A few years back Justin gave me a few books he had to read for seminary. I filed them on my shelf with a million other books that I want to read but never make time to read.
Last Sunday, in a fit of organizational OCD I rearranged my bookcase and set all of the books I've never read or finished on one shelf (organized by category). I decided that I wasn't going to buy another book or set foot in another library until I had read them all. I picked up one book at random and it was Brokenness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Here's the blurb from Amazon about the book:
We tend to think of brokenness as being sad and gloomy and downcast, never smiling, never laughing or as being morbidly introspective, always trying to dig up some new sin to confess. Some have the image of brokenness as a sort of false humility, where we're continually putting ourselves down. Nancy Leigh DeMoss tells us that God's idea of brokenness is not a feeling, it is not an emotion -- it is a choice we make. When we have humbled ourselves before the Lord in brokenness, then He will lift us up.
All the while I've been hearing and inclining my ear more and more to something God has been whispering to me about for quite awhile. This book killed me. It just killed me. It has been one of the steps along the way of a new facet to my relationship with God and it's been really intense; can't even really describe it intense. Random people have showed up in amazing ways and confirmed (in the exact words God had been whispering to me) what I had felt going on and the conviction I had been feeling from God. I tried my best to hide from these conversations but they sought me out in the middle of the night sometimes.
I finished the book pretty quick and began reading, Learning My Name by Pete Gall today. I had read his first book, My Beautiful Idol, which I wrote about here, before and loved it. It changed a lot of my perspective on going first in confession and hard prayer requests to make way for others that were scared to share.
Right off the bat I could tell that this book was right in line with the Brokenness book and the convicting theme of late that I've been getting from God and through all sorts of conversations, blogs, sermons and other random venues. I just can't believe (except I actually can) the way that God has orchestrated all of this.
I don't do well with intense. I joke and dodge, defer and demur to avoid the hard stuff. Especially if it's a sustained period of intensity I just shut down and shut off. I become deadened to the intensity as if my very survival depends on it.
Which, isn't that just so dramatic? I mean, I never used to think I was that dramatic but it turns out I sort of am.
There was a line in the preface where Gall speaks about how sometimes he's surprised he's still broken. He repents, confesses and goes on and sins no more but is still surprised that he's broken. It was one of those moments when I realized that I'm surprised I'm still broken too.
Broken seems to me to indicate something that needs to be fixed, something that needs to be repaired because broken in bad, it's less than. But one of the things I'm still chewing over from DeMoss' book is that; "When we have humbled ourselves before the Lord in brokenness, then He will lift us up."
I'm surprised when I finally stop pouting and stomping my feet and work to address something head on that I'm still broken. I know intellectually that I'm still broken, that I still need Jesus just as desperately when everything is AOK and going fine, but emotionally it just really surprises me sometimes that I'm still broken. Because to me broken means something bad, something dramatic and awful. But I'm trying to relearn that it isn't just that, it's a humbleness that isn't self-loathing and a submission that isn't opression.
It's amazing to me how deep this seemingly superficial conviction is going, I'm surprised every day at how God is moving in this. I've been filled with a renewed sense of awe at the way God moves and works and how deeply He loves us.
LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness Psalm 115:1
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.