The Shame of Being Broken



Something happened last week that has never happened before in my entire life. I’ve always prided myself on it never happening. I even looked with a bit of disdain on others who had it happen to them. I was quick to judge “how could they be so careless?” “Don’t they know there are ways to prevent this from happening?” I even thought how embarrassing it must be for others to see what you’ve done. So if it happens, it would probably be best to hide it from others who would possibly ridicule, shame, or compare you with others. And then there’s the financial burden that comes with it. How would someone ever be able to afford the consequences of this humiliating situation?

I dropped it. I literally dropped it on a polished tile floor. And while I almost always have my case on, I had been too lazy that day as I was switching cases from my bike case (which is huge) to my regular every-day case (which fits better in my pocket). I picked it up with that tight bit of angst in my stomach . . . but this time was different. Hundreds of times before . . . nothing. This time, a couple minuscule hairline cracks in the lower right part of the screen, that a few days later grew to a road map of cracks over the entire screen.

There is a lesson in all of this for me. First, I have some serious lingering shame issues that cause me to live in fear of something happening to me that happens to others all the time. That alone is a serious condition, as shame is one of the most destructive emotions one can live with. But there is something much deeper here. The shame I felt from breaking my phone and not wanting others to know is merely an indicator of the larger shame we all live with from being broken people. And it’s here we have a choice – we can either hide that broken part of ourselves and let it do its damage to our souls – or we can bring it into the light of relationship where it can find acceptance, grace, mercy, and love . . . and eventually heal.

In our lives, the cracks and brokenness run far deeper than a phone screen. But there is something in common – the shame that results from both.

So where does shame rear its head in your life? What do you try to hide, or avoid, or bury, or compensate for that you really might need to lean into for it to get better? And if you have a broken phone screen – like I do right now – let it be a reminder that you’re broken too and in need of God’s grace on the journey back to wholeness.photo 1

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