What’s Broken is Not Beyond Repair

January 19, 2016 | 34 comments

One of the things that irritates me most is my tendency to suffer from spiritual regression. If you see me talking about “re-remembering what I re-forgot,” you know that I’m recovering, once again, from spiritual regression.

It happened again the other day when, in a group of friends, I felt on the outside. It happens from time to time, and the usual trigger for me is the nagging sense that I’m not competent enough. Then, I overcompensate, trying to appear smarter than I am, and I end up making a fool of myself.

What’s really happening here is a loss of identity. It is blatant insecurity. At its core, insecurity is rooted in a case of mistaken identity. My most important identity of all is this: child of God. But I forget. You, too?

I am not proud to tell you these things, because they dismantle the version of “me” that I want you to see. But yet, I want to tell you, for three reasons:

1 – I feel lighter in the confessing.
2 – If you’re struggling with your own case of mistaken identity, now you know you’re not alone. I’m right there with you.
3 – If I don’t share from the deepest parts of me, you’ll never find me credible.

When I realized that I was up to my old tricks of believing wrong things, I remembered the Broken Windows Theory. Have you heard of it?

I first heard about the Broken Windows Theory many years ago when I worked the cops beat for a newspaper in Omaha. The mayor and police chief were initiating a new community policing strategy, and it will built on the Broken Windows Theory. The theory goes like this: If a window is broken and left that way, people will assume that no one cares and that no one is in charge. The theory says one broken window leads to two. One littered sidewalk will lead to two. One graffiti-sprayed wall will lead to more.

Under the Broken Windows Theory, the littlest things matter a lot.

I had some broken windows inside of me. The windows hadn’t been repaired in a while. I could tell you all the excuses: all the hustle, all the busy, the emergencies, the sicknesses. I was too busy or too distracted to fix the broken windows — or to call in the Repairman. When I wasn’t paying attention, more windows started breaking, and they started to affect how I feel about who I am. I started to read the bad graffiti spray-painted on my insides.

Then, I re-remembered what I re-forget. I reoriented myself toward my truest identity when I wrote these words inside of my daughter’s new ESV Bible: “You’ll read a lot of books in your life ahead. May you hold the Bible closest of all. God is the author of your story, Lydia. Believe what He says about you.”

I wrote the words to Lydia, but the Holy Spirit repeated them back to me:

“Believe what I say about you.”

The breaker of windows is crafty, you know?

Clear back in Genesis 3, the breaker of windows is a snake who speaks these words, “Did God actually say…”

Those four words have broken a lot of windows. So often, those are the words that the enemy uses so that we will distrust God’s truth. God is repairing windows in me this week. He is reminding me to stay grounded in the truth of His Word, so that when the enemy says to me, “Did God actually say …” I can respond with authority:

“Yes, he did actually say.”

I don’t know what your broken windows look like today. But they are not beyond repair. Call on the One who can fix them.

Your Turn: Tell me about a broken window in your life. How can I pray for you?



Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Katharine Barrett. The story about her little one calling for help – simply because He wanted to chat and be near her – is so sweet! Find Katharine here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer

If you liked the post, you’ll love the message of Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval–and Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. 

by | January 19, 2016 | 34 comments


  1. Debbie Putman

    I am dealing with broken windows right now. What I thought was discontent was really forgetting who I am in Christ is enough. Thank you for this image. It will linger.

    • dukeslee

      Dear Lord,

      Please be near to Debbie today. Repair the brokenness. Together, we cup the broken pieces in our hands and lift them to you. Amen.

  2. Katharine Barrett

    And the one who loves us, does such wonderful repair work! Thank you for featuring my post this week!

    • dukeslee

      It is my pleasure, Katherine. We will get you in the sidebar shortly. Grateful for you and your writing.

    • Nancy Ruegg

      “The one who loves us, does such wonderful repair work.” Katherine, that is Spirit-inspired brilliance! Thank you for that!

  3. Susan

    Jennifer, I’ll be linking up tomorrow but I want to tell you, Holy Spirit is weaving a thread through posts. My blog title for tomorrow is, JESUS SAID! Nothing can thwart the plans of our God. Nothing, no one. Great post and I am going to re-remember what I re-forgot!!!

    • dukeslee

      Oh Susan! I’m so happy to hear this. I hope I get a chance to pop over and read your post. God is on the move, eh? xo

  4. Ally | The Speckled Goat

    Oh, friend- this describes me so well! When I’m insecure, I talk and talk and talk… and get myself into heart trouble and regret the words that came out of my mouth. Ugh. Thank you for the re-reminder (hee hee) that the Truth is available to me. =)

    • dukeslee

      Oh my word. I’m so happy you “get” me. We are kindreds, my friend.

      • Ally | The Speckled Goat

        Oh, I totally “get” you. And we should hang out sometime and be all awkwardly chatty together. 😉

  5. Kristen Lee Barkdull

    I needed this today! I have been struggling lately with not feeling good enough. I have read your book. I am thinking I need to go back and write down some of the quotes I highlighted to help me. Any other advice?

  6. Anita

    I love this, Jennifer! I get that ‘not enough’ feeling when I’m at conferences ;). Most of the time, I’m standing in front of a classroom of kiddos, so I feel pretty adequate (unless all 17 7th and 8th graders are having a bad day…).

  7. Mary

    I have felt the after effects of the broken window. The feeling I am not enough happens when I least expect it. I can be fine one minute and then this feeling overwhelms and overtakes. I love that the Master Window repairer is always available to fix us but more importantly that He never once thinks we are not enough. Great analogy today!

  8. Trudy Den Hoed

    Wow, Jennifer! Thank you for being so open and honest. Yes, I so empathize with that loss of identity and have to continually re-remember I am truly God’s beloved child. The Broken Window Theory is so insightful. Thank you for telling us about it and encouraging us in calling our Repairman before too many of them build up.

