Living with broken purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 lists a series of events that are all part of life: there is a purpose for everything in life, from the beginning of life through death. Happiness, joy, laughter, tears, sorrow. Every individual experiences each of these emotions, these different seasons. And for every life, God has an appointed season for beauty.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
Notice that for every beautiful season there is a counterpart that is less than what we would call ideal. A time to die, a time to kill, a time to weep, a time to mourn, a time to refrain from embracing, a time to hate, a time of war.
I’m assuming that none of us would be willing to volunteer for the seasons that are less than beautiful. A time to weep? A time of war? No thank you!
Oh, but we’ll take the seasons of beauty in a heartbeat. We want happiness, joy, laughter - good times! Happy times.
In order to have the beauty of life, however, there is a certain amount of brokenness that we must each go through.
Think about the beauty of spring — the flowers, the green grass, the fresh new life in nature. Only with the rain, the storms, and the terrifying thunder and lightening that comes with it can spring truly be as beautiful as it was intended to be. The thunderstorms of April are necessary to bring about the lovely flower blooms in May.
Without a storm, there cannot be beauty.
No one ever told me my life would be like this - what it is now. I used to stand in front of the mirror, holding a hairbrush like a microphone and sing my little heart out. I would “play” the piano on the back of the pew during church, pretending to be a pastor’s wife, leading the choir in that dress I saw So-and-So wear at the last conference. I excelled at playing pretend. I didn’t know that those childish acts would begin to shape who I was and what I really wanted in life.
What I really imagined it to be, I’m not sure, but I never dreamed I would endure broken hearts and the loss of close friendships along the journey. I didn’t know that in order for God to use me the way I saw others being used would mean days of loneliness and heartache.
We all have high and lofty ambitions. They start out as make believe in our world of dress-up and games of “house” as little girls. They start out as dreams of being firemen and FBI agents saving the world as little boys. They continue as dreams as we grow and experience that awful thing called puberty. And finally, out of nowhere it seems, we grow up, mature, and are adults. Women who are supposed to have it all, be all, and accomplish it all. Guys who are supposed to have their lives together and know who they are and who they want to be before they even own a home.
But what is this “all”? What is it that encompasses all that we desire and hope to be? What is it that we strive for on a continual, daily basis? What is the dream that drives us mad with exhaustion, burn-out, and endless sleepless nights?
I think it is truly a calling from God to fulfill a purpose that’s bigger than ourselves. While I believe that each of us has a particular calling for such a cause, much like Queen Esther did, I also believe that before we can ever accomplish our purpose, we have to go through some pretty difficult situations.
In a word, I think we all have to experience brokenness.
What if your “such a time as this” can’t happen until you’ve been completely broken? What if you can’t fulfill your purpose until you’ve been broken and then remolded into a vessel God can use?
Many times brokenness comes because of a deep sense or connection of love that has been lost, misused, taken advantage of.
I’m sure you’ve heard that greater one loves, the greater the hurt is that comes after loving.
But what we must understand is that to love is both a blessing and a curse. To love is to be whole, yet it is also to be broken. It is a wonderful, terrible, delightfully awful experience. There is nothing like it in the world, nothing to which it can even be compared. Yet the sincerity of those few who return love, specifically the love that comes from our Maker, far outweighs the shattered dreams of the many broken pieces one heart will endure.
It is the curse of love which enables the blessing of love to be so great, and it is the perceived ugliness of brokenness which makes complete wholeness in Jesus Christ so beautiful.
The vulnerability of brokenness is excruciatingly scary. There are always going to be those who criticize and mock, those who do not understand your calling and despise what you are. But find consolation in the fact that brokenness is beautiful to Jesus and that it is through your trials, through the hardest moments, when He is the strongest. Anointing comes through brokenness; because of your brokenness, you can be made pure. You will be molded to fit the purpose that God has specifically designed for you.
There is a purpose for your brokenness. There is a purpose behind the tears you cry at night. There is a purpose for whatever you’re going through right now.
Please know that despite the fragmented pieces of your heart, your brokenness is truly something beautiful. Embrace it for what it is: the Lord reshaping you, remolding you into something that He can use for His glory.