Distressed or Damaged?

“Look at that!” I exclaimed to my daughter. “They’re asking full price for that chest of drawers, and it’s got dinks, scuffs, and chipped paint.”

“Mom,” she replied with a sigh, amazed at my ignorance. “It’s supposed to look like that. It’s distressed.”

Apparently, distressed is the new furniture chic. It’s stylish to have peeling paint, bare wood, and scuff marks. Back in the day, when our furniture looked like that, it was either time to paint or replace it—not stick a price tag on it and sell it for twice as much as we paid for it.

Sometimes I feel distressed.

Disappointments rub the color off, and hurts dink the edges of my life. The wear and tear of life dulls my finish, and the real—less shiny—me shows through. Sometimes, betrayal takes a chunk out of me.

“Is that distressed?” I asked as I studied a table with a splintered edge.

“No, that’s not distressed,” my daughter replied, “that’s damaged.”

Some days I feel damaged, too.

Life is hard. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying. But life without faith is even harder. Sometimes, faith is the only thing that makes sense.

I cling to promises like Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

And Philippians 1:6: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.

And Exodus 14:13, Joshua 1:9, and Rev. 21:3-4: Be strong and courageous … for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

Faith tells me weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Faith tells me Christ came to heal the brokenhearted. Faith tells me God uses prayer to accomplish his will in the world. Faith tells me distressed and damaged is not discarded and defeated.

If you’re feeling distressed right now, I encourage you to approach God in prayer. Tell him how you feel. Be comforted by the knowledge that his shoulders are broad, and his arms are strong enough to carry you.

After you’ve shared your thoughts with him, allow him to speak to you through his Word. The book of Psalms is a comforting place for troubled and hurting souls. David, a man after God’s own heart, penned many of the psalms during times of doubt and searching. Finally, in the words of a pastor friend, remember, “Christianity is less about holding on to God and more about God holding on to you.”

God’s care reminds us that distressed and damaged is not discarded and defeated. Perhaps the designers have it right—distressed can be beautiful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below!

What do you do when you feel damaged or distressed.


by Lori Hatcher

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Lori is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her ministry and marriage partner, David, and best dog ever, Winston. She’s the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, and has authored two devotional books. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook (Hungry for God), Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or by email (LoriAHatcher@gmail.com).

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.