Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives?
~~~ Henri Nouwen
Brokenness is something we all face in our lives. We experience brokenness in our relationships, lack of success, health problems and many other situations that we face. Having difficulties and struggles is a part of living, and no one is exempt. Those who cry without ceasing to be spared become depressed and paranoid, they begin to feel that they are always being singled out or persecuted. Such attitudes lead to an unhealthy state of brokenness.
Henri Nouwen says, “In a strange way the spiritual life isn’t “useful” or “successful,” but it is meant to be fruitful. And fruitfulness comes out of brokenness.” What a great concept- fruitfulness comes out of brokenness! Life could be so much better for all of us if we embraced that remarkable idea. The scripture teaches us that we must surrender ourselves to our creator in order to find truth and life. Essentially, we must be broken to the idea that we are capable of being totally self-sufficient. How can we turn brokenness into fruitfulness? Here are a few thoughts.
Perhaps a good way to understand the function of brokenness is to accept our own frailties. It seems that all of us strive to be the best at all we do. When that does not happen, we just fall apart. Most of us have a hard time accepting that we cannot do everything. We are not all going to be great artists or scientists, but through our broken dreams we can discover our true selves. It is by suffering the frailties of our being that we come out of the other side and become fruitful. As we become fruitful at the window of brokenness, we begin to offer blessing to others who are experiencing frail moments in their lives.
Rise everyday believing that God has the best in store for you. This is a hard one. When we walk through the valley of the shadow of death it is almost impossible to believe God is with you, but he is. This is an especially important piece of the puzzle. We must believe that our creator has great things in store for us. He does not abandon us when we are broken but is the one who carries us through. His love shows us how to walk through our valley of brokenness knowing he has great things in store for us.
We must learn to practice the art of self-love. Many people believe that self-love is the same as selfishness. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are created in the image and likeness of God. It would be quite arrogant to suppose that we are equal to God or, conversely, worthless. Many people spend their lives trying to “prove” themselves and reap a great deal of misery for it. We think that our failures and disappointments are signs that we are worthless. They are perhaps definitive signs that we have not loved ourselves as God has loved us. We have not given due love and respect to who we are in God’s eyes. He created us for beauty and fruitfulness. We need to be broken down enough to see that and love ourselves as God loves us.
Brokenness can be a hard concept to accept when we are not experiencing it, but an understanding of the role of brokenness in our lives can be lifechanging. God allows us to walk through this time of brokenness to temper us to be ready for the wilds of the world that we experience every day. He is there to strengthen us and guide us through the weakest and darkest times of our lives. These dark times bring strength and fruitfulness. We learn so much from these moments.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Lord, As we travel through the times of brokenness in our lives let us have the trust in you that carries us through. You have given us brokenness so that we may see you in a different and greater light. We invite that light into our broken and shattered lives. We embrace our brokenness as the way that we pass through to greater times and new understanding. Comfort us this day and bring us into tomorrow.