broken but not crushed

Helping each other live successfully and abundantly in the face of brokenness.

Location: Columbus, Central Ohio, United States

Friday, July 07, 2006

Shade Tree Counsel

Fellow travelers

I’ve seen too many people quit. Every time I hear of a good person broken by life’s unexpected dark side who has chosen to just sit down and wait to die, a part of me wants to scream “NOOOOOOO!!! You have so much to offer, so many gifts, so many people who love you ... why quit, why stop, why now?”

OK, let’s dare to be honest: the temptation is there for every broken person. Some days the mountain seems to grow right before your eyes, and when we decide to sleep on it the grade looks steeper today than it did yesterday. Anyone who tells you that you’ll get used to it is lying – you never get used to brokenness. True, it becomes more familiar, less intimidating, and the way through becomes easier to find over time, but you don’t “get used” to being broken. You deal with it, you fight through it, you make adjustments and refinements in your routines to make things a little easier, and you learn the hard lessons because you have to – but I’ve never met anyone who gets used to being broken. Broken is still broken. And we can just, plain get tired of it - tired of the struggle, tired of making the inevitable mistakes, tired of trying one more time to do something the rest of the world takes for granted. Or, if your brokenness came later in life like mine, what I, myself, took for granted for 50 plus years.

But come on, do you really want to quit? Or would a nice stretch of R&R serve a greater purpose? If there is one thing I’ve learned in this strange journey through brokenness it is that God really does help us compensate if we will permit his help. The broken people I’ve had the privilege of meeting are some of the most creative people on the planet. Not so much because they are creative by nature or birth though many are, but because they HAVE to be creative to make it through the day. Knowing you makes me proud to be a part of the community of the hurt and hurting.

Please, my dear fellow traveler, if you’ve been tempted to stop trying, let me encourage you to run as fast as you can away from that temptation, then stop and take a breather.

I’m reminded of the story of Elijah in the Bible – he had just won the biggest battle of his life. It required everything he had physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually - and when God came through for him he became the winning-est man alive. Then he was confronted by yet one more challenge, and he just couldn’t do it. He ran off into the desert and begged God to kill him so he didn’t have to face tomorrow. He was exhausted and couldn’t take one more step - and he just about quit. But God said, “Hey, buddy, go over there by the brook - yea, under that shade tree - and take a nap. God had birds bring him food and Elijah, the great winning prophet, rested for weeks until he regained his strength. From there he moved on to do his greatest ministry ever.

My fellow traveler, hang in there. Take some time and rest those aching bones, relax your weary mind, and allow time – and God – to soothe your stressed out emotions. Who knows, the best times you’ve ever known might be just around the corner if you just hang on a little while more.

Life is strange with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometime learns
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with just one more blow.

Be encouraged!


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