Why I Asked God to Break My Heart

Margaret —  July 25, 2014 — 24 Comments

Let me introduce you to my friend, Jennifer. Jennifer Dukes Lee  is an award-winning storyteller and a grace dweller, blogging about faith at www.JenniferDukesLee.com. She is author of the book Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval—and Seeing Yourself through God’s Eyes. Jennifer and her husband are raising crops, pigs, and two humans on the Lee family farm near Inwood, Iowa. Follow Jennifer on Twitter or Facebook.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I've invited friends to share their words in this space as we explore the mysteries of prayer during the Summer Bible Study.

Guest Post from Jennifer Dukes Lee

by Jennifer Dukes Lee

God saved my life the day I changed my prayers. I stopped asking Him to fix things. And I started asking Him to break things. Namely, my heart.

God would need to break me out of the miserable heart-prison I was trapped in.

Yeah, I was saved. But I was stuck. I would need Him to free me from every mirror, every tally sheet, every report card, everything that was telling me that I’m not (________) enough. I needed to know, down deep, that in Christ, I already was enough. I wrote a whole book about that, about how idol-factory hearts can keep Christians locked up in the punishing Prison of Not-Enough.

The key to the prison door? Prayer.

It’s the kind of prayer that looks less like a list of anything, and more like a conversation about everything. It’s deep spirit-to-spirit communion with God. It’s gut-honest confession with the divine–the kind of gritty prayer my heart longed for. This is the intimate place where God reaches into souls to remind us, again and again, who we really are. Prayer is the place where the born-again are reborn, again and again. It’s the place of second conversions, from bondage to deliverance. For me, prayer is the place where God gently unlocked my heart, by reminding me that the only life worth living is the one where everything else is counted as loss: every resume, every credential, every shred of approval that I think I need from people. Prayer is the place where God never tires of telling us that life’s not about earning anyone’s love, but believing that we already are His beloved. Like so many Christians I know, I’ve got a bossy inner critic who tells me that I must try harder, work faster, perform better. Our own hearts betray us, sending us on crusades to seek someone’s approval or someone’s applause. No one is immune.

I know mothers who think they’re not mother enough, pastors who think they’re not pastor enough. I know accomplished Christian writers who think they’re not writer enough.

One of the most famous artists in history thought he wasn’t artist enough: “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn't reach the quality it should have.” So said Leonardo DaVinci, the artist who brush-stroked the face of Jesus in the most reproduced religion painting of all time: The Last Supper. I had enough of those not-enoughs. And I went to the place where the not-enoughs go to die–the feet of my Savior. And this is what I discovered:

The secret of a vibrant prayer life means we stop asking for the fix, and we start asking for the break.

Guest post from Jennifer Dukes Lee

We stop asking Him to give us more of what our heart thinks it wants–some kind of quick fix to be enough in this world. And we start asking Him to break our hearts, to conform our will to His.

We ask Him to strip our hearts of the stuff that is crowding out Jesus. We ask Him to fill our hearts with more of Him, which is more satisfying than what our inner critics demand of us. He offers exceedingly more than we could ask or imagine.

God is not a glass half empty, or even a glass half full. He is the All in All, to the rim of your life. And then some. His faithfulness reaches to the heavens and plunges into the depths of your soul, way down to that hollow ache under your ribs. His attention is, at once, wholly on everyone, yet undividedly on you. God is "entirely faithful." –Psalm 89:8

And even when He breaks, He mends.

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Jennifer Dukes LeeTo read more from Jennifer, pick up a copy of her latest book, Love Idol, here.

We all want someone to think we’re sensational. We desire to be recognized, to be valued, to be respected. To be loved. Yet this natural yearning too often turns into an idol of one of God’s most precious gifts: love itself.

In this poignant and hope-filled book, Jennifer Dukes Lee shares her own lifelong journey of learning to rely on the unconditional love of God. She gently invites us to make peace with our imperfections and to stop working overtime for a love that is already ours. Love Idol will help us dismantle what’s separating us from true connection with God and rediscover the astonishing joy of a life full of freedom in Christ.


This week, we're giving away 2 copies of Jesus Culture Music's Unstoppable Love CD/Blu-Ray/DVD.

Unstoppable-Love_Drop-400x400Sacramento, CA-based Jesus Culture, directed by Banning Liebscher, is a ministry mobilizing a generation of revivalists and reformers who will shape culture and transform nations. It was formed organically through the momentum of a movement whose focus is to equip a generation to transform society by bringing people into an encounter with God’s love through worship and discipleship. Jesus Culture Music albums capture the heart of this movement. 

To date, the Jesus Culture band has recorded ten albums and released a total of 21 projects on their music label, including Jesus Culture Unstoppable Love

To win, leave a comment on the original blog post at MargaretFeinberg.com. The three winners will be selected and announced on Friday.

