What if God allows brokenness to bring us into closer relationship with Him? What if the pain is to reshape us to understand how beloved we truly are? You will learn how to build a compassionate and Christ-based identity out of difficult experiences or past shame using biblical study, psychological principles, and art therapy. Includes teaching and small group processing.
-Jill Baird, “Broken and Beloved“
Several months ago, I was working on a chart in my Broken and Beloved group that began with a particular “event”. That event triggered an emotional response in me that I was not expecting.
My “trigger” was an incident involving a close relative. In that moment, I was replaying everything that I have watched for several months. I was replaying, watching her in the beginning of this relationship and how loved she is by my husband, how beautiful she is, how smart she is, how capable she is, how independent she is and in that moment I was afraid . . . because . . . in her anger/selfishness she was “going to lose it all”. She was getting ready to lose and throw away EVERYTHING that I never had. . . at her age: beauty, independence, talent, intelligence, the love of her dad, the love of someone who thinks she hung the moon and then some. . .
Then, I took these thoughts/feelings to a “circle chart”. The chart has 3 circles: vulnerable self, critical self, ideal self. The intersection of these 3 circles is a “dotted-line” heart, the healthiest of all 3.
This was an emotional activity for me, because I explored and challenged all of the thoughts that I had in that moment with her. As I explored those, I uncovered MORE. I uncovered deeper. (After this day, I cried all day and had the worst headache.)
The following week, I took the thoughts and feelings that I wrote on my circle chart and volunteered to process them openly. . . There were 4 chairs: vulnerable self, ideal self, critical self, coach.
I took 3 shards of glass/pottery from our first group meeting when I broke a piece of pottery/glass into chards with a hammer, as an activity to express a “shattering” to eventually display these pieces as “broken and beloved”. On each piece, I wrote down 3 things from my “trigger” event that stood out. THEN, I chose one of the pieces to bring to the chairs. WHOA. I chose, “you are going to lose it all.” My eyes got giant as I moved toward the chairs, not sure what to expect.
I moved from chair to chair and looked at the chair as I talked to that particular part of myself. I took what I felt in the moment of the trigger event, she was getting ready to lose and throw away EVERYTHING that I never had. . . at her age: beauty, independence, talent, intelligence, the love of her dad, the love of someone who thinks she hung the moon and then some. . . and spoke those out loud to myself. At times, it was hard to speak without crying. It hurt to hear these things. These things. . . I would tell myself in private in hope that I would stimulate a change. . . were now being exposed. It made me sad to think that I felt this way about myself. The most vulnerable part of myself was scared and afraid and being silenced.
I yelled at my critic to stop being mean, that she was hurting the vulnerable self. I told my vulnerable self that she was beautiful and she was going to be okay. I looked at my critic and told her that she was going to be alright too. On some level, each part was hurting and scared. Each part needed to know that she was going to be okay.
And suddenly, she found herself grateful. Grateful for all the darkness and the heartbreak because it allowed her to recognize true love when she found it. And she knew without a doubt, that all the broken, shattered, forgotten pieces of her soul were worth putting back together again.