Damaged Goods. That’s not a good label to have. No one wants to buy something that has that label. We want to buy things that are new and in perfect condition. So when you’ve been labeled, or have labeled yourself as damaged, it’s easy to feel like no one will want you. It’s easy to feel like you are somehow not as good, not as desirable as you were before. You get turned down for jobs, blown off by friends, or ignored by potential romantic partners, and you think, “Of course. Of course they don’t want me. I’m damaged.”
Maybe someone took something from you that caused you to be damaged. Someone took something from me. If it’s even a thing that’s possible to take from another person. It’s not his fault, really. I let him take it. I thought it was what I wanted at the time, but now I think I was just lonely and bored. It doesn’t really matter anymore. The point is that I’m only now starting to realize that I feel damaged.
For a while, I tried to just ignore my feelings. I’m good at that, ignoring things until they build and cause a freak-out moment. Last fall, I called the management company of the building I live in to report a clogged sink. They told me they couldn’t help me, because they had sold the building to another company. Then, I did what all grown-ups do when they have a problem. I freaked out (on the guy from the old management company, to my roommate) and called my mom.
She did her best to console me, telling me it would be fine and that not that much would change regarding the management company switch. She told me to plunge the drain and buy some Drano. Then, she asked me what else was wrong. Because she knows. She knows that I act like things are fine, let things build, and then have freak-out moments. I guess I’ve been doing it my whole life and am only now starting to notice the pattern.
That day, I was worried about getting to class on time and stressed about the job I had recently started, which I had to go to straight after class. However, this winter my freak-out moment was realizing that I’m damaged. That realization has caused an underlying, and sometimes overwhelming, sense of sadness that has uninvitedly woven its way into my life.
If my life were a romantic comedy or maybe even a hopeful indie movie, the man of my dreams would swoop in right about now to be the good guy I’ve never had. He would be the ENFP to my INTJ. He would know how to bring me back to reality when I’m stuck in my head thinking. He would force me out of my comfort zone in all the right ways and none of the wrong ones. He would fix what’s been broken in me.
Here’s the reality: no guy is going to come and fix me. He won’t fix me so that I’m not sad anymore. He won’t fix me so I feel whole and fulfilled. It just won’t happen. Life is not like a romcom or an indie movie starring a troubled, yet likable girl who meets a guy who can’t help but save her.
The movie industry has romanticized personal issues. I love watching movies, and I watch a lot of them. But if we aren’t careful, we can get unrealistic expectations about life from them. I know the only real answer to my problem, and it is a man, a man named Jesus.
Before I lose anyone who doesn’t want to read another article by a Christian girl proclaiming Jesus is the answer to everything, let me just say this: Even though I know Jesus wants to heal the damage in me, sometimes I don’t want him to. My fiercely independent personality makes me crave autonomy and to fix things on my own. If that doesn’t work, I look to other people for help. I call my mom or my best friend.
Usually, my last resort is to turn to God. And I know that’s not what He wants. He wants prayer to be the first thing I do during my freak-out moments. He wants me to go to Him with my fears, troubles, doubts, and desires surrendering them to Him, so He can work in me. This is so much easier said than done.
In my experience, prayer rarely gives quick gratification. Its answers are slower to come and more subtle in nature. God wants us to be patient, which is why He sometimes makes us wait for His answers. The problem with that is I love fast responses. If the drain is clogged, I want it fixed now. I won’t order from restaurants on Seamless that have an estimated delivery time of more than 30-40 minutes and sometimes even that is too long. I get frustrated when I email someone and they don’t respond within a day or two.
So waiting for God to answer prayers about how I feel damaged is not something I am excited about. I would rather someone, a human, come save me. In her book, Love Idol, Christian author, Jennifer Dukes Lee, says that, “The cure is in the process.”
Her context is getting free from the need for approval from the world and instead being confident in who you are in Christ, but I think it applies here. The cure to my damage is in the process of my healing. It won’t happen as quickly as I’d like, but it will happen. Your cure is in your process, too. Whatever you’re struggling with, it will take time, but you will heal.
So whether someone hurt you, someone took something from you, you lost someone, or something quite different happened to you, the reality of being damaged is you are not damaged beyond repair.