Br k n es
o n s:
There is a story in the Bible, which I happen to believe is a piece of human history, about a woman who broke open a jar of expensive perfume and poured it, along with her tears and her hair, over the feet of Jesus shortly before he was arrested, tried, crucified. It is believed she was demonstrating her gratitude to him. I'm nowhere near as generous as that woman, but I believe I have an inkling of what her level of brokenness feels like.
Over the past month, there have been times when I've felt numb. Weighed down by a loss of expectation, I seemed sentenced to inertia. I have felt the weight of uselessness, purposelessness, hopelessness. The woman who cried over Jesus' feet transformed her brokenness into a generous demonstration of thankfulness at his mercy and forgiveness. For me, brokenness came from realizing there is nothing I can do to make a difference in this world, nothing I can give that is needed in the greater scheme of things, nothing I have to offer that is needed on a grand scale. My brokenness has been all about me. While she demonstrated humility and grace, I have wrestled with vanity and pride.
And yet, time has taken me past myself. The inevitable has happened: I've discovered my limitations, and by discovering the futility of my efforts, I've been given a gift. Coming to the end of myself, I've discovered, is hugely freeing!
When we carry responsibility, capability and opportunity on our shoulders, we are delighted with the strength and self-sufficiency we feel. But if these things are ripped or stripped away and our powerlessness is exposed, our abilities are called into question, and our pride is wounded. When all of our vulnerabilities are exposed, we've nothing left but to feel broken. Brokenness is that state where there is nowhere to hide and nothing left to lose. If pride is the excuse we hide behind to avoid admitting failure, then brokenness is the inability to deny failure. Without a place to hide, there is no shame. Once we hit rock bottom, there really is nowhere to go but up!
At rock bottom we discover our identity and become free to explore.
This is the Christmas Season, a time for joy, love, laughter, sharing and giving. So, to you I want to share the discovery I've made - the gift I've received - which is that, in being utterly and completely broken of any sense of efficiency, confidence, purpose or use, I've realized I am unburdened, unshackled and reborn. I don't know where I'm going, but I don't have to force anything. There may be joy, love, laughter ahead. There may not be. But I've discovered there's peace in accepting where I am, rather than speeding ahead to where I think I ought to be. And in that, I've received a gift I never expected. I've known for a long time there's nothing I have to do or be to be acceptable; I am acceptable. But now I also know, there's nothing I can do or be that is acceptable. Relinquishing any hope I'd make a meaningful contribution to society has taken a huge burden from me. Now, life will unfold as it should, and although I don't know how it will unfold, I'm open to surprises.... perhaps more open than I've been for a long time...
|Water Flow by Sarah Tun|
So, come on 2014... I'm looking to let the future wash over me. And rather than pushing through the waves, I hope to roll, toss and float to discover how the future will unveil itself.
Merry Christmas to all, and I'll be back here on Boxing Day! Best wishes.