Breaking Through the Broken

Broken

Did you know doctors will break bones on purpose to correct inconsistent growth? It’s the same concept as gardeners pruning trees and bushes, intentionally guiding the growth of the plant by focused breaking. Even in the art of stained glass, the cuts intentionally scored on the glass lead to breaks which are then used to create a masterpiece. Intentional breaking can make situations better.

Then there is unintentional breaking—the kind that comes unexpectedly. Our physical bodies may experience broken bones, but they could also experience other injuries which limit us. These injuries could bleed into our mental, emotional, and spiritual realms leaving us broken in more than one way. Illness, stress, loss, fatigue, depression, anxiety—these can often leave scars of brokenness that we end up battling for years.

Life’s circumstances often cause the brokenness that overwhelms us. One hit. Then another. And another. Before long, we feel like our heads are barely above the water and waves won’t stop hitting our faces, distorting our view of reality.

Breaking, whether invited or uninvited wears us down. Even when we know God is working behind the scenes and all the frustration and hard work will be worth it in the end, sometimes we lose sight, lose heart, and lose hope somewhere in the middle. Our course shifts. The daily demands change. And we feel lost in a world that has always felt like home.

The Prophet Elijah

Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, rested on cloud nine. He had recently called down the rain of fire down from heaven, burning the bull on the altar in front of the Baal worshippers. Not only did the sacrifice burn, but everything around it, even after being saturated by water. He then ordered the false prophets to be captured and had them slaughtered.  Immediately after this event, he prayed for rain, fervently, until a cloud was spotted, and God heard his prayers and sent a downpour. 1 Kings 18:46 says, “The power of the Lord was on Elijah.”

The next scene seems out of place. When Ahab tells Jezebel all that happened, she sends word to Elijah that she aims to kill him as soon as she finds him. Instead of Elijah calling on the Lord and standing firm in his faith, he runs away like a scaredy cat. Not only did he run away, but he ran to the wilderness. 19:4 says, “He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die.”

Until my life became more about ministry than myself, I didn’t understand his response. How could this man of God get scared? Not only become scared, but so ready to quit he wanted to die?

We can only pour out so much before we need a refill.

Elijah sat under the broom tree in the wilderness depleted. The work God calls us to is usually fulfilling, but often exhausting and emotionally wearisome. In our humanness, we can only do so much before we must stop and recharge. Otherwise, we become disoriented and lose sight of what we were called to do in the first place.

Broken Ministers

No matter the calling God has placed on our lives, we can easily end up in the same place as Elijah. Broken. Distracted. Fearful. Exhausted. Done.

Many missionary organizations and denominations require their ministers to take a sabbatical or furlough every few years. They know the hard work of full-time ministry and understand that for our missionaries and pastors to remain effective, they must have time to rest and recharge without being on call.

This principle reflects God’s desire for us to participate in sabbath rest. Yes, it’s a day to praise him and bring glory to his name. But it’s also a day to rest. Cease. Stop. Be.

Maybe we are not called to full-time, vocational ministry, but we still burn out. When our lives are surrendered to Christ and we live for him, we pour out ourselves into the lives of others. If we do not stop and recharge, hide away and rest, we will have nothing left to offer. And it’s when we are depleted and weary that it seems that life’s extras hit us the hardest.

We can’t bear extra weight when we don’t have extra strength.

Breaking Through the Broken

How do we break through the broken? Like any doctor would instruct, we must let broken bones rest in order to heal. Take the weight off. Change to a slower pace. Be still.

The same goes for our broken seasons of hit after hit. We must have sabbath and furlough in order to heal. Take the weight off. Change to a slower pace. Be still.

Whether we invited the broken or were blindsided by it, the fact that we are broken still remains. When our vision grows blurry and our bodies refuse to function, instead of powering through—rest. Cease. Stop. Be.

Like stained glass, broken can be made into something beautiful. If we let it.

 

(For more on brokenness: Lessons From a Broken Doorknob – Inspire A Fire)

Copyright Christy Bass Adams, 2024, All pictures from Canva

Christy Bass Adams

Christy Bass Adams, is the Outreach and Connections Coordinator at Fellowship Baptist Church in Madison, Florida. She is also a writer and had her first devotional book published in summer of 2022 (Big Lessons from Little People) followed by a middle grades novel (Imagination Checkers) in the fall. Her most important role, however, is with her family as a wife of 18 years and mother to two busy boys. She worked in education for over 18 years at both the elementary and collegiate levels. Her favorite pastimes are fishing and sitting around a fire. For more from Christy, visit her blog at christybassadams.com.

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