“Your power at work in me, I’m broken gracefully. I’m strong when I am weak, I will be free indeed”
~Matt Redman, Gracefully Broken
This year has been one in which I have wrestled with God. I have wrestled with him by trying to do things in my own strength, failing and coming to terms with the fact that in myself I have nothing to offer. That has been so hard for me to recognize and honestly, it sort of ticked me off. I got angry at God, in my prayer I asked God a question I am almost embarrassed to admit that I asked, but in the hope that this encourages someone, this is what I said.
I asked the Lord, “so what? I am nothing?” Very gently and lovingly I heard the sweet Holy Spirit whisper back to me, “ you are an empty vessel”.
All of the sudden I got a new revelation of my walk with Jesus. This walk with Him is one in which I am completely exposed, naked and unashamed. That can be hard for someone who sees herself as strong and independent. To view me as simply a vessel waiting to be filled. That is a tough pill for me to swallow and yet here I am working it down. I have done the work of filling it myself. Using my gifts, using personality, sarcasm, jokes, and putting on a show to fill up my vessel so that I still had control of it.
However, the more I live this life, the more I pursue His presence I realize how little I can do on my own, I literally have nothing to offer except my empty vessel. How did I come to this realization after following hard after Jesus for 20 years you may ask? As is usually the case, it was a simple act of guidance from the Holy Spirit, a basic reminder that He can be involved in everything if I let him.
For those of you who are reading this and know me well, you know that I lose things. Like a lot. I lose my keys, sunglasses, wallet, phone. All the things, all the time. Recently I got a tile for my keys and my wallet. It is fantastic. Matt has find my iPhone for me on his phone so that I can locate my phone in order to locate my wallet and keys. I have all my bases covered. This character trait is something that is annoying to me, I hate being scatterbrained. So last week there were a few things that were missing, things we had spent money one and were frustrated with the loss of, some of which were my daughter, Emery’s new clothes. So, I finally in a huff one day asked the Lord where are these clothes. Later that day I noticed a bag of Emery’s hanging in the garage. It was full, I had looked at this bag and passed by it daily, but something about it stopped me. I opened it up and lo and behold the shirt, jeans and shoes we had been searching for were all tucked nicely inside.
Later that week Matt was disappointed at the loss of some new sunglasses. We thought we had forgotten them in a rental car and would never see them again. I told him to pray and ask the Holy Spirit. The very next day he thought to look under the back seat of the church truck. Guess what he found. Sunglasses!
Finally, because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Emery had also lost her coat. With a trip to Chicago coming up I told her we needed to find it and I spewed out a generic prayer of Lord help us find that coat. This morning I walked back to the garage and there on the hook under the bag containing the clothes, is her coat.
I am not usually a person who sees spiritual intervention is every great parking spot I find, but I have to say the Lord has been speaking to me over the past few weeks. It all came together when I was reading this morning in the words of Paul,
“For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 NLT
The key to having an empty vessel, gracefully broken life was right here in front of me. I love when God is speaking, continually through everyday things, through everyday moments, just leading me to a truth that is going to change my life. He is so patient with us, isn’t he?
The way to live an empty life in 3 simple steps, because I am a teacher at heart and Jesus knows I like lists.
Forget everything except Jesus
Come to Jesus in weakness
Rely only on the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Boom. What is left after that? The power of God can truly do what He wants to do in my life and through my life and I can let go and stop striving and stressing about making things happen.
As I have been asking the Lord for what 2019 will look like this is it, gracefully broken, empty vessels. 2018 has been hard. I haven’t let it feel hard, I have just kept my head down and pushed through. I know as the year winds down and I reflect, I am feeling the weight of it. God is breaking me down so that all the crap can flow out of my brokenness and he can re-fill me with his spirit, which will lead me to all truth, which will strengthen me in my weakness and build me up. He wants to move me forward and to accomplish so much more than I could do on my own.
It is scary to be empty. It is hard to be broken and admit my weakness. It is HIS power at work in me when I am broken and HIS strength can move in my weakness where I can find true freedom.
If you are like me and working hard to keep all the balls in the air, working hard to succeed, working hard to live, I want to encourage you to give it up. Let’s face it we aren’t really fooling anybody.
If you are struggling to surrender, I encourage you to put on some headphones and have a listen to my girl Tasha.
There is grace for our brokenness that is found in Jesus. He is so good to us.