How quick are you to talk about your brokenness? If you’re like me, it’s probably not your natural inclination. It’s hard to let others into our mess. It’s hard to admit we don’t have it all together, that we’re lonely, frustrated, overwhelmed, struggling in sin, that our kids are out of control or that work is unfulfilling—it’s hard to be real with people, even our closest friends, and maybe especially with our church family.
There’s a part of me that hides behind the pithy, “I’m doing fine, thanks,” response because it’s easy. Does that person who passed me in the hallway at church really want to know how I’m doing? Or was that just the obligatory, “How are you?” that I myself am often guilty of asking, void of any real concern.
There’s also this enormous pressure I feel to have it all together. I’m a Christian, supposed to be sanctified and transformed by Jesus… but most days I feel so totally unchanged. And with all these great articles, bible studies and “spiritual growth” classes on “5 Steps to a Better Marriage” or “6 Ways to Get More Out of Bible Study,” there’s no good excuse for not having it all together, right? While I’m great about giving grace and sympathy to other’s struggles, letting my own issues out there requires painfully prying off the pride and “image” I’m trying to maintain to let the real me show.
Elisa Morgan, in her letter to the North American Church, is praying that we as a Church let go of our pride and perfect images and embrace our brokenness:
“Problem is, I’m broken. Everybody is. Even God’s family was broken – beginning with Adam and Eve and moving forward to you and me.
I’ve come to discover that God offers hope in the form of “broken family values”—values like commitment, humility, courage, reality, relinquishment, diversity, partnership, faith, love, respect, forgiveness and thankfulness.”
Contrast those broken family values with what the “perfect family” might value: achievement, conformity, appearance, fitting in, productivity, wealth, status.
It’s easy for me to look at those two lists and know the “right” values to pick. I want to value humility, partnership, thankfulness—I want to value the things that broken people value, that God values. But that means learning to embrace and express my brokenness.
As Elisa says, “In order to reach the broken in our world, God himself broke, allowing his own Son to die a broken death on a cross for us.
He brings beauty in the broken. God loves the broken. God uses the broken.
So, North American Church, what if we move away from the myth of the perfect family and toward the reality of our beautifully broken ones?
Might we then breathe air clean of the stench of shame and saturated with the grace of God?
And might others find in us, not the exhausting chasing of some impossible dream but fresh hope for the real life they are living?”
For more on embracing our brokeness, check out:
Kelly Givens is the editor of iBelieve.com.