Tell me I am not the only one that gets swept away in the laundry list of things that need to get done: the tasks, the details, the plans. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love those things. I love my schedules, to-do lists, planning and focusing on the details (sometimes to a fault). I can get hyper-focused on the small things and miss what is really happening at the core.
Recently I have had the blessing of sharing my story with many individuals, groups, and churches. It has been amazing and fruitful, but at the same time it has been quite exhausting both physically and emotionally. The story that I get to share does not just include the mountains of my life but also the valleys. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always like sharing my past with others. It’s messy, painful and at times ugly. Even though sharing my past can be uncomfortable, it is not possible to talk about it without also telling of the amazing, saving grace of Christ.
Now that I have a break in all the busyness, I have a chance to sit back and reflect on the past couple months. I think of those people I have spoken with, those I have prayed for, and even those I have cried with. Sometimes because I get so focused on the details and the perfection of everything, I can easily get distracted from the reason(s) that God put me in a specific situation at a specific time in the first place.
These past months have truly been a blessing. I have had the privilege of sharing tears with a friend over coffee, having a morning phone conversation in my P.J.’s, and even bringing my past out in the open in front of a church-full of people. All these interactions can blur together or can easily be passed over if I do not slow down or take the time to reflect on these experiences.
What a beautiful thing it is that through this journey I get to sit with people during their times of hurting, being lonely, and crying out to God.
As I sit here and think of how to best summarize these past few months, the theme of brokenness keeps coming to my mind. We are all broken. We are all searching for something to fill us, to fill that void in our lives when, in reality, there is only one thing, one person that can fill that hole and that person is Jesus. For the bad news of brokenness, we have the Good News of Jesus Christ. Here is the picture that came to my mind…
Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.
All of us are broken pieces of pottery. We were created (on purpose I might add) by the Potter. Then life happens. We crack and break and fold under the tension of our circumstances. Tragedy strikes, addiction takes over, relationships end. We continue to absorb the pains of life and our pottery gets more beaten and bruised as time goes on. Just think, since the start of our lives we have been accumulating cracks, bumps, and bruises. My pottery is stained, broken, cracked, bruised, sensitive, you name it; but thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.
He comes into our lives and gladly enters the areas of pain and brokenness. He comes for those who are sick and need a doctor; for those who are sinners (Mark 2:17). Jesus is the gold or silver lacquer in this illustration. He enters our brokenness and makes us whole. He makes us beautiful. He makes us a new creation.
Yes, I have struggles, and yes I have a past that sometimes hurts, but aren’t we more beautiful for having been broken? With Jesus, we can say “Yes, I am broken, but I have what makes me whole” and that is Jesus. When we talk about our cracks we need also to talk about Jesus. There is not one without the other.
Scripture gives an example of the Pharisees being like white-washed tombs that were beautiful on the outside but full of death and uncleanliness on the inside. Well, I have some questions I’d like to pose:
What if we lean into those cracks?
What if we openly share about our brokenness?
What if we are transparent about how our pottery is shattered and how we, ourselves have tried to act as the Potter?
To be honest, whether it’s with an individual or a church full of people, I always get a little nervous to share my struggles, my brokenness, and my past. Will they judge me? Will they think I am fit to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth? The good news is that my story doesn’t end with the guilt or the shame of my past. My story ends with Jesus.
Even though the details and plans are important and have their place, I would argue that it is more important to see the brokenness and the beauty that Jesus brings into that brokenness. He can use anything to bring people to Him. Maybe God wants to use your brokenness to bring someone else into the kingdom? What if we allow God to use those spaces that we have blocked off or tried so hard to forget? What if we freely give God the painful areas of our life?