Over the years, brokenness has become repugnant to humanity. Today it is seen as unattractive, awkward and even offensive to the general populace. Despite the ever-growing number of campaigns to ‘normalize’ grief, heartache, depression and sadness, there is still a terrible taboo around them in daily life.
In the biblical times, this was not the case. Culturally, brokenness was not shunned (as much) and people would openly grieve, cry and process their desperation – even with dressing in sackcloth and ash. I believe all of us are experiencing some level of brokenness right now. You might not even know it because we have trained ourselves to suppress it. But being broken is part of life – and I believe it is a state of existence that God can use powerfully in many different ways. So – whether you’re judging someone for being broken, or suffering with brokenness yourself – here are a few benefits to brokenness that I hope you would consider:
Anything broken is immediately more receptive. If you consider the concept of surface area – an object increases in surface area the more it is smashed to pieces. Granted, its purpose may be compromised but if we are in desperate need of a sensitivity and receptivity, then being broken will open you up. In that state of personal devastation you are set up for a whole new perspective to develop in your life. Embraced pain will allow you to stop pretending to be okay and enable you to let the real issues be dealt with. Not everything that crosses your mind will be beneficial in this season. Offense will try to make you bitter. But I believe that new opportunities will also arise that you would have never thought of.
I have recently been listening to interviews of famous directors, writers and actors online. Many of them set out to do something completely different and had their dreams and hopes shattered before they happened upon their profession. Sometimes we need to be broken. When we lose the fight for control of our lives, there is such greater scope for God to direct us.
One thing that brokenness immediately delivers to us is the capacity for empathy. Suffering is suffering. You don’t need to have experienced the same set of situations to identify with someone else’s battle with reality. That, in turn, gives you the opportunity to become more connected. Those who have been through brokenness are able to help and have compassion for those who are presently contending with it. Those who are struggling are more likely to find support and build life-long relationships out of their struggles.
You find a rather tainted example of this in the world of Non-profit organizations. A large factor to the success of these kind of ventures is the clear and overwhelming need that is presented. The clarity of the need is directly proportional to the support for that need. It is the same with us. The more we are honest and open about our problems with trustworthy people – the stronger support we will have to do that season well. Masks make us nothing but lonely and inauthentic.
Once you break, you are all of a sudden way more aware of the good that is around you. It’s a glorious oxymoron – where your own pain highlights the beauty of the world around you. Sometimes this can drive you to depths of sadness and jealousy – just being honest. But your trouble resets the focus on everything that’s good in the world. I have found myself in the underbelly of perfection, being refreshed by nature or light or a random conversation. When you go through tough times, your body almost immediately begins to appreciate things that we can grow so accustomed to.
One of the greatest example of this is when you are forced to start ‘adulting’. Leaving the safety of your parents’ house and the warm home cooked meals and the washing that magically appears in your cupboard may seem exciting at first. But eating two-minute noodles for six months will really help you be grateful for your parent’s home cooking.
This is the most exciting thing about brokenness. When you are established and comfortable, it is much harder to change. Being broken down allows you to rebuild – having learned from what broke you down in the first place. In the Bible there is a reference to this when it comes to God and the nation of Israel. God depicts himself as a potter and Israel is the clay. It speaks of God’s authority, but also about how we as humans are still malleable. If there is an imperfection in a piece of pottery, it will burst when it is in the fire of the kiln. So the potter will have to break down the clay and start again. You cannot press the ‘reset’ button on your life without breaking. But there is great hope in being wiser as you rebuild.
If you find yourself stuck in the struggle – focusing on the negative sides of brokenness, I would love to invite you to connect with Jesus. You might think it strange, but choosing to believe in Jesus and everything He did for us is a very big key to finding hope and possibility within the struggle. His suffering throughout his life on earth and (ultimately) on the cross is key to understand that He cares and identifies with you. Click on the link below to find out more.