Scripture/Memory Verse: Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act. ~ Psalm 37:7 (NLT)
I have recently returned from a women's church retreat in which a lot of "strongholds" were laid before the cross. The retreat was called "Sweetly Broken" and encouraged us to live in that beautiful spiritual state.
I haven't been doing that. I thought I was but God showed me differently. I have been living "broken" but in the wrong way. God revealed to me that I have been a slave to the shame and pain of the sin that brought me to my brokenness. That is spiritually unhealthy. It has been preventing me from living, truly living in a healthy brokenness-sweetly broken.
We don't have to live enslaved to the shame of our brokenness, nor does God expect us to. God made it very clear to me He wants us to live sweetly broken. There is a difference. Do you know that difference?
Everyone I know who has hit rock bottom or found themselves in a pit will tell you they have cherished that milestone in their life as it was in that desolate and desperate time they found God in the most deepest, precious way. It set the stage for their next step in the journey to a deeper and richer life with Him.
Brokenness is intended to lead to beautiful. It is meant to help us live humbly and reverently for God. As I look back to that time I was brought to complete brokenness, I was embraced by God's grace and love. He became all I needed. It is the guilt and shame that leads to the brokenness. You cannot have one without the other. His salvation is the embrace of grace, the spiritual CPR we need to continue to live this life.
"The key is to focus on what happens in you, not to you." Chris Hodges, Fresh Air (pp.82)
His salvation in those circumstances is not just life-saving, its life-changing. Yet, too many of us remain enslaved to the shame and regret of what landed us there. It is painfully easy to walk in the shame of our sin in an unhealthy way...beating ourselves down for the mistake, hiding from the world in fear of the rejection that awaits you, allowing satan to label and lame you by his constant reminders of your sin. This type of brokenness is not beautiful but debilitating. This type of brokenness is not sweet but bitter.
"People who have God's breath inside them...remember the past without remaining in it. They enjoy the present as a tremendous gift. They anticipate the future with great hope. They have influence and use it to positively encourage and shape those around them." Chris Hodges, Fresh Air (pp.71)
Sweetly broken allows the shame to keep you grounded and focused on God. To be sweetly broken allows you to embrace what you have become and not to live in what you did wrong. To be sweetly broken allows you to live out loud as a testament of what God can and will do with the ugliness of our lives. To be sweetly broken one joyfully lives in the melody of His redemption for the eternal.
I get it. I am there....finally. Though satan continues to try to beat me down with the cause of my brokenness, I fire back to him the scripture that supports who I am in God. It is a process to get to this point. Some days are easier than others. It is possible to move from a shameful brokenness to being sweetly broken.
This verse came across my quiet time again as I was reflecting through my scripture spiral cards for this year. I blogged on it here. It is such a sweet reminder of how we are to live sweetly broken:
"..don't stay in the stronghold. Leave and return to the land of Judah." ~ 1 Samuel 22:5 (HCSB)
To be sweetly broken you acknowledge the sin that put you there but you don't stay in the shame. Remember it but don't let it enslave you from moving forward in God's plan for you life. Seek the forgiveness of God and those who were affected by it. And don't forget to forgive yourself, as often times this is the hardest thing for us to do.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight..." ~ Psalm 51:4 (NIV)
To be sweetly broken you have to leave the sin. How? By focusing on praise (Judah)...praise for the One who you now focus life on. Don't dwell on what could have been done differently or how others could have reacted to you. It is what it is. You can't change it but because of what it is, you are now a changed person. Embrace that! Don't hide from this most important concept. Though there are consequences to our sins, there is healing in looking at where it has brought you spiritually. It will set you back if you dwell on the sin itself.
Is this even possible? Oh yes, it is! When rejection knocks at your door, praise God for accepting and loving you and being all you need. When the illness returns, praise God that He is in control and has a plan in it. When the pain you inflicted on another is again relived, praise God on what He is going to do in that person's life despite the pain. Praise Him with scripture. Praise Him with song. PRAISE HIM!
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. ~ Psalm 37:7 (NLT)
So how does Psalm 37:7 fit into here? The most potent healing in any situation of brokenness comes from God. Being able to hear Him, see Him, or sense His presence is the cure.
My life is too busy. I bet yours is too. Noise is constantly around me...deadlines to complete, school activities to attend, meals to fix, a house that needs to feel like a home, voices from from family, voices from the workplace, voices from church....it can be so loud you cannot focus. The only sanity in all this is to be able to "be still" daily. I don't know about you but this can be so very hard.
It's in the being still that we live out loud what it means to be sweetly broken. Bringing praise to our God by repeating a verse over and over or singing a praise song will open the door to allow His presence to enter in. Meditating on scripture followed with silence will allow the peace that passes all understanding to spill over into the moment and calm us. Silence...stopping the activity within our mind to allow God in to savor Him, listening for His voice, allowing His presence to fuel the sweetly broken spirit we need to live in. Prayer covers us with spiritual energy and helps us live our days glorifying Him in our words, our actions, our thought.
Sweetly broken. Grateful for the fall. Humbled by His embrace. Committed to Jesus by seeking Him daily in His Word. Praying to Him. Trusting Him. Growing in faith. To be sweetly broken is to be so in love with Jesus that He knows you and you know His voice. It's a choice.
I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me—John 10:14 (Amplified)