When I think about what brokenness means, I think about how I feel when everything in my life is going great, and the feeling that I have when something, or someone interrupts that feeling of greatness. If I'm being honest, this feeling of greatness is the equivalent to me experiencing a time in my life when hardship is virtually nonexistent.
It's like standing very still while wearing a pair of beautfiul heels (like the kind I used to wear before I had my son :) ) and someone who doesn't know how hard it is to stand on those bad boys gives you an old atta boy on the shoulder. You smile, and it slowly wavers just a little and ultimately turns into a shriek of anguish as you realize that your balance is gone and you're about to hit the floor. I don't think we'll ever be in a position where brokenness comes to us as anything but this. Why? Because no matter our circumstances, we always expect the best and we never settle for what we don't want to happen because we think we can will, think, dream, hope and pray ourselves into the results we want. If you're on a wall with Jesus, you can go ahead and smile, because we know that what we want does not matter! It's not our will we're here to fulfill, it is His.
I think we feel broken because of how we pray. Or better said, I think we are broken BECAUSE OF HOW WE DON'T PRAY. When we are feeling defeated and lost we tend to think of ourselves in a way that makes us feel worthless. While in one of these moods myself recently, I made a list of all the ways I felt broken and it made me think of every area in which I felt less than what I thought I should have. Here are a few...
BROKEN relationships...BROKEN feelings...BROKEN attitude...
BROKEN expectations...This isn't how "this" aspect of my life is supposed to be. But why can't I change it? BROKEN dreams...I have support, but not from the people I need (want??) it from the most. Why do I allow this to effect my dreaming??? BROKEN hope...I will never be able to do...(insert everything I'm excited to accomplish here) BROKEN body...Why can't I motivate myself to eat better and take care of myself?
Do you see how down in the dumps that list is? Ugh. SO, when I'm praying, how do you think I pray about these things? I pray for these things to get better (according to what I think would make them better), I question God about what I should be doing, changing, fixing, etc., to make a long story short, there is a lot of "me" and "I" involved.
I didn't really have an endgame for this post when I started, but as I've been writing, I do have an answer. Eureka! :) This is how His Spirit works within me, but that's a whole other post!
Here are a few things I think we all need to do during these times when we're feeling broken in spirit and so many other aspects of our lives.
1) Accept our brokenness, but do not allow ourselves to wallow in it. I'm a wallower (is that a word???) I like to wallow, wallow some more, cry, pout, think about a multitude of "what-ifs" and, again.... you guessed it, wallow some more! Sometimes things do not work out for us because God knows that they are not meant for us. Sometimes we cannot do things because God knows that they are not meant for us to do. Sometimes this is His way of saying, no, this is not for you. There may be something greater, or, if we're being honest, there may not be something greater, but if we trust him, we will know that whatever it is we have, or do, instead is what He wants us to have or do.
2) Continue to pray and seek the things we need to change about ourselves, but, instead talk to God and rather than making ourselves the center of our prayers, make Him the center. God is Elohim, our Creator God. He made all things, created all things and decided to make us for this time that we are in. No mistakes were made because God is perfect. His decisions are perfect and His will is perfect. We always need to pray for our situations, families, and whatever else we feel needs to be brought to God, but, most importantly, we need to understand that when we feel broken or worthless, God doesn't flinch. He created the light with nothing more than His voice and he created woman from man's rib. Brokenness is not an obstacle for God, and if you think so, you aren't serving Elohim, you're serving a "lesser than" God. Psalm 34:18 says, The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
3) Think about why you feel "broken," and embrace it and think about what is truly broken. When I think about the things that make me feel defeated and less than, I see a lot of "self." I also see hardship. For whatever you're feeling is broken, is it really broken, or is just harder to accomplish, think about, or do than everything else in your life that proved easier to maintain? Are you truly broken, or have you just lost faith in the things you cannot see but can only think?
Hebrews 11 tells us that, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
So as Christians, our entire hope for salvation in Jesus Christ rests in our faith that he came to Earth, lived a sinless life and took our sins, past, present and future onto himself so that we can be free to live an eternal life. It's evident that this same faith we assert that our Jesus is real, is the same faith that we must assert when we are going through hardship.
Just like we have faith that Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sin nature, we also need to have faith that his promises will come to fruition if we are faithful.