It is a curious sensation: the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling. When you’re so bent and broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. This is not so much the end of happiness as the beginning of peace. It is the greatest of struggles that produces the sweetest of victories. The sweetest of these being the restoration of what was once thought broken beyond all hope.
There are two ways to restore broken pottery. The ancient Eastern traders developed a method of reassembling the broken vase and “waxing over” the cracks in a manner that could deceive the unsuspecting customer. Only long after the trader had moved on was the vase tested by either heat or light and found to be marred and useless. On the other hand, the Japanese have a tradition of artfully repairing damaged objects known as Kintsugi a method of fixing broken pottery with a lacquer resin sprinkled with powdered gold.
You restore a broken vessel by trying to repair the break seamlessly, making the break invisible, or by highlighting the damaged part, calling attention to the damage, yet creating out of that damaged piece something as or even more valuable than before. The Japanese believe such repair gives honor to the piece’s history.
For most of us, brokenness is a part of our story. Just as in broken pottery, we can never make it completely disappear. We can try to patch it and hide it by “waxing it over”, but at some point it will be exposed for what it is and may end up hurting ourselves and others all over again…or we can repair it demonstratively, creating a new piece, which if done right, is something of far greater value than before it was broken.
LIFE Leadership has taught us to see the potential that exists within everyone of us to be transformed, not by discarding or “waxing over” the broken pieces of our lives, but by taking those broken shards and recreating them into a piece of unimaginable character and beauty. We don’t need to look too far to find evidence of our wreckage in the areas of Faith, Family, Fitness, Finances, Friends, Following, Fun and Freedom.
So many broken vessels, expecting to be rejected and discarded, yet desperately hoping and wishing for something more substantial than the quick fix that most have become so accustomed to. In our short journey along this rediscovered pathway to the Life we’ve always wanted, we have learned some amazing life changing truths that are worth sharing. They have proven to be so much more than the empty, trite advice of the many amateur providences who love to see us get ahead in life, as long as its not ahead of them, and more lasting than the psycho-bable and self medication which at the end of the day only serves to bring us down deeper into our pain and despair.
That One Thing
At the very beginning we were encouraged to dig deep and find that one thing that we believed we were created for. That God given purpose that we knew deep down has always fired us up…our primal cause. Your reason for being. We all have it, but so few find it because of the distractions along the way…the shiny objects along life’s pathway, the secondary causes that show up disguised as urgent and important and the present traps the enemy sets for us based upon our broken past experiences …all of these are his tactics to steal, kill and destroy. But you are bigger and better not because of who you are, but in spite of who you are because of the one that permanently abides in you. There are many great things that have come to pass out of the most painful circumstances and greatest sadness, but how crazy it would be to not separate those events from the resultant prize? We must always remember that God is who He says he is and he does what he says he will do, but he will never override your personal choice. The key is to examine every path on the basis of pleasing ONLY him and you WILL find that one thing. We all want that whether we now know it or not and when it eludes us we are incomplete, frustrated and just plain miserable.
Yet for some reason we would rather endure the price of the pain and struggle of that misalignment than the lesser pain of change.
If we knew without doubt the priceless rewards of a full engagement with our purpose would we not risk our very life for it, yet alone the reputation, acceptance and approval of peers, or even personal comfort? One of my mentors reminds me that very often it takes the pain of staying the same to become greater than the pain of change before we will do anything about it.
Most of the time we dont have the best in life because we think its too costly. Or we dont think it through well enough to realize the benefits. Or, we engage in negative self talk about our purpose that is simply not true. Usually negative thoughts about failure and struggle and so forth. The bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” We must be very careful about what we think. Thoughts have presence. They find a home. They will always be felt by those around you and will have an impact on your success or failure in life.
You may remember the place in the Bible called Kadesh Barnea?
If you read the book of Numbers, its the story of the Israelites being delivered from Egypt and being guided by God through the wilderness to the Promised Land, Canaan. They saw miracle after miracle. They knew God was with them. When they arrived at Kadesh Barnea God said “go take your victory. This is the land I’ve promised you. I will go with you.” But they did not have faith…… They doubted. They let negativity, discouragement, fear, change, all that stuff get the better of them and so they sent someone in to check it out.
God had heard the people’s incessant murmuring… God had plans for them, yet they would rather have the security of bondage than to step out into the unknown and follow Gods leading….
The result was that He sent them aimlessly wandering in the desert and out of about 2 million people only the two believers, Joshua and Caleb lived to fulfill their dream and Gods promise in the land of Canaan.
The opportunity was stolen from the majority by rumor, hearsay and popular opinion.
This may be your Kadesh Barnea moment. Its time to go out with courage and take a hold of all the promises that are yours and to make your name great for the glory of God. To pursue a Matthew 5:16 life with courage…to be seperated from the herd…to swim upstream…to be the original that God created you to be. You’re created in His image with a hope and a future. Be proud of it and get it done!
So, when all is said and done. perfect peace comes not from the absence of struggle, pain and brokenness, but from the blessed assurance that in our imperfections there is nothing, absolutely nothing that can separate us from such perfect love as His. Our imperfections and brokenness, when they are seen as trophies of a magnificent journey, and are embellished with the gold dust of divine restoration will become trophies of grace and testimonies of victory across the stages of LIFE. Kintsugi!
The LIFE culture developed by founders Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, and world class council of Leaders, Mentors and Coaches has contributed enormously in helping me to overcome the obstacles and pitfalls along this journey to Freedom. Janice and I would encourage anyone who is struggling to find their way through life and who has not yet discovered their God given purpose to join us in this quest by looking into LIFE Leadership either as a business owner, or as a subscriber to the Life changing information that we offer.