Brokenness

…is NOT what I long for. There is this song with the following lyrics:

Holiness, holiness, is what I long for.
Holiness is what I need.
Holiness, holiness is what you want from me.

Take my heart and form it
Take my mind and transform it
Take my will and conform it
To yours, to yours, Oh, Lord. 

The second verse uses “faithfulness” and the third “brokenness.” I believe we sang this a few weeks ago at church. I purposely did not sing the last verse. I’m not going to sing what I don’t mean. And I definitely don’t want to be broken. Being broken sucks.

God is doing it anyways. I guess I did sing those other two verses and that darn chorus. But couldn’t He just wave a magic wand and do all that without the broken? He wants more for me than easy magic. He wants experiential sanctification that lasts a lifetime. Even if I don’t think I want it, He knows that deep down I was created to crave it so much so that the painful process is worth the refined gold that results. I know His love is leading the breaking. Humility is priceless, and something I have been praying for specifically. But the means of getting the coveted prize is, well, humbling! Holy, freaking humbling.

“Dying to yourself” can be a cliche in Christian circles. It can be tossed around lightly. But what is light about death? It truly is death, in all its misery, pain, and suffering. Who in their right mind would want that? Rather, we much prefer comfort and easy-living. If having to choose between the two, the choice is an obvious no-brainer. Or is it? For those of us who profess Christ-likeness as our goal, it means we stand directly opposite the rest of the world’s goal of the latter and instead choose the former. We choose the eternal over the temporal. And even if we in our flesh cannot do that, He graciously does it for us.

He’s been “graciously” doing it in me for almost a year. The bigger the pride, the greater the pain. In other words, it’s been mighty painful. Sometimes I actually worry that my pride is too big for even Him. Big baby that I am, I’ve been crying over a multitude of things that I would have thought I was too good to cry over. Things like a problem-free life, a house, a standard of living, comfort, disappointment with friends, marital strain, and uncertainty. I used to think that I was such a laid-back, easy-going, well-adjusted person. I probably wondered why everyone was not. Why are they so sensitive? Why are they so dramatic? Why is their marriage struggling? Why is it so hard for them to lose this or that or change this or that? Why? Maybe it’s not that they weren’t as perfect as I (ha), but that their lives had much more stress and hardship than mine. That they were being broken, not because there was something less in them but because God wanted something more.

I do think I’ve always been a relatively compassionate person. It’s why I chose social work. However, there is sympathy and then there is empathy. There are things you are born with, and then there are things that only seasoned living can bring. The understanding that this last year of living has brought is profound. Despite the tears, it is worth every drop (and there have been plenty). I know that being able to truly empathize is a gift. In this past year, our journey has led us to places that enable us to understand those who have had to travel there, too. And yet, I know that each time I feel I have arrived, the path just gets longer. There is still so much more to learn. Even though I think I don’t want to go there, He knows better. He will keep taking me there, keep seeing me through, and keep graciously breaking me until I have completely died to self and let Him live instead. It’s a painful journey but a beautiful one, a better one, the best one.

Brokenness, brokenness is what I long for. Brokenness is what I need. Brokenness, brokenness is what you want from me.

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