Congratulations to the winners: Tasha, 

How has prayer transformed your life?

24 responses to Why I Asked God to Break My Heart

  1. A double bonus… You two ladies together… I relate to your words here Jennifer… I lived for tooooo long in the world of not enough… But thanks be to God… His love always is there to woo us to a better place… To this place right here… “God is not a glass half empty, or even a glass half full. He is the All in All, to the rim of your life” blessings and grace to you both!!!

  2. wow this made me cry.

  3. Heather Marsten July 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I am grateful that God breaks us – I needed to learn that I had to rely on Him, not do things my own way. Only when I trusted God was I able to heal. It took brokenness to help me to let Him in. Until I knew God as loving Father, I kept a facade of control – as a child control meant the difference between living and dying (not exaggerating). God needed me broken so I could hand the controls over to Him. Thanks for sharing this post.

  4. Jennifer, it’s a joy and delight to see you here and to read this beautiful post! You touch on things our souls desperately need ~ heart surgery from the Chief Physician Himself. There is so much to ponder, reflect on and digest that it’s a challenge to pull out any one thing in particular. I was stuck by the whole of it, the breadth, depth and heart of it. My heart wants the change you describe here, even though it’s no quick-fix operation.
    Yet as we yield, open our hearts and minds to receive, enter deeper into God’s presence, then these changes will be wrought over time and be all the more lasting for the chipping away of our dependence on people-approval and increasing our dependence on Him alone. As always, I am awed and blown away by your wise perception and the expression of your heart’s desire to follow more closely after God’s own heart. You bless me. Thank you. 🙂

  5. That story of DaVinci is amazing. Usually when i meet the “not enough” people, they are the same ones I admire and look up to. And I am amazed at their insecurity. I like having a little edge — a little motivation to keep me going. But it’s easy to tip over into the self loathing — which is really a denial of God’s work in you.

  6. Soul-to-soul communication and intimacy, that’s right!

  7. Jennifer,
    I so appreciate God’s timing, and your obedience. Since confessing Broken as my one word last year, I’ve learned to lean and depend upon God. I didn’t ask for the break, but I’ve never once asked for the fix. I know so doing might make be believe I could do anything on my own. Thank you for these words, at a time when I needed them most.
    Keep praising God with your words, and never stop chasing His Grace, His Peace, and your dreams.

  8. Beautiful, Jennifer! Your words reminded of a huge turning point in my own journey when my constant prayer was “Lord, change my heart. Make your desire my desire too.” I was struggling with addiction at the time and I knew what the Lord wanted me to do and my heart was far from being on board. It was a powerful prayer and God did some amazing things. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Jennifer,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story and helping people to break free from themselves. Your story is so similar to mine. It took a literal encounter with Jesus to break off my own misconceptions of myself. Now my life is forever changed where I am comfortable in my identity and I know the depths of His love for me.
    I’ve been planning to write a book on my testimony, and you just pushed me over the edge! All in God’s timing, right?
    Blessings to you & your family!

  10. Oh Jennifer,

    This post is speaking directly to my heart these days. I am learning to pray that God would keep me in the “brokenness” until He see’s the restoration through. Thank you for these truth filled words!

  11. thank you for your book. i look forward to reading more as soon as i can get a copy. thank you for writing on this much overlooked topic.

    janice larenas

  12. Giving myself a break. Breathing a sigh of relief as I read that I’m not the only one who needs to give herself a break from not being enough.

  13. This really hit a nerve with me, seems like I disappoint myself all the time because I can’t achieve perfection in the pursuit of everyone’s approval.

  14. Love love love Jesus culture!

  15. I will definitely be reading this book very soon. I am in full time ministry, and I work with many single moms who struggle with so many “not enoughs.” Truthfully, I struggle with the tension of knowing I am the beloved of The Lord and still have my own “not enoughs.” I am looking forward to reading and being encouraged to set those “not enoughs” down forever.

  16. chasity bass-bergeron July 29, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Prayer is the most important thing I do. It allows me to thank God for everything He has blessed me with. It allows me to lift up my friends and family to the Lord for healing and salvation. I can also find forgiveness with repentance. Most of all it allows my relationship to grow and allows m to hear God speak into my life. I Know No Matter What I Can Pour My Heart Out And He Will Speak Over Me Or Calm My Heart. Prayer Is Vital In The Life of A Christian. 🙂

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  2. Four Transformational Links - Transformational Fiction - July 30, 2014

    […] 2. “God saved my life the day I changed my prayers. I stopped asking Him to fix things. And I started asking Him to break things. Namely my heart.” – See more at: Margaret Feinberg […]

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