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Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 1

Redemption and freedom are the theme of my blog and the daily theme of my life. Not that I have fully achieved, but each day I must choose to walk in the redemption and freedom that I have been given.

It is easy to let a negative mind, a bad choice, a busy life, an ungrateful heart, or in apt comparisons rob me from walking in the truth of who God says I am.

Do you know what I'm talking about?

It's the thief who comes to keep us striving and wanting affirmation.  The one who taunts us to juggle too many roles or laughs when we stay stuck in the shadows of dreams unmet. It's the weight of guilt, shame and fear that keep us paralyzed.  It's the not enough of this and too much of that which keep us in a constant tug of war.

Whatever the method used to keep us from walking in the truth, eventually we begin to crack. Then the cracks in us give way to insecurities and accusing voices which swarm our thoughts and overrun our life. It is as if there is a battle being fought in the heart and mind, and the aftermath leaves us fragmented.

If we let these fragmented pieces stand alone, they will continue to fight to achieve their own definition of peace and fulfillment, and the battle will only get more fierce.

But God has a better way. A way of freedom and confidence. A path to make our broken incomplete lives whole.

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.Leviticus 26:13NLT

Will we give God our fragments in exchange for His fullness?  Will we walk with our heads held high knowing that He has broken our bondage and cleared every accusation against us?

So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.  Colossians 2:10NLT

It will be a daily choice of surrender; a choosing to dismiss the lies and distractions which hinder us from the fullness of knowing who we are in Christ. Some days we will win and others we won't, but even then the truth remains: in Christ you and I are complete. We just have to determine if we will live like it or not . . .

Read more in this series - 
Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 2
Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 3
Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 4
Fragmented at Heart: Broken People Made Whole - Part 5

Locked Outside with a Hacksaw in Hand

WARNING: Some may find the following to be of utter ridiculousness. If that's you, I understand. There is a part of me which agrees with you, but for now there is a bigger part of me who still gets tripped up with the small things. Enjoy the laugh!  

Standing outside of a locked door hacksaw in hand and on the verge of tears because of hunger made me face the reality that community makes life better.

It's a truth that I know, but for some reason fight. 

I am a task oriented accomplishment driven person who often gets overwhelmed by the projects of my life because I look only to what my hands and abilities can do. This was the same when I returned home from a walk to find my husband gone to work and all the doors locked. 

Not a problem, I thought to myself, I'll just remove a screen from the window and hope the window lock is up. That wasn't so easy. I found that the screens only pop out from the inside.

Next option, there is always just removing the screen from it's frame. With that accomplished and only minor damage, the window was accessible. The only problem, it was locked and wouldn't budge. 

My reasonable side was stating the obvious: You know it's Saturday morning and there are tons of neighbors home who all have phones. 

My "grit" a.k.a. ridiculous stubbornness which doesn't want to ask anyone for help much less face the humiliation of being locked outside kicked in and thought up a few more entry tactics.

One of those tactics was of course prayer. You know, your normal "God please give the dog supernatural senses that he may be able to jump to heights three times his size and unlock the door," prayer. 

For some reason, unknown to me, that didn't work. Instead there was that pesky little voice of reason that once again noted the fact that my neighbors were all home and a phone call to my husband was much more likely to help that expecting my dog to gain supernatural powers.

Still I would have none of that reasoning. There had to be a way to get in the house that didn't involve anyone else.  Pry bars, screwdrivers, and yes even in a last effort attempt a hacksaw didn't work. I had to try one final prayer. Who am I kidding? It was more like a kid begging for toys in the middle of Walmart. 

In that less than holy moment what I received was what I had already know. I was not getting into my house without help. Reluctantly I dropped the hacksaw and headed over to wake the neighbors.  

The way I felt: imposing, shameful, and embarrassed.  The way I was received: welcoming, grace filled, and understanding. 

As you may have guessed, I did get in my home thanks to my gracious neighbors, husband and parents. As great as it was to be inside and finally get breakfast, it was even better to know that I do have community. 

