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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Camping in Brokenness

Brokeness. That word often stirs up mixed emotions for me - not unlike the word “boundaries” if you read my last blog post

Oftentimes when we hear the word “brokenness” it implies something is weak, subpar, and needs to be fixed. This can be true, but it also means a lot of other things. Instead of viewing it as a state to overcome, I’ve started to view it as a landing place, a spot to camp if you will. 

Side note: I’ve never been into camping, but the concept has always sounded romantic to me. To make a home in some place unknown and new. To journey with just the essentials, carrying with me only that which I need to survive. If I were to create a list of essentials for this journey of life, brokenness would be at the top of that list. 

This may sound strange, but I’m starting to believe that I’m not simply called to live through a season of brokenness, but to consider brokenness a lifestyle choice. Choosing brokenness keeps me pliable and teachable. It reminds me of my weaknesses, so that I don’t get too far ahead of myself and start thinking I’m something I’m not. And God knows I need reminded of that often. 

All this being said, there a couple things I think brokenness is not.
  1. It’s not an excuse for a pity party. Choosing brokenness does not mean feeling sorry for myself. It means I’m self-aware of both my weaknesses and strengths. 
  2. It’s not an opportunity for insecurity. Yes, it means a healthy dose of believing I need help in certain areas of my life, but it doesn’t mean I am no-good or not normal. Don’t give the enemy a foothold here; he will distort it. 
Choosing brokenness doesn’t mean I can’t be myself. I’ve struggled with this thought many times this past year. I used to think that being broken meant I couldn’t function in my strengths. And that is so far from the truth! In fact, I think I was made to be both broken and bold. To be aware of myself and my weaknesses, but also to know what I’m good at, and to go for it! 

If I were to sum up the lessons I’ve learned in 2014, it would be this: To let brokenness be an opportunity for growth. And if I could tell myself one thing this time last year it would be to “Get comfortable in weakness, because that is where the growth begins.” 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Making Room for Boundaries

Whenever I hear the word boundaries I typically cringe. This word has always had a negative connotation to me. It seems to imply that something has gone too far, or is too much. And that's a tender spot for me. It was easy for me growing up and even now to believe the lie that I was "too much". That I needed to be restrained, held back, and that I desperately needed boundaries.

It took me a while, but I eventually realized that it was all a big lie and I didn't have to believe it anymore. God didn't make me "too much", He made me just right, exactly as He planned. The passage of scripture that has marked me the most is Psalm 139, of which verse 13-14 says: 
"For you did form my inward parts; you did knit me together in my mother's womb. I will confess and praise you for you are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are your words, and that my inner self knows right well." (AMP) 
Once I started believing that, it was time to tackle my irrational fear of boundaries. This word has taken on an interesting meaning to me over the past few months. Rather than viewing them a negative thing, I started to view them as beneficial, and even necessary. 

Remember my post titled "Slow is Good"? Well, shortly after I published that post, work started to pick up dramatically. Hence why I haven't posted in ages. I have this tendency to run so hard and fast that I neglect to tend to other areas of my life. It's hard for me to stop or slow down until something is complete and excellent. And sometimes that's not healthy.

The Holy Spirit started to nudge me about two months ago about boundaries, and although I wanted to ignore it, I knew that I'd end up running myself over if I didn't heed His warning. I was reminded of Psalm 16 which says that the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. He sets up boundaries for me so that I can remain healthy and ultimately enjoy life! And if I respond to His invitation to step back and allow room for margin in my life, then I just might end up enjoying it more than I thought I would. Boundaries aren't a bad thing, in fact, they make room for the good things. Like rest and friendship and creating and writing (just to name a few).

But what about getting my work done? Or what if my boss gets mad at me? What if I fail at fulfilling my responsibilities? What if my co-workers think I am slacking? Questions such as this started running through my head, and then the Holy Spirit whispered that those questions were rooted in fear. Ahhh that's a familiar word. But it's also a suffocating word. It's a word, that if given too much power, will cause me to be more anxious and insecure than I care to admit.

Fear too often causes me to freeze, or in this case, keep running. But today I'm choosing differently. It's time to step back confidently, knowing my value is secure in who God says I am, not in how fast I can run or how great my work is. Others may perceive my putting up boundaries differently than I intend, sure. I may drop the ball, yes. But living without fear in step with the boundaries God has set up for me is much more freeing.