Editor’s note: Make sure you check out part 1.
Before you can really wrestle with the reason behind why you do what you do in (fill in the blank…in my case, youth ministry) you have to embrace your own brokenness and WHO is involved in the un-breaking.
Hints of this truth have ebbed into my thought life over the years, but at one point the hints more than ebbed. These hints pushed at me and begged me to notice the world I have come from and the world I am continuously walking into. There are days when I try to live between the two worlds, pushing aside my brokenness while simultaneously pushing aside healing and growth.
Because embracing my own brokenness can take my breath away and feel painful if my thoughts about the nature of God are more about shame and judgement than they are about grace and forgiveness.
Who wants to see what’s happening on the inside when it could mean naming the things that keep us in the habit that we hate, the pattern that we continue or on the path we’d rather not walk on?
There’s a song by a group called You + Me that my husband and I like to use as an example of something that a loving, generous, ever-forgiving and protecting God might sing over one of his precious daughters or sons as they walk, oftentimes repeatedly, home.
Imagine these words being sung over you:
Tell me the words you long to hear and I’ll sing them loud and clear
Let me heal the wounds you’ve held onto for all of these years
Break the cycle, Break the chains
For love is louder than all your pain
There are cycles in our lives that shouldn’t be there, and God hopes that we will surrender them to His love. But it’s so easy to lose sight of this opportunity when the present reality is painful. It’s easy to lose sight of the reason. When things change, when we face crisis, when we experience a challenge too big for us, we’d rather not tell God the words we long to hear, we’d rather not let God heal the wounds—because that would mean bringing them to him (again).
I share from experience.
• It’s tough to move beyond passive acceptance of whatever pains we live with.
• We’re uncomfortable with the cycle, but resisting it hurts more.
Potty training our children was a big deal. We knew when they were ready to be trained the day they started hiding when they were making a big deal in their diaper. One day they had no clue where the mess came from. In fact, they were often oblivious to it being there once it arrived. Jumping and playing, landing and moshing all of that hot heavy mess wasn’t a big deal until they felt it for the first time. Once they realized they were responsible for it they started hiding. They had no idea that everyone within a three foot radius could smell the mess. They thought, if no one sees me, then it doesn’t exist. They didn’t like being the one to make it, but had no imagination or ability to think of a way to stop the cycle. Hiding was the only option.
I didn’t want my kids to live in that mess forever. So, we potty trained them. The stories about how we accomplished that are hilarious. It took a lot of love, time, creativity, begging, dancing, crying, screaming…and the kids had it bad too. But we didn’t want that cycle for them to follow them to elementary school so we faced it and found a way to change it.
God doesn’t want any of you to remain in the mess you are in. Whether it be a sin, a memory, a pattern, a habit, a sadness, a cycle, etc., God sees us hiding and longs to show us a way that we may not be able to imagine on our own. He says, “Let me heal the wounds you’ve held onto for all of these years”.
If we want to know the reason we do something, we have to know the reason we are something first.
You are beloved and worthy of not only forgiveness but of great transformation. This knowledge, this mind renewing knowledge, leads us into all of the “whys” behind what we get to do.
So, whatever “it” is.
You can break the cycle with active resistance.
You can interrupt its momentum.
You can stop its control over your life.
But, it requires a strong force of interruption.
Jesus is the force you need to actively resist cycles of brokenness that distract you from the head of Christ, that keep your heart wandering and wondering.
If you feel it’s time to break a cycle, you’ve got to turn your feeling into action.
• Your first act: meeting with Jesus to drop off your wounds, calling out to him for a change that only Jesus can bring about. This is truly calling out to him and naming whatever “it” is, unafraid because there is only love
• Your second act is to rethink Jesus’ role in your life. Jesus isn’t a patch you can apply to your life to make it feel better. Jesus is the restoration of your life, and the transformation of your mind. Pouring new wine into old skins is a waste. There’s a new skin Jesus wants you to live in.
The new skin sets you free.
BEING SET FREE CALLS US TO BE THE DIVINE INTERRUPTION IN A KID’S LIFE.
We’re getting closer to the reason when we realize this in our continual freedom.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN “ME” CAN HAPPEN IN “WE.”
The world will always try to reduce your prophetic voice to a whisper; the world will always try to mess with your reasoning and give you another reason to believe that your life and redemption is an anomaly.
You have to know what your convictions are behind the ministry and message of doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with teenagers.
THE CONVICTION behind why I do what I do is this: JESUS CAME TO BREAK CYCLES. He has broken ours, we have seen the power, AND WE BECOME LIKE HIM WHEN WE LIVE TO BREAK THEM IN HIS NAME.
Jesus is why behind your YES.
Jesus is the ability behind your inability.
Jesus pulls your head and your heart together for a purpose.
JESUS MAKES YOU A DIVINE INTERRUPTION.
There is a transformation we experience that makes us passionate about seeing it in others.
Jesus is our most valuable reason.
Jesus changed the game.
For me, for anyone you meet in ministry.
Be brave to pray it today.
“I need you. I want you. No one else can make me new. No one else can break the cycle.
Jesus, you will always be the why behind my yes.”
What is your reason? Why do you do what you do?
Your story is such an important part of why you do what you do. Find a space to tell it and remember why you do what you do.
Brooklyn recently founded The Justice Movement, a church youth movement that helps teenagers help others. Her priority is to inspire and resource youth to break cycles of poverty through faith in action. An ordained pastor, Brooklyn has served in full time youth ministry for the last 16 years, authored numerous books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders, and speaks at camps and conferences. She, her husband, Coy, and daughters, Kirra and Mya, live in Lakeland, Fla., where they like being outside, playing with their dog, Marley. www.brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey/ www.justicemovement.com @thejustmove