Sometimes life gets harder before it gets easier. At the end of ourselves is a really hard place to be. But when we've run out of rope, we finally have the chance to realize our moving forward wasn't dependent upon how tightly we held because He had us all along. And He never let's go.
There is a place God wants to take you, you cannot get to on our own. No matter how hard you try. Know matter how much you know, how far you've been or what all you've accomplished. He's too good to allow us to be able to do everything independent of Him. We were created to need Him, to partner with Him and to rebuild through Him. If I want to live a life of experiencing God in bigger ways, then I need to grow accustomed to being in over my head. I will not get to bigger without it.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. “
Living in brokenness requires thick skin and a soft heart. Nehemiah had thick skin. He had already experienced a lot in his time and in spite of his circumstances, he was doing well. But soft hearts are essential for quick endings. The longer our hearts take to break and be open toward the Father, the longer we remain self-sufficient and self-protective.
Self-sufficiency is never God’s way. He is a Father and what makes a Father a Father are the children he raises. He wants us. All of us. Not just the Sunday’s best version of us. He wants the rough edges, the fears, the hard surfaces and even the melt down in the “middle of the Target” us. My girls don’t hide their real selves from me. I get all of them, the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes it's what I want, but all the time, it's what I need. I need to see the real them so I can meet them right where they are instead of pretending they are somewhere else. The Father is the same way. We don’t have to withhold who we are for Him. He is most real to us in our current reality and if we want to encounter Him, then we need to allow ourselves to live in reality. Not where we'd hope we be by now. Not where we were hurt or why we thing we are struggling. In our actual current place of anger, resentment, bitterness, pain, misfortune. Not back before the mistake happened, but right here, after it, in the rawness of retreat, regret and repentance.
In His arms, I’m learning to have a tender heart. I am learning to trust Him with what hurts, but it’s taken a long time to get over the hump. From a very young age, most of us learn to guard our hearts. We see and experience pains and hurts and with the best of intentions we build walls to protect ourselves from future pain. When we know God’s intends to use the broken in us to rebuild the future for us, it changes the way we look at the those painful pieces.
“ We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love,”
Nehemiah asked a hard question and then he made an even harder decision. He sat down. He took a “shivah.” “Sitting Shivah” was a Jewish custom. When a loved one passed away, the Jews would set aside a time for mourning. For seven days, after the burial, they would sit low to the ground in silence and mourning. If they talked at all, it was in very quiet, muffled voices, and only when necessary. They often covered their mirrors with blankets so they couldn't even see what they looked like during this time.
We are a culture of people who don’t sit well. Hard things come and we keep going. We put on our tough faces and push through. Imagine what your life would look like if the next time brokenness hit, you sat down for a significant period of time and connected with the Father before you moved forward. For many of us, it means our reactions would change to responses and we would get up different people thus changing our environment and not allowing our environment to change us. I don't need what I often think I need after I've spent enough time connecting with the Father. He has a way of changing my heart and my perspective. He has a way of becoming all I need.
Standing over what’s broken in my life is not the perspective God wants me to have because from this place, I control how the pieces fit back together. Standing above, I shield the world around me from the view of what’s broken within me. Standing I further isolate the truth and keep His bigger redemption from being witnessed. Standing, I settle. Sitting, I invite.
I used to be good with a Band-Aid. Whatever it took to cover up the damage done to my walls. The problem with Band-Aids; they never last and no matter how long they make it, they will not bring our healing. Even the best Band-Aid eventually wears off and falls short. Not knowing when and how it will happen leaves us living in fear of being exposed, of being “found out.” Have you ever been there? Covering up brokenness in this way is exhausting. Constantly trying to remember who you said what to and how you move forward. Always looking over your shoulder making sure you won’t be found out. Texting people to make sure they aren't mad at you. Worrying all night, stressing all day. This is not God’s freedom.
Likewise, we would never go to a doctor and expect them to prescribe Band-Aids for the rest of our lives. Band-Aids don’t bring healing. Eventually, they have to come off so the real work can begin. God doesn’t need us to hold it together. He actually wants us to let it fall. In our world, brokenness is often what disqualifies us, but in the Kingdom it is actually what qualifies us.
Sitting low we are made humble, we are made dependent. As we sit, the light of Christ shines onto what’s broken and exposes the lies from the His Truth. Sitting we raise up our hands and give over control to the only one capable of rebuilding the broken pieces. It’s about His process, His timing and His invitation to bigger.
Brokenness always leads to bigger, but God’s not in a hurry. He is all about the journey. If we give Him access and time, He will take us places and heal wounds we never even knew we had. I don’t know about you, but that’s the story of redemption I want to live. And it all starts with sitting. Find a place this week to sit, to take a load off, unload your pain, process out your hurt, feel His presence and welcome His healing.