“My philosophy is that worrying makes you suffer twice.” — Newt Scamander

In moments of distress, we all turn to something–alcohol, a drug of some kind. I have a tendency to turn to the world of Harry Potter. Yes, I know, I should really turn to my Bible first, and that’s definitely something I am working on. Harry Potter allows me to get lost in a story and to, therefore, forget, at least momentarily, what was distressing me. At the very least, it forces me to step away from the problem and come back to it. The world of Harry Potter, though, also offers some good insight, especially in those moments of distress.

Tonight, it was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. There is a scene where Newt and Jacob, the No-Maj, are trying to get the Erumpet back into Newt’s case of magical creatures, and Newt puts Jacob in some protective clothing. Jacob asks Newt something along the lines of doesn’t the situation worry him. Newt responds: “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”

As one of my “resolutions” is to not to try to make sense of things that don’t make sense, this line felt particularly timely.

While the scene in which the line was spoken was one of humor, I definitely felt it was fitting to other instances. And it’s true–worrying does make you suffer twice. You suffer through the state of worrying, then through whatever situation it is you were worrying about. You could even be amping yourself up over absolutely nothing. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I know what that’s like.

It also seems vastly similar to the Biblical idea to “be anxious for nothing” because God has our lives under control.

So, as I continue along this journey, I am going to continue to reiterate the commitment to myself to try not to worry, to not make myself suffer more than is absolutely necessary. I don’t know what this next week, month, or even year will hold, but I have to trust that God is looking out for me, and He will hold me in my worry and distress.

No need to suffer twice.

Brokenness is Real

…and God is for the broken.

. . . . . .

This was today’s message at church. It seems like a difficult thing to admit, and it is. It is hard to acknowledge that just because we are Christian doesn’t mean life will be perfect or all happiness. It can be even more difficult to believe God is for the broken, especially when we experience brokenness and it feels like God is silent.

The message today was based on Luke 7:11-17—the funeral of a widow’s only child. The pastor gave 3 points that really struck me. (So far, it seems this church has some powerful and meaningful messages for me. Maybe that is God working…)

The first: sometimes life is hard. Like I said, just because we are Christian does not mean life will not be hard. Sometimes our brokenness comes from choices we have made, and sometimes it isn’t our fault at all. We all sometimes walk away from the alignment of God, trying to make choices we think would be better for us or others.

Just this made me realize that my brokenness is a mixture of the choices I made, choices I thought would be better for me and my family, and the choices he has made. As such, I can only take responsibility for my portion of it all. And I do. I acknowledge that perhaps it was not what God had designed for me, perhaps it was out of His will.

But brokenness is not a punishment. And I have spent all this time feeling like it is, feeling like what I am going through is God punishing me for being so stupid. Really, I am punishing myself. I realize now I can only do that for so long.

The second point was that Jesus hurts when we feel brokenness. This seems hard to wrap my head around, but the truth is He loves us, so of course He hurts for us. Luke 7:13 says “His heart went out to her…” He felt genuine compassion for her, He felt for her in the pain she was experiencing.

The third, and final, point was this: Jesus can overcome the pain of our circumstances. In the story in Luke 7, Jesus raises the son. That in itself is a pretty powerful illustration.

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. . . . . .

The pastor chose to read out some stories of brokenness from church team members. The stories were of deep brokenness, and I could feel the pain these people have suffered. Although their names were, of course, not mentioned, I couldn’t help but admire their bravery to not only admit their brokenness but to share it. That’s when I realized something.

I am afraid to admit and share my brokenness to others.

Notice I say “to others.” I willfully admit to myself I am broken—I know it, I feel it every day—but I am afraid to express it to others, even within a church. And the reason is because I have been burned. I am afraid to share because I am afraid of a lack of support. I am afraid of people trying to tell me what to do, of unwanted advice. I am afraid of being told I am being stupid or that I should just move on. I am afraid of judgement. All because it has happened to me before (at least, that is my perception).

And as I came to this realization, I also saw something else: that this brokenness had been coming for some time. The episodes I can now point out as having been depressive or anxious episodes; the feelings of worthlessness, because I felt like he was doing something so much better than me, that I wasn’t making a difference and he was; the loneliness, even when I wasn’t physically alone…I can see now it all pointed to brokenness in me, and it was inevitable for that brokenness to make an outward appearance.

While brokenness isn’t God’s punishment, I want to think He will use it to show me something, to teach me.

I know now I wasn’t supposed to take that job. Yet, God used that experience to point me back in the direction I had veered from. I know I made a mistake, but I think He is providing me an opportunity to take a step back to have a chance to examine my faults and my mistakes and decide who I want and need to be.

. . . . . .

I’ve decided not to give in. I know where my heart is. I know how I feel.

Recently, it feels like God has been silent, but maybe that’s because I’ve refused to open my Bible and pray and admit my brokenness. I can’t expect Him to speak to me if I’m not willing to speak to Him and open up.

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The only way to combat brokenness is to seek God, is to pray. It doesn’t guarantee that life will be perfect. It doesn’t mean that, poof, suddenly all the problems will disappear. What it does mean, though, is I acknowledge that God is on my side and has compassion for me in my brokenness.

I am broken. But I won’t give up.