When You Feel Broken

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Hey Friends, here’s an entry I wrote a while ago. Its a bit more of a spiritual article, but I think we all go through seasons when we feel like our past, our failures or your imperfections have kept us from being all that we were meant to be. What if embracing your brokenness wasn’t just a way to deal with your past but a key to unlocking your future?

A few years ago, I was visiting the British Museum of Art and I was walking through an exhibit that showcased Japanese art. There were paintings and tapestries and sculptures. And there was pottery. Lots and lots of pottery. As I wandered through endless hallways filled with pottery, I came to one room where each pot was secured carefully behind special glass. It was obvious that these had to be really valuable pots.

I guessed that maybe they were older than the other pots and that’s what made them valuable. Or maybe they had been owned by a dynasty or were made of expensive materials. As I looked closer, I began to realize that they all had one thing in common. They were broken, or at least at one time, they had been broken. Each of the vessels in the special room were broken pots that had been glued back together.

Huh?

I didn’t understand what made them more valuable until I read more about Kintsugi. I learned that in Japanese culture, the art of Kintsugi, or the mending of broken pots, is considered one of the highest and most valuable of all artisan skills. Where most people would want damaged things to be hidden by repair and made to look new, Kintsugi follows a different philosophy.

Rather than covering up the damage, Kintsugi restores what is broken, actually incorporating the damage into the beauty of the restored item. The Japanese believe that the brokenness of the object is part of the object’s history and should be celebrated rather than covered up. Kintsugi uses gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals to fill in the gaps of the broken piece, resulting in something even more beautiful than the original.

That’s exactly what God does for us. God doesn’t take us and cover up or hide our brokenness so that it’s not part of who we are. Rather, He uses our brokenness as a way to show His faithfulness in our story. We could call the broken lines in our lives our testimony. I think of so many people who reflect God’s beauty all the more because of their brokenness.

I think of the students from Compassion International who have told their stories as part of The Thorn over the years. How God brought them out of poverty and human trafficking and fear and put them back together again like only He can.

I think of my own Dad who went through a decade of loneliness and separation from family only to be drawn back again because of the enduring love of God.

Or how about Jacob, who wrestled with God and walked with a limp for the rest of his life, a reminder of his own brokenness and the way that God met with him in the middle of it.

But Jesus was the greatest example of beauty in brokenness. When He rose from the dead, He could have chosen to have a perfect body. I mean if there was ever anyone who knew how to create a perfect 10, it was Jesus. And yet, He chose for His resurrected body to bear the wounds of His brokenness. I think it was for more than just to show Thomas. I think He wanted to show us that there’s something special about how He repairs broken things.

In our culture, we so often want to cover up and airbrush out our imperfections. We want to put on a pretty face and hide the real us from the world around us. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest only feed our insecurities and need to put away our messy selves. But what if what the world around you needs in order to see Jesus is to see your mess?

The most valuable part of the art of Kintsugi is the precious metal that’s used to connect the broken pieces. God is the glue that connects all the painful, broken, unattractive pieces of us and makes us whole. By covering up our story, we inadvertently cover up the God who redeemed us and put us back together again.

Are you allowing God to shine through and mend your broken pieces? Have you hidden your pain out of shame rather than allowed God to be glorified in your brokenness? Today, in your weakness, let Him be strong.


This article is an excerpt from SO LOVED, a new faith-focused book by John Bolin. If you’d like to read more, you can click HERE to get the book. Have a great day!