That is a paradox when you first read it, but it’s true. If you need to carry water, then yes an unbroken vessel is best. But I am talking about you and me. The falsehood that we believe is that we need to be perfect and whole to be of any use to anyone or anything.
The real tragedy happens when we quit or feel unqualified only because we come face to face with our own brokenness. I can’t count the times I felt this over my lifetime.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I limped into the kitchen from my office to announce to my wife that I quit. I went on to bemoan how I wondered why I ever thought that I could be a writer and a podcaster. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say! I am too broken and messed up.
My wife patiently listened to my sad venting and kindly encouraged me. I am thankful that she was here and for how she responded.
God also sees things differently than I do. He finds great value and usefulness in our brokenness. God patiently reminds me that is exactly when He can use me. When I am broken.
When I am not in touch with my brokenness, I am full of pride, unforgiveness, judgement, a lack of self-awareness. It’s not a pretty thing. I think that I am in good shape for His use when I “have it all together”. However, my temptations, my weaknesses, my sin control me and not His Spirit.
Ironically when I first get in touch with this reality—how broken I am—that is when I feel the most useless. I know what it is that causes it too. Lots of counseling, books, podcasts, etc. has taught me that it is shame that tells me I am useless.
Shame tells me that I can’t help anyone else with foster/adoptive parenting. It asks me who am I to encourage others to live a life on mission or support foreign missionaries. And that all I do is fail when I try to parent my son with connection.
Of course these are lies that the enemy or my own broken spirit whispers in my head, and they all stem from shame. Just like the way Adam and Eve responded when they messed up. Shame caused them to hide then accuse each other and God.
So what do I do about this when for the one thousandth time it creeps up on me?
First, I don’t stay there. I am the first to recommend getting help when you mess up or are messed up. I needed to get lots of help at different times in my life. But if I chose to not allow others to help me change my life, it is like saying I just want to keep my crapped-filled underwear on. That is what a baby does because he doesn’t know how to clean himself up.
Second, I remember that I am safe with God. He has proven over and over that He will take my broken vessel and make me useful. He isn’t out to destroy us or throw us away like we do with so many things today in our throwaway society. God places a priceless value on our lives, our souls.
Third, I let go of my weakness and place it in His hand. I willingly let Him use my brokenness. He is masterful at taking my messed up life to meet other messed up people where they are at. He knows that most people, if not all, will respond to His glory in my life, if they can see how He has redeemed me from my brokenness.
When I do these things, my weakness becomes His strength for “where I am weak, He is strong.”
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