Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Why Are We Afraid to be Broken?

Broken. Sometimes it almost feels like that should be a forbidden four letter word. 

Imagine with me that you're a 19 year old young woman. You're sitting in church and you can feel that your stomach is about to growl and break the silence. You think of something to say so that you can try to cover the sound it makes as it rumbles. Someone makes a joke and you start to laugh and get light headed. You can't remember when you ate last.

You're in a room full of people, and yet, you feel completely alone. The secrets you're hiding are suffocating and you feel like you're drowning. If you could just tell someone, maybe you could get some relief; maybe you could get some help.

But you can't tell anyone that you don't eat. You can't tell them that when you do, you race to the bathroom to get rid of it. You can't tell them about your frequent trips to the gym or how many times you step on a scale each day. 

One day you can tell them. You can tell them when you're better; when you have a story to tell about how God delivered you from this vicious cycle that consumes your life. But not now. What would they think of you?

So for now, you plaster on the smile. You sink into your oversized sweater that you hope covers your secrets and your pain. You push the pain and the hurt a little deeper because no one wants to see that; you'll tell them about it when there is a happy ending. And you pray that one day there is a happy ending so that you can let it all out. Then you sigh, wanting to believe that this isn't forever, but unable to imagine life any differently.

Church, why are we so afraid to be broken? We've got to do better. We are supposed to be a safe place, and yet, hurting people so often don't feel safe sharing their pain and their hurt. I dealt with this for so long. It's part of the reason I waited so long to finally get the help I needed. Praise God that He placed me with a group of believers who were a safe place. But that doesn't happen often enough. Too many people are afraid to show their brokenness and we've got to start working to change that.

So, how do we become a safe place? Start with being authentic. Stop trying to act like everything is always perfect. God tells us in Isaiah that when we walk through fire or deep waters He will be with us. Not if, but when. When you're open and honest, other people will feel more comfortable being open and honest as well. Realize that brokenness and vulnerability are not bad words. Scary? Sure. But they are not bad. In fact, it is often in our brokenness that the love of Christ shines through the most. And then, when someone does reveal a struggle, we have to be willing to sit with them in their hurt and their pain; to be vulnerable with them.

Friend, if you're hurting, if you're struggling, you can go to someone. You don't have to hide it. You don't have to stuff it down inside until you have a happy ending to tell.  

If you or someone you know are struggling with an Eating Disorder, contact the National Eating Disorder Association Hotline at 800-931-2237. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.
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