Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beauty in Brokenness

This past Sunday in our Simple Church community, we reflected upon the significance of "brokenness". For me it had been a week in which the Lord had been highlighting the the place of this in my own life through different means. We started where Jesus did in the Sermon on the Mount ... "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven" [Matt 5:3.]

For several weeks I have been struggling with a sore neck, aching shoulder and persistent numbness in my fingers. I have been to the doctor's, am working with a physical therapist, but as yet there is little or no improvement. It has meant my having to stop my P90X workout routine on week 11 of 13! The pain down my left arm made many exercises beyond me and took away much of my previous enthusiasm. Is this just old age creeping up on me? Yet I have heard the whisper of God about training in godliness and putting no confidence in the flesh.

A similar message has been heard as I read "The Safest Place on Earth" by Larry Crabb. (This was subsequently re-published as "Becoming a True Spiritual Community" and is an excellent read). I was also given an audio book by Watchman Nee - "Releasing the Spirit". Again the same call to brokenness (of self) so that the life of the Spirit can more freely flow from me in a God-glorifying way.

This last week I was away again in Rhode Island, teaching and facilitating more open relationships and personal growth in a business setting. We came up against some resistance to the notion of vulnerably sharing our pain or needs as a means of facilitating growth and closer relationships. Again I sensed the whisper of the Lord.

For Nee, brokenness is the starting point, the need to 'crucify' the outer man (as he puts it) so that we can learn to live out of the new man/identity, with new passions and perspective. Crabb speaks of learning to live out of the 'upper room', the place of union of our spirit with the Spirit of Christ.

We are growing as a community in our relationships and this is a joy to be part of. I long to see and experience more of the Christ in each one of us being released to serve and to love. yet so easily I find myself living out of self, sub-consciously relying upon self, deep down living for self. I am seeking to nurture a few deep friendships where this can be owned and recognized for what it is, so that change and growth can come forth, through the Spirit.

I have long resisted intimacy and transparency with most people. I have looked to and relied upon myself too much, so I welcome the Lord's whisper. I'm glad that it comes like a welcome invitation and not the barking command. I also give thanks for those God has put with me for this part of the journey - they are precious to me because deep down I know I cannot do this alone, nor do I want to be controlled by the fears within. No doubt, more brokenness is coming ..... by God's grace.