How often do you hear someone say (or perhaps you have said it), “I’m broken and unusable.” Or “I can’t be forgiven for what I’ve done.” Or perhaps, “I know God has forgiven me, but I know He can’t use me after what I’ve done.” Maybe even you have thought these things.
As I’ve mentioned, I LOVE beach time. And I love what God teaches me when I’m at the shore. One of the sweetest messages He’s given me relates to how I look for big, perfect, whole shells. Perhaps like this shell I found.
It was big and perfect. I wanted to find more!
Then I came across this one and I started to toss it back because, you know, it was broken.
Why would I keep a broken shell like this? At that moment the Holy Spirit reminded me, He doesn’t throw us away when we are broken. How grateful I am for that! I am broken, you are broken, we all have broken places in our lives.
As I continued my hunt and was thinking about God’s grace to us, I came across this shell.
I didn’t see a broken shell, or one that was old and ugly, I saw a shell that was weathered, worn and had so much character.
What I have come to realize is this:
We sometimes think we are supposed to be perfect for others, for ourselves and for God. But “perfection” that hasn’t seen much of life or experienced trials and seen God’s faithfulness through them. This perfect person may look good but may not be able to relate to others who have life that is not perfect. “Perfection” may not have gone into the depths of life with Christ and seen His grace and mercy…His power to help us stand when we have no strength, His hope in hopeless circumstances.
We also may think once we’ve been broken, there’s nothing left. No way God can restore and even use us to minister to others through that brokenness. But when we keep trusting and walking with Christ, asking for healing, weather the wind and waves as this shell has, what we see is strength and character. God can surely use those who allow God to mold and shape us into His perfect shape.
That shape will be unique to each of us because He has created us like no one else. But as we trust Him to shape us and use all of life’s experiences to cause us to walk in intimacy with Christ then He will open door after door for us to tell our faith story with all who will listen.
So, which shell do you want to look like?
The perfect shell? Looks good on the outside but has experienced very little of their walk with God through the good and bad?
How about the one with the hole it in. Perhaps you’ve become hardened after being broken and never are re-shaped into His image? That big hole just stays in place with a hard shell around it. There’s no healing and restoration. No willingness to submit that brokenness to Jesus.
Or will you allow God to shape you through the struggles and the brokenness so that you develop a story filled with character, faith and joy to tell that story again and again?
The choice is yours.