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Brokenness helps you to run faster

Last year, Christie Albaugh was with a team in Cambodia.  She had just finished English Club with the kids and immediately headed straight up the stairs to go to the bedroom. As she turned the corner, she was caught off-guard by a cloud of swarming bugs that were swarming in …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Last year, Christie Albaugh was with a team in Cambodia.  She had just finished English Club with the kids and immediately headed straight up the stairs to go to the bedroom. As she turned the corner, she was caught off-guard by a cloud of swarming bugs that were swarming in the hallway. Big ones, little ones, and lots of creepy ones.
Boom. Everything came to a head all at once. She found herself unable to restrain the words that had been buried deep inside her. Later she recounted what happened:

I found myself listing off everything that was currently making my life a living hell. I feel gross and I can’t shower, my hair has bugs in it, I can’t leave the room, it’s raining outside so it’s going to be muddy tomorrow, the room is a disaster, I can’t be alone, it’s hot and I’m sweating, I have to practically sit on the ground to go pee, for the past 7 days all I’ve eaten is rice, my legs are hairy, my team doesn’t understand me, I’m sick of living in community, the bugs and water are attacking my bed, I have to shower with a bucket, I haven’t stopped sweating since I left California, I can’t go running here, we can only access internet once a week, I can’t walk through the room without ducking through 4 different laundry lines, and it’s been over a week since I’ve eaten any chocolate.

I mean honestly, can life get any worse? The explosion lasted somewhere around 15 minutes. 
And, with apologies to Christie, my response is,  “Bring it on!” We desperately need to exhaust our personal resources and declare bankruptcy, falling on our knees in dependence before a God who is waiting to be more than our refuge of last resort.  We need brokenness in the worst way. I’d rather we get there through a swarm of bugs than not get there at all. 
In the past, God has taken away my job, my ability to provide for my family, and the foundation for too much of my identity.  Each time, I entered into a time of greater dependence on him and ultimately greater intimacy with him. I was richer for it.
And that’s how it works: people minister out of their redeemed brokenness. When we’re broken, we move towards dependence on God. He redeems it, finding gold in the trash heap of our life, and once we’ve come through the brokenness, we can listen with appreciative tenderness and pray for others going through a similar trial.  Wild horses are that way – they need to be broken and then they are able to “partner” with their rider.
Like wild horses, God breaks us to help us run faster.


What has brought you to brokenness and a greater dependence on God?

Comments (9)

  • great article, yesterday i was reading the diary of racheal joy.the young girl that was killed in the columbine shooting.one thing about her diary was she was not afraid to be who she was and own her feelings and after she was real with GOD and talked to HIM. alot of the negitive feelings lifted.what a light she is to me .a little child will lead them.break me LORD .out of a broken seed comes life. this is the day the LORD has made i will rejoice and be glad in it.

  • To answer your question, “What has brought you to brokenness and a greater dependence on God?” Obviously sobriety and looking back on all the extreme things that happened to lead up to Salvation, but more recently, Jerry’s death which led to having leave the WR and witness my son’s brokenness, only to be topped with extreme isolation! OUCH!

    Seth, I like these blogs much better than yesterdays! HA! I love the conviction it intices and sets in my heart. I love the check in my spirit that accompanies the motivation to do something about it. And even more, I love the fact that you put the picture of the people picking through the dump proving to me and the Christie’s of the world that yes, life can get and be MUCH worse!

  • Seth, I am not going to lie, kind of makes me not want to go on the race….lol. But I know God knows best and I am all for becoming more intimate with Him. Thank you for this.

  • Hahahahaha Taryn!! Nooow that’s funny! Yep, it will burn every bit of flesh you have off… but sooo worth it!!

  • Amen!!! I actually miss that from the race! Crazy, how much growth being in those types of situations causes. The way God works is so upside down with our culture!

  • I was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer and through the depths of my illness, when I could not walk, or sit up, when I could not even go to the bathroom or bathe by myself, when I could not eat or drink or even breathe without a breathing tube, I was broken. I was broken for everything I had taken for granted. I could travel half way around the world and pray that the Lord would break my heart, I had become so thankful for everything I had in light of everything these children did not – yet I still remained selfish and unworthy. This time last year I was in the ICU in a Denver hospital and they were doubting if I would make it through the night due to internal bleeding. Twelve months later I’m sharing my story so someone else can learn from it. I am 23 years old and I have a lifetime ahead of me, thanking God for each and every breath.

  • I have a love/hate thing with brokenness, like many of you guys above. “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord” is easy to sing and say when it’s okay, pretty hard when you’re in the middle of some kind of loss.
    Today I can’t sing that song without tears and heaviness in my heart – a lot of loss and stripping back going on in my life right now and it isn’t fun at all.

    But as I look back over my life, the times I remember as the sweetest and deepest are always when everything has gone and I am back, desperate, dependent and surrendered with all my heart and soul at the feet of my Jesus. I’m the jar of perfume. The sweetness of the fragrance anoints His feet and fills the house and beyond when it’s broken over Him, not when it is still intact. I tremble to use the words “break me Lord,” but I use them anyway.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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