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What do you do with your brokenness?

One of the great struggles we all face is to come to the place where we can recognize our brokenness and be OK with it. I was 31 when that happened for me. Man, was it hard to go through.   But I’m one of the lucky ones. A lot of older people still have not come to the place where th…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
One of the great struggles we all face is to come to the place where we can recognize our brokenness and be OK with it. I was 31 when that happened for me. Man, was it hard to go through.
But I’m one of the lucky ones.
A lot of older people still have not come to the place where they can own their brokenness. They live in prisons of selfishness. Their addictions and defensiveness keep them from facing the truth that would set them free.
Over the holidays I read Brennan Manning’s memoir, All is Grace. In it he admits to lying for much of his life. He bravely discusses his alcoholism and its impact. He said it’s called “the liar’s disease.” It’s amazing that this man who so many have looked up to has struggled so to be honest about his brokenness.
Manning says, “Sin and forgiveness and falling and getting back up and losing the pearl
of great price in the couch cushions but then finding it again, and
again, and again? Those are the stumbling steps to becoming Real, the
only script that’s really worth following in this world.”
Yet it’s so hard to embrace your own brokenness. To admit it and even talk openly about it.
When Jesus came to set the captive free, that’s all of us who have kept our brokenness locked up in some secret place, never allowing anyone to see it or touch it. He wants to set us free to look at reality.
All the abusive dads and neurotic moms. All the lonely hearts who for too long have believed lies about ourselves.
“I’m not good enough.” “I’m ugly.” “I’m average.” “I deserve this mess I live in.” “I’ll never escape this addiction to pornography.” “I’ll never be married.” On and on go the lies.
The truth is, we’re all broken and we need to embrace our brokenness instead of locking it away. Only then are we able to reach out and help others embrace their brokenness as well.
It’s the basis of ministry. I love what Louie Giglio said at the recently completed Passion Conference: “”Brokenness is the bow from which God launches the arrows of healing.”
Do you want to be used of God? It begins with your own places of pain. Let him touch them. Let others in where you’ve kept them out. The freedom on the other side is amazing.
“Out of brokenness, fearlessness,” Giglio said. “The only thing I’m afraid of is living an insignificant life.”

Comments (6)

  • “Oh God, I give it all to you. I give you my hands, my eyes, my feet, my mind… Come and use me for your credit… Come and break me…”

  • I once talked with a friend of mine who had been through a year long Christian leadership intensive. At the end I asked him what stuck out most during his time there. His answer, “Brokenness, when you are broken God can do anything.” That really hit me. Here was a hot-shot popular guy who also had a gifting in leading worship and the biggest thing he learned was brokenness?! I pray God will let me see my brokenness as a means to let me be used by him.

    John 12:24-25

    24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

  • Yes, yes, and YES! Thank you, Seth. I recently read these lines penned from Rainer Maria Rilke, and I think they apply:

    (Ich bete wider, du Erlaughter)
    It’s here in all the pieces of my shame
    that now I find myself again.
    I yearn to belong to something, to be contained
    in an all-embracing mind that sees me
    as a single thing.
    I yeard to be held
    in the great hands of your heart–
    oh let me take them now.
    Into them I place these fragments, my life,
    and you, God–spend them however you want.


    (Wer seines Lebens viele Widersinne)

    She who reconciles the ill-matched threads
    of her life, and weaves them gratefully
    into a single cloth–
    it’s she who drives the loudmouths from the hall
    and clears it for a different celebration

    where the one guest is you.
    In the softness of the evening
    it’s you she receives.

    You are the partner of her loneliness
    the unspeaking center of her monologues.
    With each disclosure you encompass more
    and she stretches beyond what limits her,
    to hold you.

  • Thank you again, Seth…so timely…and I love Rilke, thanks Chelsea, for posting that. It was a very difficult weak for me…but I think God truly wants me broken and not just cracked…Again, I release to you, oh Lord, and now off to order Brennan Manning’s book. I remember meeting him and thanking him for his transparency and how deeply it touched me.

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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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