Reaching for the right word was challenging. I couldn’t quite grasp a description of how I was feeling. One word kept coming to mind. As I repeatedly brushed it aside, it came back like a boomerang.
Broken. It was one word I didn’t want to embrace. Yet, it was the right word and I needed to accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17
While this state is not easy, it is not a bad place to be in God’s economy. It’s a place that perpetuates growth, if acceptance is not denied.
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Broken aptly described what my heart was feeling, and the recognition of that truth was painful. Consultant, author, speaker, and workplace chaplain (at least that was what the new business card displayed); Shari J. Harris was not being the best person for God in the workplace. To put it more bluntly, I was not practicing what I preached. Facing my hypocritical behavior was the cause for my heartache.
Out for a lunch hour walk. I felt the punch in my gut as well as heaviness in my heart. It wasn’t a realization that I’d messed up on a single incident or exercised bad judgment a time or two. After all, my message is not that we can be perfect. I’m quick to say that we are not perfect and our real testimony is in acknowledging our imperfections and responding appropriately.
My realization that day was that I had not been making Christ-based decisions and being a witness for Christ for over a year! I suddenly realized how hooked into classically “bad” workplace behavior I’d been and for how long. I had gotten caught up in office politics, worldly goals, and had been operating out of a lack, without gratitude. My colleague and friend had gently confirmed what I knew to be true.
It had been a gradual slide – the most dangerous of all.
I took the news hard. Choking down my pride I humbly prayed for forgiveness. I vowed to turn to God for help in doing better. For I knew in my own I was helpless for the turn-around that was necessary.
God is good. Good is gracious. The next morning God knew where my heart was, how hard I was on myself, and how disappointed I was in myself. He wasn’t going to leave me there. He gave me a wonderful Scripture.
Philippians 3:13 says, Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
I needed a reminder to leave the past behind and look toward the future.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. Psalm 6:9