Sometimes we want a warm body close to us so badly that we make all kinds of excuses for the person’s bad behavior. My friend, who I’ll call Henrietta, is like this. Hen (we’ll call her that for short) has a larger than average body frame. She also has incredibly big feet for a woman whose only five feet, five inches tall. She’s always been self-conscious about her weight, and back in the day, before the beauty of a thicker frame was as accepted and celebrated as it is today, folks would say to her, “You’ve got a cute face.” All big girls know this used to be code for face—pretty, body—not so much.
Henrietta’s mother, a single parent, was not really the supportive type. She loved her daughter to pieces, but didn’t do a whole lot for Hen in the self-esteem department. Henrietta was starving for validation, and growing up, any boy that showed her attention was immediately the rescuer who was going to make all her dreams come true. She magnified the most insignificant gesture of courtesy. They used it to try and get what all teen-age boys want to get. Afterwards, they’d immediately ignore her, make fun of her behind her back and sometimes in front of her face. For some reason, she never seemed to be angry with them about how they treated her. For the longest while, nothing about her puzzled me more than this.
As a bet, one guy asked her to prom, knowing full well that he never expected to take her. Even after the disappointment of it all, she made excuses for him. One would think that after experiencing many heartbreaks, Hen would have changed her view of things. As a full-grown woman, the lens from which she views potential users has only improved a smidgen, and even that might be overstating it. The odd thing is that if one of her girlfriends steps to her the least bit shady, Hen will let them have it, but with a man who shows her a little bit of attention, it’s a completely different story.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this has absolutely nothing to do with the man, and everything to do with how Hen feels about herself. What is it that she refuses to confront? Why is her refusal so vehemently entrenched that she would rather allow herself to be relegated to second or below, than to acknowledge her pain?
Sometimes it’s easier to try and squeeze a drop of love from a spoiled low-hanging fruit than to reach for a plump delicious one at the top. The thought of the disappointment that comes from reaching and not attaining is too much for some. This is especially true for those that have experienced devastating disappointment before. A parent who abandons, a loved one who died and left us before we were old enough to adequately process the loss, a precious relationship that is irreparably damaged; these types of wounds can set us up for believing the wrong things about ourselves and the wrong things about others.
Heavenly Father knows when there are events in our childhoods that can cause us to make poor choices and bad decisions in adulthood. As children, we’re not always in a position to change course, but as adults, we’re responsible for examining our lives, and seeking God for help. He tells us in Romans 12:2 not to be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. So, you and I can make the choice to change the way we think, and thereby change the course of our lives. This truth is cosigned in Proverbs 4:23 (NLT), where God tells us, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” But instead of doing this—instead of renewing their thoughts to the mind of Christ and accepting his love into their hearts, many people run from the healing they need most.
A closed heart can be nurtured by the genuine love of an open one. This is where the extraordinary love of Christ comes in. Romans 8:39 tells us that nothing separates us from his love. In Revelation 3:20(NLT) he said, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Jesus continually knocks at the door of our hearts. We need to let him in, and we also need to know that it only takes the tiniest opening for a miracle to happen.
God is calling us to newness. 2Corinthians 5:14(NLT) tells us, “Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.” When Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, so were all who accept his love in their hearts. We were right there with him, dying to our old selves and being born again anew! He came to give us a life that is more than abundant, where God’s mercies are new every day!
If a person doesn’t know what the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has made available to them, they might continue to pick up broken pieces of that old worn-out life. They don’t know that as hard as they might try to put those broken pieces back together again, it won’t work. God is the healer of broken hearts; as a matter of fact, that’s His specialty. Because of the issues that we’ve dealt with in the past, for some self-sabotage is set to ‘repeat’. This is a pattern that can be changed. If we’ll ask him, the Lord Jesus Christ will help us walk in our new life, and we can learn to leave the broken pieces of the past behind us. ■
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
“Broken Pieces of that Old Worn-Out Life” written for Overcomingdomesticviolenceorg.wordpress.com. Copyright ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!