I have a confession to make: I have been pretty down in the dumps lately.
Such a state is the opposite from the one I prefer to be in. I would rather be a Pollyanna—or perhaps a Pollyannie?—not in an annoying type of way, but in the sense of seeing life through a positive, hopeful lens. Because of that, being under a dark cloud for a number of days was rather alarming.
I was pretty sure that part of this dark cloud was traceable to numbers of difficult things that oddly all happened annually around this time, especially in the last 10 or so years. One of those things was related to some words a friend spoke in frustration, criticizing both my external appearance and my internal personality.
It didn’t matter that other friends had laughed in disbelief when I had shared those hurtful words, assuring me that they were not true. I still felt them. And they made me feel like a worthless failure, a worthlessness which only compounded as other events in my life seemed to indicate I had little value.
Lest you panic and call the suicide hotline for me, let me assure you: I am truly just fine! And I am fine because I know the truth, a truth which hit me once again like a ton of bricks when I read a little blurb from the late 19th century author J. R. Miller in my favorite devotional, Streams in the Desert. Miller said:
Christ is building His kingdom with earth’s broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory. [Emphasis added.]
I share this today because I know that I am not the only one that goes through down times. We all experience them, particularly now as society seems to be collapsing in chaos around us. The truth is, those times of failure and discouragement—those times when we feel broken, worthless, and not valuable—are the times where we are most valuable.
Why? Because as Miller implies, it is those times that get rid of self. And when we get rid of self, we make room for God to step in and do His work, a work that is far more successful, far more victorious, far more whole and beautiful than anything we could hope to accomplish on our own.
Dear friend, if you are feeling discouraged today, looking at the broken pieces of your life and wondering how you got into such a mess, take heart and remember this truth: When we are worthless in the world’s eyes, we are worth more in God’s.
This article is from Annie’s Substack. You can subscribe here.
Image credit: GetArchive-Gary Stockbridge, CC0 1.03 comments
Sarah MMarch 17, 2023, 1:37 pm
Annie, thank you for being open about those struggles. You are right, everyone faces something like that in their lives. But you can never be worthless because you are rooted in the only identity that matters: as a beloved daughter of God. Nothing anyone says can change that. Broken, wounded people too often hurt other people and say and do things they don’t really mean but they come from their own brokenness. They are also beloved by God despite their sin against their neighbor, they just don’t know it. Stand tall in your identity, help those like your broken friend who hurt you to see who they really are under all those scars.REPLY
Larry KiedrowskiMarch 17, 2023, 4:58 pm
Your words always encourage me, especially when admitting that you have down days also. Your written contributions show your brilliance. You are appreciated.REPLY
TanyaMarch 20, 2023, 5:36 pm
What wise and uplifting words! Thank youREPLY