Morning Reminder

Every morning for a year and a half, I have opened my cabinet to grab a coffee cup and one particular chipped cup has glared at me from inside. I must confess, this has disturbed me greatly.  I have waged an inner battle over this cup.

The chip has been a glaring deficiency in my mind, marring the beauty of a beautiful and valuable piece of china.  This value of the cup has prevented me from throwing it out on multiple occasions, yet I’ve been pained each time I have gazed at the chip which has served to mar the perfection of the cup.

In a society that prizes beauty and perfection, worth has become synonymous with perfection. The imperfect is often cast aside as sub-par. People have been no exception.Click To Tweet

“Throw it away.  Don’t throw it away.” 

Each time I reach for the cup to throw it out something compels me to stop.  Perhaps I pity the cup.  Doesn’t it deserve to still have life in spite of it’s marring blemish?  Really, the chip does nothing to take away from the purpose of the cup.

I’ve made myself drink from it many times to justify it remaining present in my cabinet of cup perfection.  It’s been a love/hate relationship with the imperfection of that cup, just as it has been a love/hate relationship with my own imperfection.

Self Revelation

I never realized I had a problem with perfectionism and being vulnerable until this past year.  I had always prided myself on being such a strong person, but I began to realize over time that the strength required to hold myself together was, in fact, not serving me well.  All of the energy I was expending to maintain the image of perfection and strength was exhausting me emotionally, spiritually and physically.

Sometimes it takes seeing someone else you love struggling with the same thing to recognize your own struggle. Click To Tweet

“I don’t want to be a broken teacup.”

The Danger of Self-Protection

The words came out of the mouth of someone I cared deeply about who was hurting.  I could see her putting walls up around her heart that were not doing a good job of shielding her from hurt – trapping her pain inside of her heart.

That’s the funny thing about walls; they can be defensive or they can keep us imprisoned by our pain.

As I witnessed her keeping those who loved her most at arm’s length desperately wanting to comfort and uplift her in the midst of her struggle, Holy Spirit began to deal with me about my own tendencies to self-protect.  He began to show me that I was never called to be the self-reliant fortress I was attempting to be.

“I don’t want to be a broken teacup”.

These words resonated within me in a deep way.  Over the course of several months the expression kept coming finding it’s way back to me. I could see it in my mind – a teacup, fragile and beautiful lying in pieces.

I could see that the teacup was already broken. As much as it might not want it to be so, nothing was going to change the cold, hard fact that the brokenness was already there.

It began to stir in me that the problem with myself and so many others is that isn’t there this place within us all that doesn’t want to be pitied, doesn’t want to be viewed as broken, chipped or weak in any way?  We don’t even want to be perceived as being capable of being broken in any way.

We don’t want to feel less than in any way, and so we hide our brokenness; yet hiding the brokenness doesn’t change the fact that it is there.Click To Tweet

Aren’t We All Broken Teacups?

However, aren’t we really all to some degree or another broken tea cups pretending to be perfectly intact?  Beautiful, fragile teacups were never intended to carry the weight of armor.  What if we could see our brokenness as beauty?  Psalm 51:17 highlights David’s understanding of the value of brokenness.

“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

God gave me an image of myself holding all of my broken pieces together and gave me a very real sense of emotional and physical exhaustion. I could then feel Him cradling me and holding my broken pieces together.  This comfort and release was much the same way we feel the relief of lying down in our bed at night after a long and tiring day.

What If?

I began to question myself. What if I could be brave and give God every bit of me, not holding one single thing back?  In relationship terms, we would call that intimacy. To be intimate I would need to trust. I would need to go all in. It would involve taking a chance, believing that those who could hurt me deepest would love me unconditionally even when they saw the vulnerable parts of me.

As God began to deal with me in my areas of wounds from rejection as well as the fear of rejection that was driving my self-protecting tendencies, I finally acknowledged something to myself that I had been burying. I admitted to myself and Father God that I feared Him rejecting me because of my brokenness, just as I had a deep fear of others rejecting me for my imperfection.

What happens when we are finally brave enough to give God all of the brokenness buried deep within us? He picks up our beautiful broken teacup pieces and transforms us into who He created us to be, who we want to be but are powerless to transform in our own strength.

Our brokenness isn’t weakness and isn’t to be pitied! Our brokenness makes us unique and authentic. Click To Tweet

The strength comes not from trying to hold ourselves together but rather allowing ourselves to fall apart at the feet of Jesus who is strong for us in the midst of our weakness. We can find rest in His strength!

When we, in our brokenness, surrender ourselves before our Maker, He turns what is broken and shattered into a thing of beauty. He can transform us into His beautiful vessel in the way only our Creator can.

Originally Posted: April 6, 2017

Our Prayer

Father God, You are our creator and you don’t make junk.  We’ve become chipped and cracked along the way through the abuse this life throws our way.  Help us to see that we don’t have to hide our chipped and broken places from you and that we are still valuable in your eyes.  Repair us and remake us to your specifications.  We release ourselves to your process of restoration.  Help us to understand that you are refining us in the midst of our brokenness and that you value us. Affirm in us that we still have purpose in spite of our chips.  Thank you for releasing us from the false mindset of perfectionism!  You are our Maker and you know the purpose each of us was created for – brokenness and all.

Scriptures for Meditation

New International Version (NIV)

~Isaiah 64:8

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

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