I like broken things a lot, especially in the context of emotional growth and renewal. It means there’s always something to grow in or from, a point to start and a point to always get to. In the process of my own personal renewal over the past several years, I’d argue that it’s been an ongoing work that directly correlates with my own growing and ongoing personal faith.

Bare Bones: I’m broken and imperfect. Admitting that is rather hard, even on a level that’s broad. But I think that there is something to be said about acknowledging the state of my own brokenness on whatever level it may be and furthermore, owning it and actively deciding to do something about it instead of ignoring the fact.

One of the things I struggle with most is the act of staying put. I’m a natural wanderlust traveler and because I find the most inspiration when I am on-the-go, I think that finding ways to constantly be going is a natural piece of what makes me who I am, thus making the act of being rooted somewhere for a long period of time much harder for me. My natural inclination is always to only put myself into something halfway, thus making it harder for anyone to truly know and see me for who I really am, bare bones and all.

In college, I worked at a camp for a summer. I knew that summer was likely to be the only summer I’d be there, so instead of only giving my heart halfway to ministry and the people I worked around, I had an “all-in” attitude which resulted in far more growth than I had ever experienced in the summer months prior. In contrast, because college was a four year process, the end-date seemed to be so far off in my mind as a freshman, sophomore, and junior. It ultimately took me until my very last year to fully go all-in with my friends, people, and grabbing hold of experiences that I knew would last a lifetime in my memory chamber. 

Admittedly, after college, I traveled for a year, secretly taking into consideration the expiration date. In my head, it was so far off that I closed myself to community because I kept thinking I would eventually arrive to a state of complete vulnerability in who I truly was by the end. This resulted in me not going all-in and ultimately feeling catastrophically misunderstood by people I imagined I’d feel understood by after a year of traveling and 24/7 living.

When I got home, I promised myself that as soon as I found a community to become actively involved in, I wouldn’t run to the corner anymore and that I would resist my natural inclination to hide. I would take what I had internally learned while traveling and apply it to my life at home and come into a place of being fully known and loved for who I am in all my broken pieces. I vowed to find redemption and renewal in a solid and steady faith family with no end date in mind.

This obedient decision resulted in going all in from day one with zero intention to arrive anywhere, being seen immediately for who I was to the point where people still wonder where I come from today. At the time, I was arguably so hungry for community that I needed it to be that way, but later on down the road it became increasingly more difficult for me because of my natural inclination to run and hide the minute things get difficult and turbulent. 

I would argue that the minute things get difficult and turbulent for anyone, we are forced to look at our own brokenness and come to a conclusion about what we are going to do about it. The “what I do about it” portion of this renewing and healing journey is one I’m still constantly learning as I go.

I am seeing transformation happen as I begin to recognize how I feel and speak up about it, which has been so encouraging to me. At the end of the day, when I take a step of faith to be vulnerable and share my side of a story in all it’s broken splendor, I find the truth that I am held in a cushion of love, I am seen, and I am taken into consideration like a bright shooting star. 

This ultimately results in feeling more confident about my place in my current faith family and allows me to be completely known and seen in all my colors, which is both freeing, healing, and rewarding. The more I’m known for every single up and down and loved despite, it creates a deeper level of trust and understanding that is so imperative in the process of renewal. 

Do you need to be a little more vulnerable in your current situation? How are you giving space to others to be vulnerable with you? Your process of renewal is not the same as everyone else’s, we will never arrive to full completion until we make it to Jesus’s feet, but I like to think we can help each other along the way.

- Ashley Cook


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Hannah DawberComment