He had his head bowed with hot tears spilling down his face. He was devastated. Broken-hearted. His life had fallen apart. As we met with him, it was obvious that he was desperate. Yet, as we found out later, his brokenness wasn’t enough to produce the change that was needed in his life. There was no beauty to be found in his broken world.
You’ve probably heard that the things that break you help you to become a beautiful person. But is that true?
How could this man be so obviously “broken,” and yet it not change the choices he was making?
I remember the young woman who sobbed uncontrollably as she shared with me about some of the traumatic and horrible abuse she received on a daily basis as she was growing up. It was obvious to me that she had experienced more than her share of heartache and pain. She brokenly confessed why she was drawn to a lesbian lifestyle, and she acknowledged it as being sin.
So why did she later go back into the same sin, and why wasn’t her brokenness transformed into something beautiful?
The older I get, the more I am becoming aware of all the brokenness, pain, and evil each of us are exposed to. However, if you’re like me, you’ve also noticed that not all “brokenness” produces beauty. You’ve probably seen people who have faced tremendous heartache in their lives, yet God has woven His healing, redemptive thread into the fabric of their lives. Then you’ve seen others who’ve also experienced immense losses, but their sorrow and grieving has either made them bitter or it simply hasn’t seemed to produce anything beautiful yet. I believe there is a big difference between being broken-hearted and being broken.
We can become heartbroken without it producing true brokenness. The man we were sharing with was heartbroken and devastated because of the consequences of his wrong choices and his losses, yet, this yielded no fruit. No change. He wasn’t broken to the point where he was willing to give up his focus on himself or stop making excuses for his sin. He had not experienced what is described in 2 Cor. 7:10, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
The young woman was deeply hurting but she wasn’t at the place of surrender and brokenness where she was willing to do whatever it takes to be pure before God. She was still fighting to control what happened to her, and her desire to be loved by another person was greater than her desire to love and serve God. She also lacked the godly sorrow that leads to repentance.
We can become intensely hurt and wounded, but in order for God to make beauty out of our ashes, we have to become genuinely broken. Micah 6:8 gives us a good look at what God requires for brokenness: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
You may have faced many things in your life that have broken your heart and have deeply crushed you. You may find yourself, even now, in an intense battle that is threatening to destroy you. You may be shedding many tears and desperately uttering countless prayers, but you will never find true restoration until you’ve become broken before God.
And, friend, this will never happen until you are ready to give up the control of your life and give it to God.
As long as you are making excuses for your wrong attitudes and actions, you will never become broken. It may look like a wife having this attitude towards her husband…“Once HE begins to love and cherish me like he should, I will be able to respect him.” Later she justifies her own impatient and harsh words towards her children by thinking it’s because THEY don’t obey and respect her. Hmm…Do you notice how the blame is always pointed towards others? Unfortunately, this has been my attitude too many times! Why don’t we have the attitude that our children will learn to obey and respect us once WE love them like we should? How about us respecting our husbands, so they will love and cherish us like God intended? Now, this doesn’t mean that we don’t take practical steps and try to identify and understand what our “trigger points” are, and what causes us to react, but it means openly confessing and asking forgiveness for our wrongs and not attempting to justify them.
Each of us want the beauty. We want to be accepted and beloved in the sight of God. We desire to be viewed as a beautiful person; one who rises triumphantly and soars above our trials and pain. We long to have all of our broken pieces created into a beautiful and intricate piece of artwork. To become beautiful, you must become broken. Each of us become wounded and broken in this world, but only a few of us choose to become stronger in our broken places.
In Chron. 7:14, we get a glimpse of where brokenness begins…“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
If you want to produce spiritual fruit that will encourage others, find healing for your pain, have better relationships with God and others, and find restoration in your life, then I encourage you to walk the straight and narrow road of brokenness. The road that leads to beauty.
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)
“God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume…” (Vance Havner)
NaomiPosted at 10:58h, 07 February
Thanks so much, Cindy, for sharing this! You said it very well! Thanks for sharing about the difference between being “brokenhearted” and “broken”! A quote by C. S. Lewis from my devotional yesterday really spoke to my heart: “When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.” God bless you, Cindy! I love you!
Dorcas SwartzentruberPosted at 07:31h, 10 March
Wow, Cindy, I’ve never heard those two concepts of brokenness and broken-heartedness compared this way! A good reminder that surrender to God’s bigger plan is essential to our healing. Your articles are very encouraging and challenging! Just found your blog, and looking forward to hearing more from you as God leads! God bless your family as you minister!
Cindy MullettPosted at 21:55h, 17 March
Thank you for those encouraging words, Dorcas….Give God the glory!
JolenePosted at 20:21h, 17 September
Oh my word!! You hit the nail on the squarely on the head several times over!! I just had an absolutely terrible day n am wondering if God is asking me to give up something very precious to me.. A form of ministry that I felt sure He was calling me to.. How do i no for sure what He wants? I don’t know.. But your words bout never experiencing restoration till we’re broken b4 God, n that that will never happen till we r ready to give Him the control of our lives just jumped out at me!! Ouch!! But I just asked God to show me what I need to do n I believe this was the answer.. Just found your blog recently n very much appreciate it! Another thing I’ve been thinking about a lot recently is how do move from merely knowing about God to actually knowing Him? Maybe you could write bout this on your blog sometime..
Cindy MullettPosted at 18:35h, 01 October
Thank you for being open and sharing what God has been doing in your heart. It is difficult when you’ve felt like God was calling you to something…but then it seems like God is closing the doors. I pray that God gives you the discernment to know what His perfect will is. And control. Wow! That is such a struggle for us, isn’t it? We like to be in control…and to know what is happening! God bless you for your heart of surrender to Him. God will bless you as you hold your plans with an open hand and trust Him to guide you. God will do amazing things in your life! I’m praying for you. ~Cindy