There are people willing to help if only I'm willing to ask. Community really does make life better. 

Do you struggle asking for help? If so put the hacksaw down, and let me hear from you. 

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT

It's advice that's easy to say and hard to do.

Change your perspective.

Those are three little words that roll off my tongue rather often, and more times than not they are directed to the youngest people in my home.  Then I follow it by saying “Remember, your perspective determines your reality.” (Podcasts cliche')

Yeah, I know. That’s “Mother of the Year” caliber right there. A few words, a little look, and bing-bang-boom the universe is put back in order. Except …. NOT!

Not long after reminding my little dears of their good fortune, lack of gratitude, and going over the script about orphaned and hungry kids around the world does my own need for a perspective shift come center stage.

Oh you know, it’s the important stuff that I get all worked up about. Things like an unmade bed or laundry being left in the washer. If it’s a really bad day, I get to complain about being interrupted 10,000 times before I can even sit down for my noon breakfast or a child who just doesn’t understand his or her school work for the day. If it’s a terrible horrible no good very day, there may be an unexpected bill that will still get paid, rush hour traffic when I just want to get the kids to soccer, a conflicted friendship, a late working husband, and PB& J for dinner.

Then in the moment when my anger wants to rise and the world seems all too unfair do I hear the gentle whisper of a loving father, “Change your perspective my child.”

Oh yeah, that little piece of advice. Right!

As true as it is that our focus more often than not becomes our reality. It is equally as true that changing perspective to see the positive is easy to say and hard to do, especially when it is our day that was negatively affected. Yet with practice it is possible. Not perfect, but possible.

There is scripture that has helped me know HOW to change my perspective and WHAT to see instead.  It’s like editing software for life. It allows me to re-frame the day and focus in on the good.

If needed, maybe you can glean something from it as well:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Changing my perspective doesn’t change the events of my day, but it does change how I choose to view them. And that makes a BIG difference. 

Do You Just Want To Be Enough? Then Read This.

For some time my strongest desire has been to "be enough".  Liked enough, loved enough, pretty enough, smart enough, wise enough, the most enough of enough and so on ... 

The more I have talked with people, the more I have realized that it is common. It's an unrest that lay deep in the soul and then acts out in the flesh.  It's a striving that only leads to emptiness.  The marker which identities "enough" is illusive, an ever changing finish line held captive by whomever or whatever we deem better than who we are or what we have. About the time it is in sight, its position changes sending its racer on yet another chase only to fall short once again. Pure exhaustion is what becomes of this madness, and it's an exhaustion I've known all too well. 

Caught up in the cycle of madness just described, I decided it was time for a power move. I knew just the one. I would march right to God and have a pity party in my honor, and that's just what I did. I expected to be soothed, understood, and in all honesty, even vindicated. Instead as I poured my heart out stating how hard I had been trying to "be enough" and how rejected and exhausted I was, I received the most awful understanding I could have ever imagined. It was so clear. I realized that I indeed was NOT ENOUGH. If I were enough, I wouldn't need a Savior, and I surely wouldn't be so broken and weary. Although this should've shattered my world, it didn't.  The peace and refreshing that came in that moment was tremendous. It meant that I could lay down all the striving and stop chasing the illusive finish line. This was actually wonderful news, but it wasn't long before my mind started wandering. 

     The thoughts that followed went something like this -

          WAIT! If I am not enough, then how will I ever be accepted? Acceptance is what this is really about. This is horrible!  Let's get back to the pity party because I'm doomed. 

     And then God answered - 

          You were never called to "BE ENOUGH". You were called to "BE LOVED". So practice being loved and you'll find that it fills every desire you were trying to accomplish in your striving and allows you to love others.  You find acceptance and power and can then be filled with everything that I have for you. 
Perhaps you are like me and need to lay down the desire of being enough and just practice the art of being loved.  Here is my prayer for you: 

          May you have power together with all the Lord’s holy people to understand Christ’s love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. And may you know his love, even though it can’t be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you.
                                                                                                                        Ephesians 3:18-19NIRV