Monday, March 25, 2019

How to Embrace Brokenness to Find Joy

Does Joy Feel Unattainable in the Brokenness?

Brokenness is a fact of life. All of us endure messy, broken seasons at one point or another. Do you ever get discouraged at how some people seem to pull it together while you're stuck fallen by the wayside, unable to put the broken pieces together? Joy seems unattainable. Hope feels false. The storm is never-ending. Is it really possible to embrace brokenness to find joy?

Jeremiah 6:14 (NASB)
They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
But there is no peace.

Job 17:1 (ESV)
My spirit is broken; my days are extinct; 
the graveyard is ready for me. 

I often allow myself to wallow in my failures, thinking things like:

I then tell myself I'm not worthy of doing anything impactful. My self-talk goes something like this:
  • No one wants to hear from me
  • I don't deserve to be heard
  • I can't reach out to anybody if I don't have my act together
Do you ever find yourself in an inescapable mindset similar to this? You know you're in a cycle of negativity, but you don't know how to break it. I'm sad to say that I have allowed myself to be controlled by this kind of negative thinking for years.

Embrace Brokenness Instead of Trying to Escape It

1 Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan is always seeking believers to devour. He will do anything he can to stop us from building God's kingdom. He knows our weaknesses and uses them against us. One technique I believe he uses is to get us obsessed with trying to escape our feelings. We pointlessly fixate on how to make things better, only to be constantly disappointed.

Embracing brokenness, heart-ache, and pain probably feels counterintuitive. In all honesty, it's incredibly difficult and painful in the beginning. But it will save you so much wasted time and bitterness in the long-run.

So what does it look like to embrace brokenness?

  • Admit to God and yourself that you are not okay.
  • Write out a list of what you are feeling and why you believe you are feeling this way. 
    • Don't be shy about writing down the feelings you're ashamed of.
    • Be sure to write out any painful experiences that contribute to your brokenness. This will probably be very painful. Know that this well-regarded form of exposure therapy will be a big step in the healing process. 
  • Read out loud to God everything you wrote down. Embrace the awkwardness of it. :) 
Finally, speak the verse below out loud:

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Declare this truth daily to remind yourself that brokenness is a tool to draw near to God, not pull away form Him!

Finding Joy in the Brokenness

When the pain of this life are overwhelming and unbearable, cling to the promise of eternity free from agony, misery, despair and suffering of any kind. This hard life is just a drop in the bucket. God's crazy amazing love promises that the trials of this life cannot compare to the joy that is coming (Romans 8:18). Meditating on the reality of heaven gives supernatural strength and joy for facing the struggles of this life. 

I've encountered people who struggle with anxiety when thinking about the unknowns of heaven. I don't really have an answer for combatting these anxieties. However, I do have some suggestions for anyone struggling with looking forward to heaven:

  • Focus on the KNOWNS (not the unknowns) of heaven
    • total joy
    • total satisfaction
    • total peace
    • total fulfillment
  • Think about:
    • the things in this life that bring you joy or make you feel happy. 
    • the things that make you feel proud and accomplished. 
    • the things that bring you peace and fulfillment. 
Now imagine experiencing those positive feelings amplified beyond imagination without end. Know that is not a dream. That is real! And it is truly coming for ANYONE who trusts in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!

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