what true brokenness is

These past few weeks I’ve had quite a few talks with people about what brokenness really is. What does it mean to be broken? And is it a positive thing to be broken?

I am well aware that in regular English something that’s broken isn’t a positive thing. Right now our beloved car is in a body and paint shop, because it’s broken. It needs to be fixed to function properly again. Also, when we talk about people, ‘a broken person’ often means somebody where something devastating has happened to them, and they barely know how to get up in the morning. Maybe their spouse or child died, and they just don’t seem to be able to find many reasons to live, and have in most ways lost hope.

Obviously, I think of something and somebody very different when I think, talk and teach about brokenness and what it means to be a broken person. Anybody in the Bible who is significant enough to be mentioned several times and had positive outcomes of their lives went through brokenness-experiences and came out as broken people ready to live and serve God in powerful, grace-filled ways. It would take too much space to go through all of them, but everyone from Moses, Abraham, Jacob, and David to Peter, John, Paul, and countless others of the heroes of faith in the Bible went through brokenness and show us what it means, in what I believe is a biblical understanding, to be a broken person.

Brokenness is a process we go through, and it can take a few years or it can take decades, where God exposes our fleshly attempts to live life, to have our core needs of love, acceptance, worth, and security met in our own strength, and he shows how it is truly impossible to live the Christian life we want to live and make a radical difference in this world as long as we attempt to do it in our own strength and based on our own understanding and wisdom.

Brokenness is God’s gift to us where he exposes our sandcastles and causes them to fall, so we can learn to rest in who we are in him, and who he is, and build our houses on the only solid foundation of Christ.

Brokenness is necessarily painful, because ever since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden all human beings ever born have an inbuilt desire to rebel against God, and try to meet our needs in our own ways. We struggle to surrender control, and we often don’t understand, even as Christians, that we truly are free to live the lives we want only when Christ is in control, and I just rest in him (John 15). Therefore God has to use all kinds of ways to encourage and invite us to surrender to him, and his love. But we must always remember that God doesn’t desire for us to surrender to his power, but to his love and kindness (Romans 2:4).

I’ll split this up in two entries and stop this one here. In my next blog entry, I’ll talk about characteristics of a truly, broken person that God delights in and loves people through!

Blessings, Torben

7 Responses to “what true brokenness is”

  1. 1 John Dixon
    December 14, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    I have been brought down by my own stubborn will, and He’s bringing me back to Him. This process is so wonderful to say the least. Thank God for you and your life here that is visible to us out here in this life. Keep pressing into Him, and all will go well. we’ve met in cyber-space for a good reason. John Dixon, Noblesville In. God Bless you in Jesus Christ.

  2. 2 Shanna
    June 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you for this explanation. I thought I was loosing my mind. This is something I’ve heard about but never experienced until now.

  3. July 19, 2012 at 6:29 am

    @Shanna: I’m glad my explanation was a source of encouragement for you!

  4. March 25, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Walk In Brokenness and commented:
    Love it!

  5. 5 Nance
    March 26, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Brokenness is important as a tool for God to build our character around His purpose and plan for our lives. Brokenness also gives us the testimony that we need in how God will use us. In other words, generally your testimony or the areas where an individual suffered, will be the individuals whom you will be used to help.

  6. 6 Jessica
    August 28, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    It’s funny I found this. I’ve been struggling for a long time. I went from an abused child (sexually by my uncle as well and when I told my mother she didn’t believe me), the daughter of a chronic depressed woman, a paranoid schizophrenic and alcoholic drug using father, a dysfunctional nobody, to a mom of 4 kids, a military wife with a nice home and even started to learn how to make friends…….One day I woke up and realized that I really have everything I have ever set out to do and to be honest I did a really great job creating a life of fullness and happiness…..only I felt empty, bereft and tragically sad on the inside. I am not depressed and have moments of happiness and I’m able to meet all my daily needs of everyone around me and myself. I got to the point of feeling broke inside. I felt that way when I set out to make this life…..Why if I did everything I wanted and needed and have so much that no one else in my family did have, did I feel broken? I have the answer and I see the way I need to go now….not exactly sure where that means I’m going in my heart, but my husband and kids are with me and I’m going to walk all by myself with God. Just because I did so much on my own didn’t mean I still wasn’t in a box….

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