In a year of reinvention, when my goal is to be well and truly whole, it strikes me odd that I want to reinvent brokenness.
I mean, I’ve been broken. I’ve been shattered. Into pieces so powdered I felt sure being whole was impossible.
The pieces, reinvented, have been coming back together. Slowly. Over many years. This isn’t the beginning of the story, for that was a time indescribable. It was a time too vicious and unruly and nebulous to have been reduced to something as fine as language. No, the beginning came in 2008 when I decided not to die.
I believe in the God of the Bible, old and new testaments. I don’t always frame my reinvention or recovery in biblical terms, though my faith is a constant wellspring of renewal. In this post, my reinvention comes straight from that book, and so here we are. Before I go further, a note on ‘my God’: I use this phrase as it is exemplified in the Bible, to acknowledge that my God may not be yours and to affirm that I choose him.
Psalm 51, verse 17, of the old testament of the Bible reads: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite hear, O God, you will not despise.
For a long while, I wrestled with this scripture. I was broken; it didn’t feel like a sacrifice but a burden. It didn’t feel like anything even remotely connected to my God. I felt despised by everyone, myself most of all.
If I could never be put back together, I needed a new brokenness, one that reformed me. Not a broken mind (through mental illness) or a broken body (through conversion disorder) but a broken spirit and a broken heart. Where the broken mind leads to darkness, the broken spirit leads to light. Where the broken body leads to decay, the broken heart leads to renewal. The exchange – my exchange – is ongoing and will last all my life.
I cannot imagine a day when I should not be vigilant about my depression and anxiety or vigilant about the conversion disorder fallout. No matter how reinvented in this world, we all remain broken. Daily, I’m learning how to exchange brokenness for brokenness. To give up my worry for my God’s peace. To relinquish my darkness for my God’s light. To trade my misgivings for his assurances. To choose every day how to reinvent my mental and physical brokenness into spiritual and heart brokenness.
When my spirit and my heart no longer work for my inadequacies, when they are broken to all things but my God, then they have space to work toward adequacy in him. That exchange is one way I offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, as is my true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)
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