Excerpt from new book Wilderness

Embrace brokenness; it can make you whole

As we go through the wilderness, we have the distinct sense that we have been or are being changed in some fundamental way. Something inside feels broken and we know that even if it were mended, we will never be the same. We may wonder if we will ever be happy again or if we are doomed to spend the rest of our days roaming the earth as ghosts, absent but present. Unsurprisingly, we resist brokenness because the very idea is negative; it means being damaged, fractured, injured, split, demoralized, subdued and many other gloomy adjectives. It has an upside, however.

By fundamentally altering the way we view both ourselves and life, brokenness transforms us, enabling us to effectively live anew. It generates humility and sensitivity to others in a way that few other things can. It replaces brashness with gentleness, being judgmental with mercy and uptightness with the ability to wear life loosely. It also enables us to appreciate the fragility of life and human nature, and the slights that once offended us become as dust that we simply shake off our feet. When we are broken, we can apologize with ease because we recognize that an apology is not beneath our dignity, it affirms it. Brokenness makes us quieter, enabling us to become better listeners who are aware of our own limitations and life’s awesomeness. When Joseph embraced his brothers after his promotion, he was no longer the arrogant kid who was looking forward to being bowed to, but God’s broken humble servant-leader.

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