Brokenness seems to be trending within our culture. I see and speak to so many men and women who feel broken, who cannot escape their past hurts, feel defeated, and who have lost all hope of joy and happiness. Sometimes the cards we are dealt feel unfair, and in those moments we feel alone and overwhelmed. Brokenness is no joke; it causes us to feel doubt, to feel guilty, our insecurities arise, we lose our joy, and we lose our focus.
I’ve been there. (I think most of us have at one point or another). Whether we were heart broken after a divorce or hard breakup, or one of our parents walked out on us and left a void in our lives. The list of how brokenness can apply to our lives can seem endless at times. The feeling of brokenness can cause us to lose hope and trust in the Lord and in His goodness if we are unable to find Him in the midst of it.
Let me tell you about a time in my journey ; a time when I had to come face-to-face with feelings of brokenness. I was once engaged. I was young, just graduated college, and everything seemed to be working out exactly as I had always planned; ever since I was a young girl. I felt like I was on top of the world and that nothing could possibly go wrong. Wedding plans were falling into place, my fiance would be back from Afghanistan within a couple months, I was working on my Masters, and we were ready to start our life together. I was walking on my “perfect” timeline and everything was was falling into place just like I had planned…or so I believed. It appeared that everything was going as scheduled, except a large part of me felt out of place. The feelings of discontentment and doubt were so intense that it would leave me in tears. I had no idea why I was feeling this way; my life was going just as I wanted, but I started to doubt my timeline and doubt my feelings.
I remember one night just feeling the need to come to the feet of Jesus; to just sit and listen. It was in that time of prayer and silence that it hit me, and it hit me hard! I was living out the timeline and the path I wanted for myself; I neglected to align myself with Gods timeline for my life.
The days and months following that night were definitely hard. God revealed to me that night that the man I was engaged to, the man I was planning to spend the rest of my life with was not the man He had for me to marry. It was such a strong feeling; it was overwhelming. The doubt within my heart started to make sense over the next couple days as I grew closer to the Lord and the plans that He had for me. I prayed and pleaded for God to change His mind, but He knew He had something greater planned for both myself and the man I was engaged to. After a month of prayer, I ended up calling off my engagement. I went down a road of confusion, brokenness, and unhappiness. Even though I had peace in walking away from that relationship- I allowed my joy to falter. It was hard for me to let go of my timeline, and as the days passed my timeline seemed to slowly diminish into the past.
My “brokenness” in that period of my life was due to my lack of faith, my lack of security, and my lack of joy. I learned that when we go through times of what feels like brokenness- it’s actually a time of molding, shaping, and growing. Jesus calls us to come to Him for healing, to just sit at His feet, and have faith. He will heal the pain and allow us to grow stronger than we had been. He is the only One who can take all those pieces that are shattered all over and mold it back into a beautiful masterpiece. One that is complete in Him, and one that is more beautiful than anything we could have dreamed (or put on some timeline).
James is one of my favorite books of the Bible. For whatever reason, God woke me up at 3:30am to spend time with me this morning- and He brought me back to the book of James. While trials are hard, and the brokenness of this world is hard- we should never consider ourselves to be broken especially when we call God, the Creator, our Heavenly Father. We are complete in Him. It is in those moments of drawing closer to Him that we are able to see the joy in the brokenness.
James 1:2-3 says “…count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance”. God wants to make us complete and perfect in Him, not in our desire for perfection or in our timelines of how our lives ‘should’ play out. It was in my brokenness that I realized that God doesn’t leave us to fend for ourselves, He steps onto the battleground with us ready to face whatever lies ahead.
After calling off my engagement, I had to spend months refocusing, and resting on Psalm 51:10. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me”. David understood. He knew that trying to live out our own timeline and lives without God will only lead to brokenness. Like David, we need to ask God to cleanse us from the inside out. To rid ourselves of life’s expectations and to clear out our hearts for new thoughts and desires; ones that align with the Lord of our lives.
One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my 30 years of life is that when trials come (and ohh they will come), is that God is stretching us and molding us into a better version of ourselves.