I've been finding it hard to concentrate lately. Sometimes, just getting through a day and feeling like I've accomplished something is challenging. You know those days where everything seems so tedious, like it's taking five times longer to get anything done? They seem more frequent than ever, and it's frustrating. I'm exhausted, there is so much to be done, and I can't move or lift things that need to be moved or lifted, much less get them organized. Mostly, I feel broken. Not like myself.

And then I remember that I am broken. No, God gently reminds me (because really, can I take credit for connecting the dots myself?) that I am broken. Frequently, I can be pretty hard-headed and stubborn (no....me?!), particularly with lessons that God is teaching me over and over again. Thank goodness for His patience and mercy. I'm like the kid whose teacher has to present a lesson in every single learning modality and still I haven't mastered the concept. Hmm... maybe that's why I'm so interested in teaching those kids...

Anyway, this particular time, God has used my fragile physical and emotional state of late pregnancy to remind me of my fragile spiritual state of brokenness. And I've come to realize that not only am I placing unrealistic expectations on myself for what I feel I should be accomplishing, I am placing value on things of far less importance. For instance, who cares if my toilets need cleaning when I could be spending time just loving my children and raising them up? You'd think I'd have hung onto that lesson a little longer, since we just attended the funeral of a three year old last week. The thing is, I have hung onto that lesson, I've just been a little slow in the application.

My Savior knows me intimately, and I love the way that at just the moment when I am despairing over something completely trivial, He speaks to me, in my language (which very often is in the words of a song, as you may have noticed) with words that point out my folly and change my focus.

In this instance, I once again realized that I am broken. I again came to terms with the reality that my brokenness on Earth is what reminds me that I do not belong here. I was intended for so much more than this temporal life I have. The song lyrics that spoke to me this time say:

I do not belong in a world of broken pieces.
I was meant to be in the arms of Your redemption.
I am moving on to the place of Your perfection.
'Cause I do not belong...

"I Do Not Belong" / Kutless / 2008

Now of course, I shouldn't just put my faith in the words of a song without first knowing whether or not they are based in Scripture. And so I went to my Bible (another little "trick" God uses to get me into his Word over and over again. Because He knows me so well, if I neglect to do it on my own, He knows this lyrical curiosity will get me there, where He can speak to me...) I read through this chapter in Hebrews, where the author is referring to many followers such as Noah (who built an ark to save his family), Abraham (who offered Isaac as a sacrifice), and Moses (who chose to be mistreated with his (God's) people, rather than living a comfortable life in Pharoah's court where he was raised), etc. as those who stepped out and just continued to live life in faith:

13All these people were still living by faith when they died.
They did not receive the things promised;
they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.
And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.
Hebrews 11:13 (NIV)

I don't know about you, but I find such freedom in these words and the words of the song above. Why do I struggle so for perfection in this world? What futility! This world is broken, and it is full of brokenness! We see it all around us. Broken people, broken relationships, and broken promises. Broken spirits, broken homes, broken hearts. I'm sure I could go on. No wonder I have days where I feel like I'm trudging through a load of mud. I am one of those broken things.

And see, the thing about brokenness and broken stuff, is that it doesn't function as it should, and consequently never quite gives us the whole picture. It's like a puzzle with missing pieces; fill it in and the scope of the whole picture could be very different from what you initially thought. Or like a broken (or old and tarnished) mirror; you can't get the complete reflection, and what you do see isn't clear. I love this verse:

12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

When this was written, mirrors didn't exist as we know them today. They were basically sheets of polished metal, full of imperfections that made the reflection dull and difficult to see.

I think this is one of the most difficult and frustrating things about living a broken life in a broken world. It is, at least, for someone who has to plan and have control (I don't know anyone like that, do you?) We only have a poor, dull, incomplete picture of this life. The not knowing and not understanding why, and not always being able to see or anticipate what is ahead is painful. The lack of clarity and lack of focus are painful. But, as frustrating as these are in my attempts to control my life, they also give me hope and make me thankful. Why?

I was meant to be in the arms of Your redemption.
I am moving on to the place of Your perfection.

What a relief, actually. Thank goodness I don't belong here! I have something better, much better - perfection - to hope towards. Just like the reflection in mirrors of old was poor and incomplete, so am I. In this world of brokenness, I can trust in God's redemption, grace, and plan for my life. Even though I screw up - constantly - I don't have to constantly measure myself up against my unrealistic expectations. God has begun a good work in me, and He will carry it on until it is complete in me (Philippians 1:6). Until then, I live out my faith through my words and actions. I fellowship with others, and encourage them in or towards a relationship with the only One who can mend their brokenness. And in all I do, I worship.

15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God
a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)

I am not perfect, and in this world, on this side of eternity, I never will be. In that light, I ought to find comfort in my brokenness.

This world is not my home
I'm a stranger in this land
But I am not alone

"I Do Not Belong" / Kutless / 2008

1 comment:

pastorvan said...

Heather, I love your blog. How did you get music on your blog. I am rather new at blogging. It is so good for my soul. Praying for your new baby. Blessings, Van