Chasing Brokenness

Interesting title, I know. It needs some explaining.

One of my friends recently posted a photo of a book on Instagram. The photo was sweet and simple with a  caption consisting of a short excerpt from the book. I mindlessly read through it once and continued scrolling down my feed. Then, when I compulsively opened my Instagram app after five minutes of being on Twitter I saw it again, this time reading the caption more closely. This is what it read,

"I want to write it on the walls and on the arms scarred with wounds, make it the refrain we sing in the face of dark and broken places: No shame. No fear. No hiding. All grace. It's safe to suffer here. You can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here. Grace will meet you here."

I was captivated by these words and immediately I went to Amazon and bought this  book called The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp.

I didn't know what I was getting into when I made the final click to purchase this book. I didn't know that along with it would come tears, questions, and countless quotes taped in my journals. I didn't know that the pages that were once clean and white would bleed with pink highlighter and black pen ink, that the marks left on the pages from passionately underlining would be all too familiar. This book has shocked, amazed, and challenged me to finally feel comfortable with chasing brokenness. 

As I opened the book for the first time I excitedly flipped to page one. As I read my heart crashed and like a pan falling on a wood floor an unbearable ringing sound surrounded my mind. I set the book down and looked across the table to one of my best friends in the world. I remember handing her the book and having her read what I had just read and she uttered an understanding "Oh".

I don't want to spoil this book in any way because the shock of it was so impactful in my life and I want that to hold true for others as well. But, without spoiling anything I can honestly say that the most shocking part of this book was the unwavering confidence with which she wrote it. She was saying some ROUGH things. But she did.

So often we have these amazing Christian men and women who speak to us or who write books for our generation and you can tell they've lived. You can tell that there's something there, that there's substance in their story. But so often they tell just enough to leave you hungry for more, they say too little to be able to really relate to their situation. No, that's not the point of their story, their point is Jesus. Our point is Jesus. But it is incredibly nice to have someone whom you respect be able to be confident enough in Christ and in His transforming power to be completely honest, to be so raw that you can relate on an uncanny level.

The book centers around the importance of recognizing that brokenness is a fact of life. That no matter how hard we try, no matter what we avoid, brokenness will at one point seep into our lives and rest in the cracks of our hearts for some period of time. I am a people person, I love talking to people, I love relating to people. But in this season of my life I have had such a hard time doing that because I wasn't willing to acknowledge or accept my own brokenness. I saw it as a weakness, as a deterrent. Thinking back on it makes me feel crazy. I go to the largest Christian University in the world, I am surrounded with love. But in some sense I was being fed lies of not being enough if I was cracked on the outside and not only the inside.

I resemble a gift that has been wrapped nicely but when you open it the gift is shattered and everyone involved is disappointed... at least thats how I see it.

BUT, the beautiful thing is that we're not like that at all. Jesus has relentlessly been pressing into my heart that we're in fact the exact opposite of that disappointing shattered mess.

Psalm 51:8 "Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which you have broken rejoice."

I called my friend while I was writing this and asked her to help me name something that was "nice on the outside but shattered on the inside." She replied with the exact opposite of what I asked for but of course it was exactly what Jesus wanted me to hear at that moment. She said,

"It's like one of those rocks that are super nasty on the outside but on the inside are beautiful and they sparkle."

She was talking about geodes—rocks that I remember buying as a child in museums and getting in science classes. When I was young we had a family who "hunted" geodes come in and we got to help split them. I remember that everyone wanted the big ones because bigger is better. But, I wanted the smallest one because that meant that I could carry it around with me. Not until today did I realize how special that rock really could've been had I been learning this lesson at that moment.

Geode crystals are formed when an empty space, when a crack, is filled with minerals and the space expands and hardens. Then, once created, the geode becomes completely lined with magnificent crystals.

There has to be a crack in order for beauty to form. 

The Lord is faithfully pursuing the idea behind being comfortable with the uncomfortableness of brokenness (phew, what a mouthful). He is making it abnormally enjoyable for me to rest in my brokenness. For me to accept it as a part of me that will become something so much better than what I can see now. I would love to close this post with my own idea but I came across this quote that I sloppily taped to my wall a month ago. It's from—you guessed it—The Broken Way, but it fits. Its short, sweet, and true. I hope that brokenness can become comfortable for you as it has for me and that we can learn to wear it boldly.

"The heart has to be broken and plowed and re-sown if it's going to yield."