Beauty in Brokenness

"He has made everything Beautiful in it's time." Eccl. 3:11

Free to Fail

on February 15, 2014

This week at our weekly meeting, we had a relationship panel to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For some reason college students are so intrigued with the idea of Love and relationships and marriage. It’s so foreign. For some its a puzzle they are trying to make sense of, and for some it is a strategy they are trying to memorize to get the best results (for future reference of course!)

Never in my life did I think that I would be on a Relationship panel! For real… When did this happen?

When the previous dating couple had to step down, we were asked to step up. Don;t get me wrong, there was a part of me that was flattered… and another part that was terrified! Who thought that I was the person for this job?

Now just so there is no confusion. I love the relationship that I have with my boyfriend. It is fun and caring and thoughtful, but it is also messy. And I love the mess! The way we stumble through life together just makes me happy. Neither of us have any idea what we are doing. And so far it has been such a blessing to figure it out together. The way we have been able to fail and grow together has meant more to me than anything. There is a certain freedom in mess and chaos.

Growing up I struggled with the idea of perfection. I knew that no one was perfect, but in the way I approached things and in the expectations I set for myself, you would never know it. It was ok for other people to not be perfect (if that was what they wanted), but for me that meant I was a failure. To be less than perfect, was to be unacceptable and unloveable. This led to a lot of legalism and judgement in my life. I judged people by the standard that I set for myself… which was pretty impossible.

Aside from all the other ways this negatively affected my life, my friendships, and most importantly my relationship with Jesus, it also affected my idea of romantic relationships. The minute I found a flaw in a guy, he was marked off my list of available bachelors. There was no grace. I was not available and not open to the pursuit of anyone. Deep down this was a way to protect myself. I did not want to be known closely by anyone, because I knew that my heart and mind did not match the persona I tried to put on outwardly. To justify my attitude toward guys, I convinced myself I was not being judgemental, just careful. Any relationship I entered had to be perfect, so I did not open up to any at all.

Looking back it was not all a bad thing. God used this sin and brokenness to protect me from some things that I was clearly not ready for. He used time to heal me so that I became ready.

But something I have learned is that you will never be ready. You will never be able to get yourself all cleaned up in order to present yourself to another cleaned up man and enter into a perfect tidy relationship. That is not real. Sometimes God wants you to trust Him and take a risk. He has whats best for you in mind. He used a healthy relationship to heal things in me that were still broken. And I have realized that they never would have gotten healed by themselves.

How did that happen? By taking a risk and trusting God to protect my heart. To follow the Lord, sometimes you have to be vulnerable. Take a risk. Trust Him to do what He promises to do. “Never leave you for forsake you.”

In my case, He used a man who was imperfect but surrendered to the Lord, to show me more deeply how God views me. And it is a beautiful picture. Its my story and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Our relationship does not match the standard that I had expected of myself in high school. We deal with conflict. We kissed earlier than I had previously thought would be ok for a “good Christian couple” (He reminds me often that I kissed him first… oops!), we said I love you before we got engaged (Not engaged now either, so don’t go spreading that rumor), sometimes we push the boundaries we set for ourselves. But there is grace. “There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus for those who believe.” When we fail or hurt each other, it is a reminder that Christ died to set us free from sin and give us the power to start over. Praise the Lord!

God is not someone we can put in a box. There is now way we can tell God, “but this is how it is supposed to go.” He gives us more grace and freedom than we give ourselves. And the more that I learn that the more joy and peace I have found in Him.

In God, we are free to fail, but also free from sin. We do not have to do everything right, but we also do not have to continue doing everything wrong. It does not make sense to me all the time, but I am so glad that it doesn’t have to.

Thank God that He uses the broken and unqualified to take part in His story. Because that is exactly who I am, by the Grace of God.

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