“Why has Christ-centered, spiritual community been so rare to many of our journeys? I think it has something to do with the requirement of brokenness. We would much rather be impressively intact than broken . . .” Randy Hemphill

In church we sit with smiles on our faces. During the welcome time we shake hands with those around us with smiles on our faces. We sing hymns and praise songs with smiles on our faces. We listen to the message with smiles on our faces. During prayer time we get a reprieve, time to relax and let the smiles slip. No one is looking after all! During the invitation we nod and smile. This is really good stuff – God must be speaking to someone. It certainly can’t be me! I’m smiling.

I’m fine . . .

Why is it, in church of all places, we have this great need to be fine? I sat in church many times wanting to weep. Needing to weep. But didn’t because I was afraid of what someone might think. Sitting in the presence of the Great Physician only to tell him, “I’m fine”. It became so uncomfortable for me that I couldn’t go into the sanctuary – this sacred place, this safe haven. As soon as I hit the door the urge to weep was overwhelming. And I’ve never been a ‘pretty cryer’. This weeping would have been a loud, snot inducing, mascara wrecking, ugly mess! So I kept smiling.

I was fine . . .

I didn’t want to appear broken. No. I didn’t want anyone to know I was broken. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t fine. I had built some pretty impressive walls with all those smiles. Smiles that kept me alone, afraid, unloved, unaccepted, and imprisoned by my own self loathing. And most importantly, kept everyone else out. With all of this ugliness going on in my life I didn’t need to worry about what anyone else thought! None of it mattered because I was still smiling.

I was fine . . .

In my smug ‘fineness’ I missed an opportunity to reach out to someone who needed to know it was ok to be broken. Sitting in church one Wednesday night I noticed a woman sitting a few rows behind me. Tears were falling quietly down her face. I knew God was telling me to go and put my arms around her but I didn’t. I kept looking. He kept saying “go”. I just kept looking. How many opportunities did I miss to show love to someone because I was too afraid to embrace someone’s brokenness? Because I didn’t want to admit that I too am broken. To see my own ugliness in someone elses tears. Hiding behind a facade of pride and self righteousness. And a big, fat, fake smile.

I’m fine . . . are you?

“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18


This article has 8 comments

    • Carol Vinson Reply

      Thank you so much! I am honored that you thought enough of my words to say so and confirmation that I am doing the right thing. Hope you come back and read again . . .

      By they way, LOVE Gungor too!!!!


    • Tina Thompson Reply

      Carol, another great blog. How we are so prideful that we can't let our guard down and not dare let anyone know that we may be having a hard time or completely broken. God puts us through trials and allows things to happen so that we will be more faithful to Him. But is also an opportunity to share with someone else that may be broken as well. it opens a lot of doors to minister to others.

      Just last week, one of the men in our small group was saying, that at a church he used to belong to, one of the Pastors kept saying from the pulpit how he had struggled with an addiction and how God brought him through it. The man in our group said he was tired of hearing about it. I told him that someone in the congregation needs to hear that and know that they have someone to go too. (small world, the man went to Double Oak Community Church and he was talking about Kelly!) We now go to the same church in Fairhope, AL. I told the man that there is someone listening to Kelly that is going through the same thing and they know that they can go and talk to Kelly. He understood then.

      Just like this blog, Carol, you have opened a door to share your heart and someone will read this, that really needs to read it. (Me included!!)

    • Carol Vinson Reply

      Thanks Tina! This is just more confirmation for me that I am doing the right thing. I struggle every time I am about to hit the post button – should I? Will it make a difference? Humbled to see that I am. However small it may be.

      It is indeed a small world! Hope you will continue to read.

  1. Emily Wierenga Reply

    oh carol. i love this. i am a pastor's daughter and this is something that really speaks to me. i long to see the church set free, to see it embrace brokenness and weakness and become am safe place for the hurting. bless you friend.

    • Carol Vinson Reply

      Ahhh, to find that freedom! I am still searching – and hoping someone else can find a little of it in me . . .

      Thank you for your kind words.

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