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The Broken

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of being “broken.” We inevitably get bruised and scarred in the journey of life. Our hearts get broken, maybe our bodies. Does that change the course of our lives? Possibly. Probably. Does that mean you have less value or worth, though? Ann Voskamp proposes that “maybe our hearts were made to be broken. Broken open. Broken free,” because “[m]aybe the deepest wounds birth deepest wisdom,” (Voskamp 2016, p. 24). Maybe our broken places let love, light, and wisdom in. Maybe we become our best selves because of the brokenness within? Think about your own life…do you think this could be true? What an interesting paradigm shift if it is.

I thought about some of the people I have admired in my life, people I may have modeled myself after or aspired to be like. Were those people perfect? Of course not. Then why do I expect myself to be? I don’t know…..I’d like to share with you some people you may have heard of who are far from perfect, yet lived their lives rather perfectly in spite of that fact. These men and women rose above their adversity to achieve great success.




Franklin Roosevelt

President of the United States

Paralyzed from the waist down by polio before he was elected

Frederick Douglas

Leader of the abolitionist movement, dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing, a living counter-example to slaveholders’ argument that slaves were not intelligent

Born into slavery, violence, separated from his parents, and taught himself to read

Albert Einstein

His name is synonymous with genius because of his intelligence. He was a Nobel prize-winning physicist.

Had a learning disability and had to be homeschooled because the schools wouldn’t educate him.


Well-known Biblical figure, given the 10 commandments, and leader of the Israelites for 40 years after they escaped slavery

Adopted as an infant, believed to have a speech disorder. Also committed murder as an adult

Victor Frankl

Wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning,” one of the 10 most influential books in America. It sold over 10 million copies and was translated into 24 languages in his lifetime.

Imprisoned by Nazis in concentration camps. He lost his wife and children during that time, they were killed by the Nazis.

Tom Cruise

Actor who has won 3 Golden Globes and been nominated for 3 Academy Awards. He is Hollywood’s highest paid actor.

Born into poverty to an abusive father

Marsha Linehan

A professor, author, psychology researcher and psychotherapist. Developed DBT therapy, a model that is very successful in treating Borderline Personality Disorder, mood disorders, and PTSD, among other issues.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child. Actually has borderline personality disorder. Was treated with electroconvulsive therapy, seclusion, and medication, and hospitalized for a time in her childhood.

Sylvester Stallone

One of Hollywood’s most successful actors, starred in and wrote the three Oscar winning movie Rocky

Born with partial paralysis of his face due to the use of forceps during his delivery, this caused his unique look and sometimes slurred speech

Oprah Winfrey

Wealthiest African American of the 20th century, greatest Black philanthropist in American history, most influential woman in the world

Born in poverty, raised in the inner-city, raped at age nine, pregnant at 14

What are your "flaws," "defects," or "broken places"? We all have them. What is it you dream of doing that you are afraid to try, for fear your brokenness makes you "unqualified"? I propose the idea that there is no such thing as broken in humanity...per the typical definition of the word:




having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order

OR (of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.

I believe things can "no longer be in working order." But if you are alive, breathing, thinking, and existing...I would venture to say you are still "in working order." If people can function and be successful without any limbs (like Nick Vujicic, pictured below), completely paralyzed (like Stephen Hawking), blind, deaf, and mute (like Helen of my personal idols), then how can we let betrayal, abuse, misfortune, or other circumstances stop us from living a joyful and fulfilled life? I don't know about you, but I'm going to keep trying to live my dreams no matter what. If they can do it, so can I. If they can do it, so can YOU!!! “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps.147:3 References: Spodek, Joshua. "12 Incredibly Successful People Who Overcame Adversity." Inc Magazine, Winter 2017-2018. Retrieved from: Voskamp, Ann. The Broken Way: a daring path into the abundant life. Zondervan, Michigan. 20

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