Lately, I’ve been wondering whether being “broken” – in an emotional or spiritual sense – is such a bad thing.
The biggest tragedies in life don’t arise because people have emotional and spiritual baggage. Everyone is screwed up in one way or another. The biggest tragedies occur because people are never willing to admit to, own, and deal with their baggage. They go for years and years, carrying it around, until it finally wears them down and causes an emotional breakdown or spiritual crisis.
Ironically, the first steps in being “broken” may seem like a step away from a spiritual or emotional health. But taking those backward steps may be the very thing that give us potential for long-term growth. (Richard – if you’re reading, feel free to insert a J-curve comment here!). The woman who quits going to church because she realizes she is a hypocrite is probably – at that moment – closer to realizing authentic faith than she has been at any other point in her life. The man who quits his anxiety-inducing, high income job to pursue his dream of sculpting may create a short-term financial crisis. However, he is probably – in the long run – going to be a better father and husband once he releases his burden of meeting other people’s expectations.
What we desperately need from our spouses, our small groups, our friends – possibly more than anything else – is “permission” to be our imperfect, true selves. In fact, for parents, it may be the single most important gift that we can give to our children.
After all, it is only after we are free to be broken that can healing begin.