I couldn’t believe my counsellor friend asked me to repeat these words to myself, as we both stood in front of a mirror at the back of her office. “They’re just words,” I thought. “What’s so hard about repeating words?” Except, I couldn’t utter them. Especially not in front of a mirror. Saying these words was blasphemous. It was naive. So I kept finding all kinds of theological and logical “buts,” explanations why repeating these simple words was such a bad idea. It went against everything I had believed about life, God, and myself for many years. My counsellor was patient enough with me to ask whether my current belief had ever helped. So with a stiff forehead, a reluctant look, and after a great long pause, I looked at myself in the mirror, took a deep breath and I said the words:
“I am not broken.”
Back in my early adulthood years, I knew I always wanted to be a leader who could help heal others. But even though I was, I lived in a state of not completely owning it. I felt like I could not lead or heal because I was not completely healed myself. How could one lead with wounds? So I waited. I pushed a lot of things aside as I waited to feel like I had to sorted myself out first.
I went from one counsellor to another. One mentor to another. One saviour to another. I journaled, bought books, bookmarked articles, seminars and podcasts. I thought if I sorted out the reason why I had past wounds and made poor choices, then and only then would I be a good leader. Only then would I be confident enough to heal others. Then I would have authority. Then I could start using my gifts. Then I could influence others. Then things would happen. Then I would truly be living who I was created to be.
Some of us believe this is our truth one way or another: we are broken and there is something wrong with who we are.
“I am not broken,” I repeated the words again.
How could this be a truth I could accept? Isn’t it like enabling someone’s issues? Isn’t it ignoring what needs to be dealt with? Isn’t it living two-faced? Isn’t it some kind of ridiculous new-age, naive crap that we say just to make each other feel better about ourselves?
But how has this “truth” that we are and always will be broken ever helped you or me be free to help others? It only made me more obsessed with myself. And then I realized a truth that had never hit me before:
Real healing is not the erasure of wounds.
Real healing is not ignoring our wounds.
Real healing is owning our wounds, BUT without letting them restrict us from living as we’re created to be.
Real healing, as a friend of mine describes it, is "To step up with our wound and neediness and become the parent, become the leader, the teacher, the healer, the giver...through right action, doing the work, stepping up and into our calling and our identity in Christ.” This is what it means to truly believe the saying that we are new in Christ. It is not necessarily living without wounds, it is no longer letting them hold us back.
Trying to live this truth is hard. I still have a hard time making it my truth. It requires me to constantly surrender the lie to God. It requires me to put my journal entry aside when my son needs me. It requires me to get up and do something that would bless my wife whenever I get self-obsessed. It requires me to speak love with authority when I do not feel like I have authority. It requires me to say, “Yes I have my wounds, but I’m not broken.”
Maybe you’re wondering, “I thought _________ [God/Book/Counselling/Seminar] has healed me from this behaviour/thought pattern/etc."
Maybe there’s a sense of a regrettable past that you could never shake off, sticking in the back of your head, restricting you from saying anything with authority because it would make you an imposter.
So I’m going to speak this on to you:
You’re not broken.
Now go and live freely, without being restricted by your wounds, so that others may be free too.