Is it possible to live most of your life as a Christian and get it wrong? It was for me. For years, I said that I believed things about God, but lived my life as if I didn’t. I believed that God was in control, yet I acted like I was. I believed that God had the authority to guide my decisions, my finances, my marriage, my relationships…but so often in my life, I chose my way, spent my money, controlled my marriage, built my relationships. Here is what is wack…when things didn’t go the way that I thought they should go, I’d just work harder, try harder, expend more energy, do better at living exactly how I was living.
I think we are totally good to trust in Jesus for our eternity, we just don’t want to hear from him till until we get there. We know he has the power to save us, we just don’t really believe He’s better at leading our lives as we are. This way of living destroyed my life, my marriage, my ministry and almost cost me my relationship with God.
There is a better way…it is called brokenness. Brokenness is an act of surrender…it is giving up rather than just trying harder. Brokenness is a decision to lay everything on the line and then submit…to realize that your life is where it is now because of your leadership, your decisions, your strength, your self sufficiency…and God is your only hope.
I had to hit rock bottom before I allowed myself to experience brokenness, but you don’t have to…you can choose it. The Bible says that a broken and contrite heart, God will not deny. He longs to see us desire brokenness, as that is where his strength is made perfect.
What are the benefits of brokenness?
-You lose your need to control. When Trisha and I separated, I lost my ability to manipulate. She wasn’t going to be manipulated by me any more. I couldn’t manipulate and control what other people thought of me. I couldn’t control how she spent money, or what she bought at the grocery store. When we have a faulty trust in God, we don’t think he can control our lives as well as we can…so we manipulate. When you choose brokenness and surrender, you trust that God is in control and you submit to what He desires and what He chooses. There is freedom in living knowing He is in control.
-You lose your need to impress. When you choose brokenness, you lose your need to impress other people. You begin to live out of an identity that isn’t based on others’ opinion, their validation or their acceptance. I remember being so exhausted worrying about what everyone thought of clothes I wore, decisions I made, messages I gave. I wanted people to be impressed with the quality of my marriage and how great my kids looked and acted. It’s not that those things aren’t important…they just shouldn’t drive you. When you live only trying to impress God, you find a confidence and a freedom that you have tried to provide for yourself.
Maybe the issues you have in your marriage, or the issues you have with a friend or at work is more about you than it is about them. Maybe what you need to do most today is surrender, to give up. You are exhausted from trying harder, and there is a better way. It is a way that is more painful, more vulnerable, more transparent. But it is the way of Jesus, and when you choose to go His way, you find what only He can give.