  9. Kristi Woods

    Broken window sufferer here as well. It’s that identity crisis thing. Your transparency and authenticity is evidence of His repair work. Related to and enjoyed today’s post, Jennifer.

  10. Brenda

    Always much to re-learn, isn’t there? Thankful for a patient and merciful God. The enemy does seem to use one “broken window” to feed others, doesn’t he. Ick…what a bully. God’s in the window fixin’ business though. 🙂 Thanks for sharing…I like the word picture. ((blessings))

  11. Betsy Cruz

    Thank you Jennifer, for sharing the broken window theory! Makes perfect sense, and boy does it have a spiritual application. This past fall, our family went through some hard times that made me wonder, “God, are you coming through here?” I’m choosing to believe what His Word says! I’m standing strong. As I choose believe, I know He’s repairing those windows.

  12. Christine Duncan

    That graffiti? So many times I see “failure” painted across the surface of certain situations, and wow, the amount of spiritual elbow grease it takes is monstrous some days more than others.
    Always grateful for the encouraging found here in your blog, Jennifer. Seriously grateful!

  13. Carly

    The broken window theory makes a lot of sense. It’s so important to constantly come back to the truth and keep reminding ourselves of it. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Karrilee Aggett

    I adore you… and I’ve been praying for you, my friend! My broken window lately has been tied to feeling like I don’t have enough time. (I know better… and yet… sometimes I forget!) So I am regaining control and repairing that window by practicing a little self care and remembering to start off my day sitting with Him! xoxo

  15. Nancy Ruegg

    You’re right, Jennifer. Of course we can “believe what he says about us!” — not to feed the ego but to feed our confidence in the One who wants what’s best for us and is always leading us in that direction. Thank you for the dose of encouragement!

  16. Crystal Hall

    I’m here with you too Jennifer. Praying for you as God repairs your broken windows and thank you for your honesty and encouragement.

  17. Anna Smit

    Oh Jennifer, how your words resonate…yes, I recognize this all too well…you are definitely not alone…Even just a few minutes ago I began belittling myself inwardly…stopped in my tracks and spoke the words: “God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son” back at myself. And you’re so right that the more we don’t “capture” these thoughts and make them obedient to Him…the more is broken and damaged within us.

    I do think difficult circumstances, like what your Dad is going through, are used by the Enemy to try to weaken us…I’ve felt it this past week with a sick daughter and getting sick myself. But what this Enemy better realize is that we are daughters of the King and He is even now interceding before the throne for us…which your post only proves! I’ve also felt His hand upon me in the Scriptures He’s brought me this past week, which have secured me in His Love. Hugs from afar from your sister in Christ.

  18. Michele Morin

    Lydia is one blessed girl. I love what you wrote in her Bible, and I so appreciate these words today. They feel like a blessing. Continually, we need to bring our brokenness to the Healer.

  19. lynn__

    Hi Jennifer, I appreciate this post and the theory inspired my simple poem (i linked back). I think WE ARE the broken windows that, hopefully, give a view into God’s house and let the Light shine through! Love in Jesus 🙂

  20. Joy Lenton

    Oh how I needed to read and receive this message today! The wily old serpent has been having a field day with my emotions lately and I’ve felt broken in every way. This is a glorious reminder that God’s truth about us is what we all need to cling to. The enemy’s lies can be defeated by seeing ourselves as God sees us and believing His word over and above the lies we’ve bought into. I’ve struggled for years in this area and it’s time to call a halt to it. Thank you, Jennifer. Your words here have helped me more than you know. Bless you for your openness. It speaks into our souls with the ring of truth and renewed insight.

  21. Kathy/holyvacationqueen.com

    oh yes, Jennifer, those broken windows, and ongoing forgetfulness that we are children of God! I think that’s why ‘remember’ appears so much in the Bible!! Love the broken window analogy!! And thankfully, we have the Great Counselor, repairer of our souls always near!

  22. Tara Ulrich

    Loved this post. I was working on a Confirmation lesson yesterday and I was sharing about the Japanese art form where they fill cracks with gold. They do this because it helps tell the story of where this jar has been. Like the clay jars, we too are called to let God’s light shine through the cracks and brokenness of our own lives.

  23. Martha Orlando

    I can certainly identify with the broken windows, Jennifer. Often times, they come in moments of doubt, the “Did God really say . . .?” doubts. But the Lord is slow to anger and quick to comfort, putting my feet on the right path once again.
    Thanks for sharing yourself so honestly and courageously here. Blessings!

  24. Jasmine @ Heart in Formation

    Gosh, thanks so much for this post! How timely and loving a message from the Maker to remind His Kids we are so loved, we matter, and it’s ok to take a break and get a window fixed…. He holds the time anyway…we won’t miss a thing! And not fixing it puts too much at risk. Bless you for sharing!

  25. Tiffany

    My broken window: believing that in order to be pleasing, I have to please everyone. It gets me in trouble and spreads me quite thin. I’m learning that my time (health, words, gifts) is precious and I need to give it away wisely and cautiously. And those words you wrote in Lydia’s bible? Put them on a bookmark, Jennifer. Sell them in your shop. I would buy two dozen to pass out to every woman I know that needs the reminder to believe what He says!! You are a blessing.

  26. Elizabeth Stewart

    I’m re-remembering some things I re-forgot this week too, mine in the area of forgiveness. Thank you, friend, for your voice of love and encouragement here.

  27. Lyli Dunbar

    I am thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who restores.

  28. Kristen Barkdull

    Mine is that I am not enough. You can add pretty much any adjective in front of good (smart, good, skinny, etc) and that will describe how I feel. Just not enough.



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