We can only help the broken world around us if …
… we do something that we probably really don’t want to do.
I read this post a couple weeks ago – I am … A Christian by smcburch523.
You know it’s going to be “hard” to read – because it was hard to write. It starts off with –
I’ve really been debating about this post. What to write, when to write it, how in-depth I want to go. It’s one of the areas of my life I have struggled with the most, and trying to define it and put it in words is exceedingly difficult. But I’ll just start it and see what it turns into.
It’s hard to write about personal stuff. Especially the first time.
Writing about personal stuff reminds me of something I read back in college – about peeling an onion. (I tried to find the reference, but couldn’t. Maybe from Arthur Miller?) Anyway – it was something about how painful peeling an onion can be, especially at first. Removing that first layer really makes your eyes hurt. And you cry a lot. But as you get deeper into the onion – it’s not so painful. The part I really wish I could remember was the wording on how – at some point – it becomes almost a sort of pleasurable experience.
I think writing about personal stuff is the same way. It’s hard at first. Same thing with talking about it. It does get easier. But then something happens. People tell you they appreciate what you wrote / said. It lets them know they aren’t alone. It gives them hope. And you’re glad you said / wrote it. It doesn’t make the painful / personal things easier – but there’s something inside that feels good about being able to help someone else who’s going through the same thing. Being able to not just point them to God as the answer – but showing them that it really is possible – it’s not just words. And maybe walking with them for a while.
A couple months ago, I had someone come up to me that heard something I had said almost four years earlier. We hadn’t seen each other since that time. And they still remembered. That feels good. Not for me – but to know that what I said about God helping me get through stuff is something that someone remembered years later.
I think it’s good if Christians can open up about our problems. Instead of (maybe inadvertently) painting Christianity as a picture of perfection where everything becomes great and wonderful – we’re honest that many of the same problems (temptations?) are still there. They don’t go away. Satan doesn’t just give up and stop. And sometimes they still affect us. For me – depression has never gone away and been replaced with a happy / perky / always “up” lifestyle. But I have a place to go. I have brothers and sisters in Christ who can help. I think that’s what we need to share.
So that’s what I am … A Christian is about as well.
And then I started reading this book last night – DO Something! Make your Life Count, by Miles McPherson.
The title of this post comes from something in the book –
Warning: If you are not willing to be vulnerable with your own brokenness, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for you to do something of eternal significance for the broken world around you.
That is so true. Otherwise – we just come off as either stuffy know-it-all Christians, or – as Shannon says in her post, someone who has “blind devotion“.
We’re not alone if we celebrate our brokenness. As Miles McPherson points out in the book –
Celebrating Our Brokenness
The first thing Jesus did was to do something with us: He became a man and subjected Himself to the temptations and struggles of this world. After He identified with our brokenness, He went on to do something for us. He died on the cross.
If you want to do something great, keep in mind what Jesus told us to remember. Just before He left, He gave us specific instructions. He said, Celebrate My brokenness. Celebrate My body, broken for you. Celebrate My blood, spilled for you. That’s what communion is all about.
You see, He could have asked us to remember His resurrection. He could have asked us to honor the miracles He performed, or to practice the way He outsmarted the smartest theologians of the time. No. He said, Celebrate My brokenness.
Some may consider this wrong. Some say we should celebrate His resurrection. And I do – don’t get me wrong. But even though I’m not a Catholic anymore, I still wear a Catholic cross. Because I need to remember that brokenness. And I need to remember what He went through for me – for all of us.
Not everyone needs that. I get it. We’re not all the same.
But if I can borrow a thought from one of the shows my wife & I like to watch – Chopped – when a chef cooks, the meal it’s for the guest – not for the chef. A chef has to cook what the guest wants, not what the chef wants. Even if the chef doesn’t personally like one of the basket ingredients – they still have to use it – and feature it. Because that’s what the judges want to see – because that’s what the guest would expect.
For us as Christians – each of us – at times – is a chef. Each of us – at other times – is also a guest. And the things in our lives are the basket ingredients. Maybe we don’t like some of those ingredients. For whatever reasons, maybe we don’t want to talk about them. But if we have trouble with them – chances are the other chefs with the same ingredients are having the same problems. But unlike Chopped where there is only one winner – with Christians we’re called to help each other – so we all win. That means sharing recipes – how to use / deal with – the problem ingredients. Everyone knows how to use the “good” ones. It’s the problem ingredients that we need help with.
The Judge has given / allowed the basket ingredients that we have in our lives. And He wants to see what we prepare with those ingredients. I think He’d like us to work together – and have Him join us – in making something good out of our basket ingredients. And once we done that – share the recipe with others – with our own guests. Help them. Show them it’s good. If they try it – they’ll like it. Then they’ll want to learn to be a chef instead of a guest. At that time – walk through the recipe with them. Help them improve on it. Help them customize it for themselves. And then they’ll want to share that recipe with other guests in their own lives. And the cycle will continue.
So if you’re worried about sharing something personal – pray about it. Read some stuff that others have already shared. But know – you’re not alone. And try to remember when you were going through whatever that personal ‘stuff” is. Remember how you wish you had someone to talk to – someone who had already been through it. Maybe you didn’t then.
We can all be that “someone” that maybe we didn’t have when we needed them. We can be that “someone” for one of God’s children today. But we can only do that if we’re willing to be vulnerable ourselves – and share what we’ve been through.
you we are not willing to be vulnerable with your our own brokenness, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for you us to do something of eternal significance for the broken world around you us.