After years of counseling, changing beliefs and thought patterns and seeking God's truth, the realization happened again, "I am broken. My family is broken. Will it ever end? I need help." My husband and I had just had a fight and my emotions were raw. Pain from the past and fear for the future was filling my heart. But then I heard, "We are all broken," inside my head, and the freedom of knowing this was a human condition, not merely a Rebekah condition calmed me. "I will always need help. No one can ever be perfect. That's why there's Jesus."
Brokenness is another Christian buzz word. Unfortunately, it's a word that has been used to control people and make us continue working to achieve God's approval.
The old pulpit story goes -
A shepherd has a flock of sheep. One of his lambs continually wanders away, so he takes the sheep and breaks it's leg. Then, he carries that sheep on his shoulders until the leg heals, teaching the lamb to stay closely by his side. This is just like God, sometimes He has to break us in order for us to learn to stay close to Him.
This is garbage. God is in the business of healing, mending and transforming...THIS is His character. Sin hurts, breaks, destroys and kills. God shows mercy and grace, He redeems and revives.
No one is perfect, but yet we are culturally wired to fake it. Hollywood. Churches. Social media. Pinterest. Mommy groups. Everything appears pristine and stunning.
I was essentially trained to pretend - well, I’ll call it what it was, hypocrisy. "We are ambassadors for Christ, our church and our family. We must never give anyone reason to doubt or wonder if this is the right way to live."
For starters, God was creating and ordering this universe before I ever came into existence - He can use me, He does use me but He certainly gets by just fine without my help. God can take care of His own reputation, thank you very much. And next - the world isn't looking for more perfect people to emulate, they have enough super stars already. They're looking for real, genuine folk who are honest and actually living the morals and teachings they claim to follow.
In Grantchester Season Three, Sidney has a passionate conversation with the Arch Deacon -
"We're hypocrites, we stand up there and we preach uncertainties. If you behave like this you'll be rewarded, if you don't you'll be punished."
"We are preaching to ourselves too. We can all learn from God's words. No one expects you to be perfect."
"Yes they do! The CHURCH does. YOU do!"
"I struggle, Sidney. We ALL struggle."
"So, WHY don't we tell people that? We tell people to lead a perfect life, and when they don't...WE are the cause of the suffering. Not Satan. Not sin. We tell people they're not good enough and then have the audacity to be shocked when they try to take their own lives."
"Who tried to take their own life?"
"Oh, what do you care so long as no one finds out?"
Being fake is a pet peeve of mine. We do it all the time. We fake liking the new family at church. We fake a strong marriage in public. We fake loving motherhood. We fake having health problems, when really we just love to eat. We fake that we are confident about the choices we make for our children - vaccines or not, school type, spanking or not, organic or McDonalds. We fake we are happy. We fake that we cook all our family’s meals.
Why do we pretend? At the root is fear. We pretend so people will accept and like us. So we fit in. So we feel better about ourselves. As adults, pretending is lying. It's not a magic, fairy world with unicorns and talking Gnomes. It's flat out lying, and lying breaks one of the Commandments. It's sin.
We allow the cycle of pretending to continue when we judge one another. I judge you for your parenting style. You sense/feel that, so you say or do things differently in front of me so I think you're different - you pretend. Stop the judging, unless you are flawless.
Do they love Jesus? Do they want what is right? Are they genuinely thinking and trying? Then you need to stop judging and start loving. Healthy conversation is good. Discussing topics and sharing opinions is iron sharpening iron. Is your friend actually harming someone or sinning? (In Child-ese - A sin is anything you do, say or think that breaks God's laws.) If not, back off. We are on different paths, covered in different experiences and unique backgrounds but with a common goal - JESUS. Stop comparing, judging and being cliquish.
Circling back to the topic...
When we chose to accept the fact that we are going to make mistakes - little or big - that our children are going to make mistakes, we can lose the "Holier than Thou" attitude and help end the cycle of shame and manipulation.
Brokenness is not a spiritual season or in-filling we receive...humans are flawed beings, end of story. We are capable of great things, good or bad. We can build or destroy. God made us in His image. He delights in us. He loves us beyond measure.
I was not born broken. But I was born with a desire to please myself at any cost. This is a reason sin creeps in. Sin breaks things.
What if brokenness isn't a "state" that God brings us to? What if brokenness is a way of thinking? Maybe brokenness simply means - "I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am human." This allows us to give grace and love to others, and ourselves. We can rest in the knowledge that Jesus came for messed up humans and the He knew that ahead of time. He loves us, no matter what.
Instead of asking God to "break" you or asking Him to "bring you to brokenness", why not just constantly live in a way that we know we have not and never will "arrive?" There is nothing you can do to "fix" yourself - that's the Holy Spirit's job. There is nothing you can do to keep your child on the straight and narrow - that's the Holy Spirit's job.
The Bible is my roadmap, giving the tools and wisdom I need as I navigate life’s choices. The Holy Spirit is speaking truth and guiding me. Jesus is there, by my side, as I rely on Him to pick up the pieces of my life and rebuild them into a magnificent masterpiece. You see, brokenness is about learning to daily trust Christ for our everything.
Live in the confidence that you are loved and cherished - no matter how many mistakes you make. Daily rely on Jesus, keep Him first and foremost in all the little things. Jesus Christ alone can put all the broken pieces of life together into a story that spreads the Gospel of Peace to the world.