Pondering Brokenness, [Acceptance]

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Broken Fresco– Assisi, Italy

Many voices tell me that there must be distinct lines between sinners (like, me) and Church people. These borders keep order and provide security to those on the ‘inside’ of our Faith. This seems more from a reaction to control than actual sin.

But there are so many people with mental illness: Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, addictions, PTSD, and many others. We are truly an afflicted people.

Fitting in isn’t always easy

“Most of the verses written about praise in God’s Word were voiced by people faced with crushing heartaches, injustice, treachery, slander, and scores of other difficult situations.” 

Joni Eareckson Tada

There needs to be an adjustment to the status quo. Room must be made for the ‘losers’ and the misfits. These are people for whom Christ died. They are special to God.

According to federal  law, buildings must be accessible to the handicapped. Special signs are placed in the parking lots, for special parking and wheelchair ramps need to be installed. This is well and good. But let’s extend this ‘deliberateness’ to those with other needs as well.

“The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The Church is not made up of whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us.”

–Mike Yaconelli

I encourage you to become proactive when it comes to “opening up” the Church to include ‘the brokenness of the other.’ Even a smile can make the difference to the down-trodden soul. Love the unlovely,  just like Jesus.

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Having a Nervous Breakdown

nervous-breakdownThe phrase “nervous breakdown” is a common term used to describe any sort of severe mental distress. It can mean a variety of things: clinical depression, to manic episodes, to hearing voices (or schizophrenia). It is a broad term which can describe many different issues, but especially the most flagrant and public ones.

People who have had a nervous breakdown are very often considered flawed or weak. Their weakness has become public. And so often there is the need for secrecy. At all times and in all places, a solidity must be projected (even if it is unreal). So many don’t realize how much effort it takes some people to act normal.

We are what we are. And Jesus wants us to walk in the truth. Certainly we should never indulge in exhibitionism nor to flaunter our issues before others purposefully. Rather we “are to have the mind of Christ.” All we are is what he wants us to be, (Read Romans 8, and be encouraged).

I think “brokenness” is the only way to handle this spiritually.

We must see ourselves as broken people being made whole be the blood of Christ. We are twisted and torn with many issues and concerns. Perhaps genetically or socially flawed, yet we each stand open to God. It’s necessary is to see that his power and grace can never be restricted, no matter how complicated we are.

Just perhaps we are the modern equivalent of the biblical version of the leper. We are “unclean,” and must make it known publicly. But as lepers we are close to the heart of Jesus. He has always had mercy on such as we. And on the margins we find he is seeking us out. We will stand, because he makes us stand.

“Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God’s being present in the mess of our unfixedness.”

Mike Yaconelli

6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6

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A Broken Brokenbeliever

inconsistent1I am a premium blend of paradox and inconsistencies. I make no claim at all to being anything but. I’m afraid my bipolar has marked me.

But I’m finding victory in Christ, For me discipleship is simply being close to Jesus. I come with baggage which I give to Him. He insist on taking all of it.

I’m discovering that my Christian walk is not some sort of comprehensive  self-improvement plan to overcome whatever particular sin which is bothering me at the moment. Rather it is choosing to be filled with the Spirit of Holiness.

That is a big deal. I’m not out to achieve but to “abide.” The fundamental difference is profound. The ministry of the Holy Spirit activated in my heart creates the energy to please God. His work is impeccable and true, and it’s the only way it’s going to work.

In my mind may be confusion (I lose my way so quickly) but His presence is both gentle and strong. I can “turn off” His kind guidance. However if I do I “crash and burn” every time.

Jesus is not shocked by my wilfulness. He doesn’t fret over my sin. He deals with me without doubt and discouragement. He doesn’t ever regret taking me on as a believer. My disruptive walk doesn’t tarnish His love for me. I know this.

I may be far behind you in this discipleship. So far I’ve led a muddled life. When I act independently I get confused. I have a “checkered” track record that bars me from making any claim toward success. I am a broken brokenbeliever,

“It’s not about perfection; it’s about our intimacy with God, or our connection, our relationship with God. Once we get through that, once we realize that we can be imperfect, flawed, broken; those kinds of things are the ingredients of spirituality.”

–Mike Yaconelli

The Lord has broken me a thousand times, and I anticipate there will be thousands more. He is faithful to keep His promise to present me one day holy and true. I am trusting Him.

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”

Jude 24-25, NLT

ybic, Bryan


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My ‘Agape’ Jalopy

Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. ”  — Michael Yaconelli

My “Agape” Jalopy

Accepting ourselves is a lifelong process.

We talk of “accepting Christ”, but for many that really is not the problem.  When we talk about Jesus, there is such an attractiveness about him, that makes ‘hard-boiled’ agnostics stand back and grudgingly admire.  But, to accept “me”, well that takes more then just a bit of imagination.  When your depressed or anxious it just escalates the problem.

We just don’t like ourselves.  Sometimes I think that if I met me, I would think, “What a jerk! ”  Having psychiatric issues only intensifies and focalizes my sin into a horrifying mess.  I’m not just a loser, I’m a loser on steroids.  A supreme loser!  I’m certainly not the red Ferrari, I am obviously the rusty Edsel with the balloon tires and a lousy heater.

The remarkable thing though is not my spiritual unattractiveness, but God’s irrational love for me.  The New Testament writers used the word we translate “love” as “agape“.  That Greek word meant a love without any conditions, a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well being of the other.  Actually, it is a love that goes out of the way to care for its enemy.  That’s the audacity of agape.

We do the mental gymnastics to try to grasp the definition.  We strain and contort but it defies comprehension.  We grab, hold it, and then it gets loose and we clutch air.

“This is how much God loved [agape] the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life .”                                

 -John 3:16, MSG

When I tell you, “Jesus loves you”, you will probably smile politely, nod and say “I know,” and turn away.  But, once in awhile, “lightning will strike,” you will look up in stunned amazement, with tears in your eyes, and whisper, “I know”.


Spirituality is not about being fixed; it is about God’s being present in the mess of our unfixedness.” — Michael Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality

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