Since I wrote my last post “The Rope”, I have been trying to develop two different spiritual practices in my life. One is called the Daily Office and the other is keeping the Sabbath. So far for me, it has been a lot easier to keep the Sabbath than stop during the day for the Daily Office. If you didn’t read my last post, you can go back and read it to know what I am talking about. Basically the Daily Office helps us pay attention to God throughout the day. I find it challenging to stop what I am doing and give God a few minutes of my time. Is anyone else out there struggling with this?
Since I am a professed “doing” addict… stopping is very challenging. But, I am going to continue to move forward and show myself a whole lot of grace and keep at it! It is so important for me to pay attention to God because He deserves my attention. He deserves my time. “The man who would know God must give time to Him.” Tozer
“My way of acting should be different from the world’s way. The love of Christ must come before all else.” Scazzero This “doer” must put doing aside and spend a few minutes tending to my relationship with God. I have mentioned that I “do” because of stress and it is also my go-to coping mechanism. I am learning that because of everything that has happened to me, I have a strong urge to fix. I haven’t felt comfortable with being broken. I haven’t seen brokenness as a good thing.
I haven’t seen beauty in the broken. Frankly, I haven’t been comfortable with being a mess until now. I just have to share with you what God did for me last week. After I wrote my last post, I went back to the book “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Scazzero. While I was reading, I realized something profound. If I am to develop a “Rule of Life”, and if I am to put my love of Christ before anything else, then I have the possibility of being transformed into a gift to my family, friends, and anyone else I might come into contact with. Do you know how exciting that is to me? I want to be a gift! ( I am the child in class who is raising their hand frantically because they want to be picked by the teacher.)
That phrase “be the gift” made me think of Ann Voskamp’s book titled “be the gift.” I felt God prodding me to pick it up. And guess what Ann is so good at talking about? BROKENNESS Hang with me here. There is a direct correlation between the spiritual practices and brokenness. “You can’t help but acknowledge that He has allowed—even brought us—brokenness and suffering. Even if we can find gratitude for it, still we must discover how to move forward in it.” Voskamp
And how do we move forward in it? We develop a plan of action that enables us to rest in God and spend time with Him. And in doing these things, we can be used by Him to be a gift to ourselves and to others. I am learning that some things in life can’t be fixed. I accept that fact now more than I ever did. I can still pray for things to change, but it doesn’t always happen. God sometimes has a different and far better plan than I do. I have to accept His sovereignty and wisdom. (I know that is hard to do!)
I have seen years of destruction in my family. I have had a hard time moving forward in some of it. But I am not going to let that rule me any more. Seeds have to break down in order to grow. So do we. There is so much beauty when a seed produces a flower or whatever you are growing. The same thing happens to us. Picture a kernel of wheat being made into bread or a grape being crushed for wine. Gold being refined into a gorgeous piece of jewelry. They all have to go through a process of breaking down and so do we.
“But touch the broken and the hungry and the hurting and the thirsty and the busted, and you touch a bit of Christ.” Voskamp So why are we afraid of broken things? For me, it is the pain. I don’t just hurt, I hurt deeply. I am a 2 on the enneagram. I cry a lot! I cry over so many things that most people don’t. I am very emotional. I care deeply. I don’t like feeling hurt. Those feelings remind me of my childhood. But you know what my problem is? I have been hanging on to those feelings, not knowing what to do with them. Not realizing that I need to give my brokenness to God. That’s why taking time to be with Jesus is so important. He has a way of resetting my mind and helping me see things with a fresh perspective.
“Could all brokenness meet in the mystery of Christ’s brokenness and givenness and become the miracle of abundance? Wouldn’t that be good brokenness breaking bad brokenness? What if I made a habit of every day pressing my wounds into the wounds of Christ—could my brokenness be made into a healing abundance for the brokenness of the world? A kind of communion?” Voskamp
This is so exciting to me! Are you excited yet?? My bad brokenness (my abuse, my pain, my hurt, my sorrow) can be turned into good brokenness. Good breaking bad! Think of the seed. It has to break down to produce a flower or something else. From a broken seed, comes beauty and abundance. If I allow God to take my pain, my sorrow, my abuse and my hurt— then beauty will follow. There is beauty in the breaking.
God led me from Peter Scazzero to Ann Voskamp because He wanted me to see something both books have in common. “The very quality of our lives holds the possibility of being transformed into a gift to our families, friends and coworkers.” Scazzero Then Ann beautifully states, “Continuously make the ever-present Christ present.” Both talk about being a gift and making Christ present in our lives. I am blown away right now by the hand of God.
Look, I know it is hard to take time to spend with God. I know it is a challenge. I have more time right now than I did, but I still struggle. There are so many things to do. Places to be. People to see. I get it. But, look at what we miss out on if we don’t. Everything fades in comparison to Christ. He is so important… especially now when the world is going crazy! What if a few minutes with Him is the thing that gives you the right perspective you’ve been looking for? What if those minutes give you the peace or joy you’ve been searching for? What if those minutes keep you from doing something you shouldn’t be doing?
I have failed miserably at seeing the sweetness in being broken. “Ultimately it comes down to this, that the real cause of our trouble is failure to realize our union with Christ.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones If that doesn’t hit the nail on the head! I am not alone! You are not alone! We have God with us. From this day forward, I am going to look at brokenness differently.
There is beauty in the brokenness because God is there. There’s beauty in the mess because Jesus lives there. Union with Christ means there will always be delight in watching our lives become the beautiful butterfly from the fuzzy caterpillar. My perspective has been changed.
I am going to leave you with these words from Ann Voskamp. “Maybe you can live a full and beautiful life in spite of the great and terrible moments that will happen right inside of you. Actually—maybe you get to become more abundant because of those moments. God does great things through the greatly wounded. God sees the broken as the best and He sees the best in the broken and He calls the wounded to be the world changers. We always know how things are going to go—always for our good and always for His glory.”
Hello. My name is Laurie and I am a beautiful mess. Until next time dear friends…..