being reminded of what we don’t. It is not easy, but it is simple.
Something that helps me is to intentionally remind myself that God has started something good in me, and won’t give up on me. He will be faithful to heal and complete His good work in me. He promises this in Scripture more than once. If His promises are true, I can lift my eyes in the middle of the slog and remember that brokenness might be part of my past, but it definitively is not my future. He is making all things new. Even me. Even you.
When you discover bitterness in your heart, may you not surrender to it but confess it, and ask God to tenderly burn it away. Ask Him to refresh you on your journey, to whisper little graces to you, to show you the gifts hidden in the grief. Ask Him to change your attitude and melt your heart. Jesus, make a me a potato. (I never thought I would type that, but it turns out that’s what my heart needs today. Never a dull moment with Jesus.) May you breathe in all the negativity and heartache and love it all out as grace and peace. Jesus has got you.