I have learned the hard way that there is a big difference between being broken and being miserable. These lessons have been learned mostly through making poor decisions in my life and by not listening to and following God. So what is the difference between being broken and being miserable? How can I go from sadness to joy?
What Does Being Miserable Mean?
Being miserable is being uncomfortable; it’s hating the circumstances; it’s being self-absorbed; it’s playing the victim; and it’s getting caught.
What Does Brokenness Mean?
Brokenness? That comes from a different place, and it’s the first step to finding the pathway to freedom because it’s brokenness that gets you to the place where you’re finally willing to admit that there is something broken in you—something that you can’t fix by yourself. There’s a deep realization when you figure out that your way is not the right way. It may take awhile to come to that realization, but that’s when you’re finally ready to cooperate and get well. So what is the difference between being broken and being miserable?
When you’re truly broken, the biggest realization becomes: you can’t help you anymore.
I grew up in church and went through the motions of Christianity most of my life, even after I was saved. When I renewed my commitment to God and started to become familiar again with the Bible, I really loved reading about Jesus and all of his encounters with people—people like me. Passages I used read all my life now had new meaning and I was actually gleaning a lot from the Bible as I went through it.
How Can a Broken and Miserable Person be Healed?
In John, chapter 5, Jesus’ heart is filled with compassion for a guy who he miraculously heals. The man was physically broken. He had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. It’s an amazing story of hope and new beginnings, but this story contains what I’ve come to know as one of the most important questions for life and recovery.
Before Jesus even touched the man, Jesus asked him,
Do you want to get well?John 5:6
Do You Want to Get Well?
When I first read that story, I thought that was a stupid question.
In December of 2017, I read this story and asked God why he wanted me to read this, the words came to me as clearly as someone speaking directly to me, “because you are the man.” I was scared and frozen and cried to God to forgive me of my stubbornness.
After years of my own stubborn refusal to change and working with all kinds of people who are living in denial, I realized that it’s not a stupid question. It’s actually one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves. Sure, we are miserable, sick, know we have a problem, know things are out of control, but do we really want to get well? What is the difference between being broken and being miserable?
I Am a Broken and Shattered Mess
It was at that moment that I finally decided that I did want to get well. It’s easy to go through life blaming people for your own faults, but at some point it has to come to an end. And somewhere in there, by the grace of God, I was able to drop the fear and finally humble myself to the loving touch of Jesus, and he started healing me.
I also re-engaged back into my church into where I encountered honest, loving people and a loving God who met me right where I was. Still, I never would have made it to that place without finally admitting that, on my own, I am a broken, shattered mess.
If you will humbly embrace brokenness and allow God to go to work on the inside of you, if you will cooperate with him by working some steps, and if you will link arms with honest, fellow-strugglers, you will begin to get a handle on and actually overcome and break the chains of what binds you up and walk free.
How to Overcome Being Broken and Miserable
Level 1- Letting Go
What comes to your mind when you think of the word surrender? I spent twenty-four years in the military and always have negative images in my mind when I think of that word, like it was kind of bad news. Like somebody getting slammed up against a police car or winning a firefight against the enemy. But I learned that the true definition of surrender is to relinquish control to someone else; in this case, I had to give my whole life to God. But the good news is: his management of my life is much better than mine.
How to Surrender and Give up Control
Surrender is a choice, a choice of the person surrendering to “give up control.” True surrender isn’t a forced act. It’s not mindless, but rather a conscious choice to let go and give leadership to someone else—someone who is stronger, more capable, and more powerful than you and me. And it’s actually good news! In my case, I felt invisible weights fall from my body at the point I surrendered my way for His.
Getting to a place of true brokenness—not just being miserable, but being broken—gets us to a place where we are ready to take the next key step: surrender.
Ego and Pride
So, after 40+ years of doing it my way, why did it take me so long to surrender? There were two things in me that kept me relying on my own power. EGO and PRIDE. There is a lot of talk a lot about pride, self-centeredness, and ego because it’s the real root of our issues. There is an acronym I’ve heard several times to remind us of what EGO stands for: Edging God Out.
We can get so full of ourselves (we all do) that there’s no room for God. We start thinking, I really am the center of the universe. I think it’s why the Bible says that God detests pride; it keeps us from experiencing his love, his acceptance, his power, and his leadership, which he knows could change everything. Humility is the only way to defeat pride and ego, we have to quit playing God and choose to surrender to his care and control. It is hard to do the first time, but it can and will become part of your story if you let it.
Level 2- Surrendering
Surrender begins with you being willing to believe that there is a God who is stronger than you. A God who is more powerful than you. A God who has the ability to rescue you and give you the power to breathe again. Like many, I was willing to give God most of my life, but not all of it. That little part of my life that I wanted to manage eventually toppled my whole world.
This simple (it will be hard) willingness to believe changes the focus of your life. It begins to free you from the ever-tightening cycle of self-absorption and will start to point you to help beyond your own inadequate strength, toward God’s strength.
I’ve learned that if you are entirely ready to surrender your life and your will to the loving care and control of Jesus, then your sin, which is the really huge deal, will be forgiven, and you will start the process of becoming a new person who can walk free in the power and unfailing love of God.
The greatness of a man or woman is determined by the measure of their surrender. When you FULLY surrender, God moves in, and you will finally have the right person in charge of your life and the right kind of power it takes to change.
Give God Control of Your Life
I had to come down off my throne of managing my life and give God the control. I had to quit Edging God Out, had to drop my pride, and ask Jesus Christ to forgive my sin and lead my life.
Has my life changed? Absolutely! Has it been hard? Sometimes, but God is there to guide me and help me. I surrender myself every day because he is a God who loves me.
The path to humility isn’t hard, it’s a daily simple prayer like “My life is yours, Lord. I surrender. Do with me what you please.” As a result, you will begin to walk free. If you’ll choose to surrender and relinquish control, you can go from prideful to humble daily.
5 Ways to Heal from Brokenness and Misery
1. Make amends with those you have wronged and have wronged you.
This may be a conversation, a letter, or you telling God you release that person. Someone who wronged us may not know how we feel and bringing up the issue may not be worth the anguish. Also this person may have passed.
2. Remember that forgiveness is not forgetting.
You really can’t forget everything. Hurts leave scars and sometimes even constant daily reminders because of the circumstances in which their actions have placed you. Forgiveness is not saying, “It’s no big deal.” It was a big deal. It hurt. Don’t minimize it or rationalize it.
3. Remember that forgiveness is not a feeling.
Forgiveness is a choice, a decision of your will. You don’t wait until you feel like forgiving. It’s a decision to surrender to the authority and leadership of God. To do this is a step of obedience. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. For even more clarity on forgiving, read “10 Things Forgiveness is Not” here.
4. Let Go and Let God.
“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.Romans 12:17–19
5. Pray for yourself to be open to Gods direction daily in your life.
I hope this helps you understand that brokenness, surrender, humility and forgiveness go hand-in-hand, and can help you have greater focus in your relationship with God and with others. I hope it has helped answer your question, “what is the difference between being broken and being miserable?”
To find out how you can be healed by Jesus Christ, we invite you to watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU video on this page.
May God bless you and keep you.