Listening to Abba: Brokeness

Brokeness

I’m broken. Not the humble kind of broken, but the defective kind of broken.

I wanted to have it all together. . . do all the right things,be a good wife, good mother, good Christian, good toastmaster. . .a model woman. I applied myself to self improvement books, expanding my mind, learning about human nature, and improving my relationships.I tried really hard to put other’s needs above my own.

For many years, even though life wasn’t perfect, it did seem rather charmed. Rick and I had good, fruitful ministry. We had nice homes, cars, schools, and opportunities. The children were well behaved and showed character.

I never really saw our brokenness. My brokenness. I realized I had faults but it’s not the same. Brokenness –defectiveness is different.

Acknowledging my brokeness is humbling because it says I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not consistent enough, I don’t have what it takes, I need help. Ouch. I need help.  Needing help is like admitting to a handicap, a limitation, a deficit. It makes me dependent on others, and that frightens me. The bottom line is, I thought if I were defective then maybe I wasn’t loveable.

The realization and owning of my brokenness has given me a new pair of glasses. Now I see! Broken people are some of the most loveable people in the world. They’re not intimidating; they’re humble and grateful.  Broken people work better with others; they realize their idea is not always the best and that their thoughts or assumptions are not always right. They realize their advice is not always wanted. 

Broken people are learners. They are quicker to offer encouragement or apologies, and they aren’t full of excuses. Being around broken people is comfortable and freeing; there are no pretenses or facades. They give space for error and growth. It’s a much more gracious way of living.

“I’m gloriously broken,” I recently said to a friend. I’m safer to be around, less critical. Who am I to point a finger? Look at what a mess I am. I’m a mess! Even as I write that I smile. I’m so okay with being a mess right now. I am a mess.

What made brokenness okay for me? Jesus.

When my marriage of 30 year crashed and burned I was forced to do some real soul searching. What had brought us to this point? Where did we go wrong? Where did I go wrong? What was my role?

Who better to do soul searching with than Jesus. “Oh Jesus,” I cried. “Help me! I’ve made such a mess of things!” I spent months sitting at the foot of the cross letting Jesus deal with me. He pointed out my sinfulness, my bondage, and my defectiveness. 

But Jesus doesn’t point out my flaws with the intention to show me how rotten and unlovable I am. No, he wants to show where the problem lies and reveal Himself, and His truth as the answer. He wants to set me free. And so Jesus and I have been doing rounds of revelation and healing at the cross.

The most wonderful thing about seeing my my defectiveness, before him – is that just when I see how utterly hopeless I am, he scoops me up and lavishly loves me. He loves me in my brokenness, and because He loves me, I’m okay.

I wonder now if it’s possible to own God’s love without owning my brokenness? I think not.

I think the next half of my life will be lived differently. It already is. I don’t have to do everything right; I’m still loved. I don’t have to be the smartest, prettiest, skinniest, most organized, extraordinary woman out there. I don’t have to strive to be better in order to be found loveable. Now I want to be better because Jesus loves me. What a relief.

I don’t have to hope my kids behave a certain way so I look good. I don’t have to explain my broken marriage (which is slowly mending). I don’t have to justify actions or lack of action. I can just be still in Jesus and let him center me. I let him provide me with the reassurances that I matter and I’m significant to Him. It’s all that really matters.

I’m not saying other people don’t count. I want to be loved and respected and admired as much as anyone. However, if that does not happen (because everyone around me is broken too, and can only offer a broken kind of love) then it’s okay. Because, Jesus is safe. Jesus is love. Jesus is truth. Jesus is King. Jesus is my friend.

In my brokenness I discovered Jesus in a way I had not known. Jesus has been waiting all these years for me to come to the end of myself. “Now,” he sighs with relief, “I can really start using you.” I’m blessedly broken.

4 comments:

  1. I am a dentist in a busy dental practice and I strive to be 'perfect.' I CAN'T make mistakes because my patients and employees depend upon me. I made a pretty big mistake last week when I forgot to tell a parent that the procedure on her daughter will be uncomfortable. The parent got really mad at me when her daughter started crying. I felt horrible. I tried to get over it and move on but I couldn't even though the patient came through the procedure just fine. It was my employees that made me feel better. They said that I gave such an air of 'perfectionism' that they were intimidated working around me. They feel more relaxed now...and so do I. By the way, the parent told me during a postop phone call that afternoon that she forgave me...so I guess I can forgive myself. You blog post made me realize that it's okay to be broken...and a lot easier to live with. Glad to hear your marriage is on the mend. I am looking forward to reading more of your blog posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to the club. Enjoy your newly found freedom. Smile.

      Delete
  2. Brokenness makes and keeps dependent on the Holy Spirit---a PERFECT place to be! The Word also says that God is nigh (near) to the brokenhearted---that's wonderful, too. Fellow, "broken" Christ--follower

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow thanks for sharing. So many people can relate. Really anyone but Christ that boosts about their righteousness rather than leans into the awesome Lord accepts His grace and mending from their brokenness is still to broken to notice. My only comment to add to your article (and maybe I just missed it) is that once you are walked through that humble valley of brokenness and the realization of all the wrong, it is important to repent, be forgiven and forgive yourself. God makes sure once you hold the key to compassion which brokenness offers you, you then can step into the protection of His cloak and He will make you whole. Gods grace makes us whole, so treat yourself as so and remember who makes you whole always. You have so much courage, from one previously broken person to another, it is an honor to serve in Gods Kingdom next to you.

    ReplyDelete