None of your loved ones and friends would actually say they don’t want you to be whole; however, often those nearest us struggle with our pursuit of wholeness. Why? Because when we start to pursue the healing of the broken places in ourselves, we start to live differently. Those who have lived and interacted with us in our more broken states often learned to live in alignment with our brokenness. Sometimes our broken patterns actually benefitted them in their own brokenness. So when we start to change, start to heal, start to live differently, those broken benefits start to disappear and we start to cost others what had become so comfortable and familiar.
This has been my situation and my story on more than one occasion over the past eight years. Over the past two and a half years, God has especially been overhauling me, healing my heart, changing my broken ways of thinking and living. And as I change, there are real costs to those who had grown accustomed to my old ways of being.*
The problem is that the old me…the one that others knew and had grown accustomed to…always wanted to make everyone else happy, fixed whatever I could for others, had an internal drive to please any and all authority figures in my life, thought I had no limitations, was a workaholic, existed in fairly constant low-lying anxiety, struggled to admit my mistakes, was desperate to get things right all the time, and had no idea how to stand up for myself. That version of me was so comfortable for so many. The way I lived often made other people happy, and I looked to them to determine my value and worth.
The me that is developing now is a much stronger, much freer, much more peaceful woman. A woman who definitely does want to be kind to all the people. But who also knows when to stand up and call, “foul,” when something isn’t right. A woman who is just beginning to admit my mistakes and errors, because I finally feel safe enough to do so. Safe, because I am truly beginning to understand that I do not hold everything together, but Jesus actually does. It’s not just a platitude any more, but my reality. He is my complete Rescue, so I am free to be just as I am: a human woman with beauty and flaws, searching out His face and receiving His grace while I walk this earth.
The problem is that when we start to heal deep down inside our souls, a domino effect begins. When I begin to see and admit and ask for wholeness in one part of my life, I began to see the brokenness in other areas. It’s like what would happen to the old cars I used to drive (and I’ve driven a lot of very used cars). I’d be driving the car just fine for a while, when one moderately noticeable problem would occur with the car. I’d go in and get it fixed, only to have something else go wrong shortly after. What would follow would be a cascade of car problems and necessary repairs.
That first thing I had repaired was finally working better than it had in years. When that part started working better, it would expose the lack in a connected area in the car’s system. And so on. Repair after repair as the car experienced disequilibrium between new parts and old parts in the same system. When this domino effect would begin, I would sometimes wish that I hadn’t repaired that first problem at all, because the car had seemed to be working so well for so long. Now, after that first repair, all these new repairs incurred all kinds of costs.
Often as we start to heal, changing from old ways of living into new and whole ways of living, we find those around us subconsciously wishing we had never started those first “soul repairs,” because who we were was working so well for them for so long. In their brokenness they benefitted from our brokenness. While most of those around us would never admit even to themselves that they wished we could just remain as we were, often in our journey toward healing, others do struggle with who we are becoming. Our new selves create disequilibrium in a system that still has so many old patterns coming into contact with our new selves.
However, even when healing costs us dearly in relationships that we used to find our home and identity, it is still worth it. Because Jesus coming in and making whole all that is broken inside us is more valuable than keeping all the brokenness in the world.
And as we heal and are being made whole and new, we are actually paving the path for those others in our life to take the first steps toward healing, too.
* 2 Corinthians 2:15-18, Ephesians 4:20-24