When You Just Feel Too Broken to be Useful

A guest post by Heidi Dennis

Have you ever felt this way?  I know that I have!  I remember one key time in my life where the rawness and heaviness of this thought felt like it would swallow me alive.  I was in college.  We were challenged to go on a “Silent Retreat”- a time of individual prayer and intentional listening (which, if you have ever done one, you know that they are both hard and amazing at the same time).  In the silence, I took this question to God, “How could you ever use me?  I am just too broken.”  This is difficult for me to talk about.  You see, at the time, I was walking through healing over some past childhood sexual abuse.  I looked around me and saw all of these seemingly perfect people.  They had it all together and I was falling apart.  They had confidence and I felt insecure.  Their faces were covered in smiles and mine felt covered in shame.  With all of this swirling in my mind, I wrote that simple question onto a piece of tear stained notebook paper- “How could you ever use me? 

As I continued to write, the most remarkable image entered my mind.  I saw a cracked clay pot.  It was dirty.  It looked like it could shatter at any moment.  It was broken.  All of a sudden, I saw God begin to pour water through this broken vessel.  In my mind, I screamed, “What are you doing?!?  This water is just spilling out all over the place!  You are making a terrible mess, God.  Look at all of those vessels around me.  They don’t have cracks.  They are perfect.  Pour Your water into them instead.”  Then I heard God say, “Look up.”  As I looked up, I saw the water start to form streams and rivers.  Everywhere the water went, life bloomed- trees, flowers, grass, luscious meadows.  “You see,” He said “those other vessels can’t be used the same way that you can.  It’s through the very places that you feel broken that I pour life.”  You guys, I was dumbfounded.  Suddenly these places that once felt so broken and shameful now had purpose.  This strive to be perfect and have it all together was now the last thing that I wanted.  Hallelujah! 

I can’t tell you have many times I have told this story to someone sitting across from me in my counseling office.  I literally cry every time (I may or may not be crying right now. I’ll never tell *sniff*).  But these aren’t tears over brokenness.  These are tears of overwhelmed relief (overwhelmed that God would choose to use me and relief that I don’t have to have all of my crap together. Can I get an Amen?!?).  Other than seeing God use my brokenness, this awareness has done something else for me.  It has helped me realize where my strength comes from (you know, that whole “when I’m weak then I am strong” thing).  You see, when I am fully aware that any good that I have to offer comes straight from God, everything changes.  I cannot even begin to tell you how different I feel.  I have more energy, more confidence, more security, less shame (ironically exactly the opposite of what I was feeling when I asked that question in the first place).  Everyday on my way to work, I ask God to fill me up, do His work, and keep “me” out of the way.  Even after a 10 hour day of back to back clients, I literally have more energy than when I went in.  I’m not even kidding!  On my way out of the office, I hand all of the pain and heaviness that I have heard that day to Him.  He is the One with the healing anyway.  This revelation has been completely life-changing for me- and I pray that it can be for you, too.

So, dear friend, if you have ever felt this same brokenness that I have felt, take heart.  He brings healing to and uses even the most broken and shameful places in you.  Remember, He’s the ultimate recycler.  It’s one of the things that He does best.  And it’s oh so freeing when He does!  And, about those “perfect” vessels…they don’t exist.  Some of us are just better at using duct tape than others- but what’s the fun in that?

I would love to hear your heart here.  Have you ever felt too broken to be used?  Do you think that there is anything too broken for God to use- or was that just me?  Please comment below or join the conversation at https://m.facebook.com/heidid831/

One thought on “When You Just Feel Too Broken to be Useful

    Thank you for sharing. It is a beautiful way to look at the brokenness in our lives and gives new hope to how we “overcome” from the wounds.

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