I’ve never considered myself a broken person, that is, until Women’s Weekend this last semester. Throughout the course of that weekend, God revealed to me a truth about myself that stuck out like a moon in a dark, starless sky of the lies I’d allowed Satan to push onto me over the years. He told me straight up:
“kiddo, you’re broken, and you’ve gotta be okay with that.”
He was trying to draw me closer to Him, I think. So, I asked Him to show me how, because I honestly could not see it. The cool thing about God is that when you ask Him to do things in your heart, He will do more than just some things.
Over the course of a couple of months, He drew my thoughts to a dim cluster of memories that I thought I had forgotten. And maybe I had forgotten them. He brought me back to a time when I had lost my childhood best friend. He forced me to remember the words that she had spoken to me. He made me re-feel the sting of the words of the people in my life who had proven to me that I could not be loved.
During my first Women’s Weekend at H2O Kent, we learned about the tragedy of believing lies about ourselves that come directly from the Father of Lies— Satan. I’d never thought about it before then, but I realized that the real truth is that
sometimes, most times, I believe a lie that I’m unlovable, and that lie creates in me a prideful child.
I could spend time writing to you about how a multitude of people, myself included, have proven this lie to be the truth, but that’s just it. It’s a lie. It’s not the truth, and it’s definitely not capital T, Truth, the Gospel Truth. If you’re in the midst of believing that lie, or a similar lie, Sister, Brother, whoever is reading this, it is my distinct pleasure and honor to call you UP and out of that. You are so lovable. You are worth every ounce of fight, every kick, every scream, every trial and hardship— and that’s not me, a silly little human saying that. No. It’s God. He says it about you and me.
We’re gonna come back to this.
Honestly, I wrestle so much with the idea of me being a broken person. I’ve lived a lot of my life so far trying to build this image of a perfect girl who loved God, who went to church, who did everything right, who never made a mistake.
There was just one small problem with that: I was trapped— tied tight, arms squeezed to red in the heavy, metal, thick, chains of legalism. I was afraid of failure, and I still am in a lot of ways, to be honest with you. I was afraid of everything; terrified of messing up and someone seeing where I’d fallen short. I wouldn’t cut my hair because I was petrified that I was sinning and by cutting my hair I’d be offending my Creator and He would be so ashamed of me that I’d lose Him like I’d lost everyone else. In that bondage, it felt like it was somehow possible that if I cut my hair, or got a tattoo, or wore pants that I somehow slipped into the one category of Sin that Jesus blood didn’t cover, that there was grace and forgiveness for everything except what I did.
Oh, h*ck was I wrong. The Bible never once, in all of those books and pages, said that there’s something Jesus didn’t die for— no, it says His blood covered it ALL.
I wouldn’t tell anyone about my secret addictions and failures. No one was allowed to see me fail. I couldn’t shatter the reputation I’d built as this “perfect” girl.
I couldn’t, but God could. So He did.
That’s when God pulled me close. He had to capital W, Wreck life so that He could break the enemy’s bonds of legalism and lies in my life. He had to get me to see that He loved the HECK out of me, or maybe it would be more fitting to say Hell because He literally loves [verb] that junk out of us. So, when I went to college, He tossed this really supah cool chick named Sydney into my life, and through her, He did a cool thing. He broke the chains. He showed me freedom. He showed me what it could look like if I just stopped pretending to have it all together. I learned how to embrace my weird, my broken, and my pain because all of those things can show God’s love and mercy, and glorify Him.
So I gave it a shot, and I haven’t turned back. There are a hundred songs about how there’s no turning back after you give it all to Him, and oh my gosh are they accurate with a capital A.
It stopped being about me believing lies, it was me beginning to believe in Truths. I cut my hair. I cut it all the way to just beneath my shoulders, and then I cut it again. And I’m gonna do it again, and again. I even did so much as get a tattoo. I even wore shorts to bed the other night— and the Good Lord knows I never do that.
Guess what? He still loves me. He’s still here, He’s still moving, and oh God, are You not done yet.
I’ve gotta throw in a disclaimer here: tattoos, piercings, wearing shorts or pants (if you’re a girl), and cutting your hair are not sins. They can be convictions, as in, you can be convicted by the Holy Spirit to not get/do them, but they’re not sins. I was trapped in a lie and trapped in legalism, so I thought they were because the enemy told me they were.
I started to get into the Word, I had to make sure this was legit.
I read about how I was made to glorify God through everything— weaknesses and failures included.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
(2nd Corinthians 12:9)
Read that again. And Again.
one more time just for the heck of it.
I want, no I need every.single.part of me to SCREAM how much I love Jesus, and how much He loves me. If that means confessing sins, even the ones that make me cringe, then so be it. If that means permanently marking my ankle with 70×7 then that’s what it takes. If it means cutting my hair, then it means cutting my hair.
I don’t care what people think (okay, maybe a little, but not so much that it’ll stop me from being loved), I care about what God thinks, and none of those things make Him see me differently. He knows everything (good, bad, and ugly) about me and He still loves me.
His love for me alone makes me loveable. His love alone makes you lovable. And as if that’s not enough, He literally died, He stopped breathing, He stopped living just so He could prove to us that we’re lovable. He did it. We’re loved. We’re lovable.
I want the world to know that we don’t have to live in the chains of legalism, there’s a sweet, sweet Freedom in Jesus that tells legalism where exactly to shove it.
I’ve gotten to a place where I’m okay being vulnerable about my failures. I want to get so close to Him. I desire for Him to use me as a vessel, as a mighty instrument that sings to His fallen people “come back to me, I love you.” If He could use my failure and weakness to just reach one lost soul, then I know the Kingdom of Heaven rejoiced because of God’s sweet, capital G, Goodness.
I read Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Haley Morgan (because Sydney 12/10 recommended it). That book taught me how it wasn’t just suddenly believing that He had me, it was not getting frustrated when it started raining and I got drenched in cloud sweat; it was smiling when my hair got frizzy and shrugging because I knew I was still radically loved. Haley and Jess (in their words too) called me up from believing lies, from living in the bondage of legalism, and showed me what it looks like to live wild and free just as the Good Father wants us to live. Sydney, Haley, and Jess (and at least 25 other people) taught me that it’s not prideful to love yourself— not when you know Who loved you first. They taught me how to be okay asking for help, how to be comfortable in the skin God gave me, how to fulfill His Good purpose for my life.
The last few months, though 90% pain and heartache, have been some of the most freeing months of my entire life so far, and I know it’s because I’ve discovered Freedom. Or maybe He [Freedom] discovered me.
It starts by confessing your sins— even the ones that make you cringe. There’s so much Freedom in honesty, even if it makes us anxious to get there.
Boast in your brokenness, boast in your weakness. Show the world how God has radically loved you despite your mess. It’s messy, sure, but oh how beautiful it is.
We’ve got 99 problems, but brokenness ain’t one (hit me).