How an Imperfect Person Can Find Joy Today

Margaret —  January 13, 2014 — 30 Comments

How to Find Beauty in Brokenness

It only takes turning on the news or reading the headlines on The Huffington Post to remind us that we live in a broken world.

Even in our personal lives, we face brokenness. Financial struggles, scary diagnoses, unemployment, the loss of a loved one, broken relationships. The list continues…

A few weeks ago, I shared this link on Facebook and Twitter: http://goo.gl/lSXcPT. I knew the photography was breathtaking, but I wasn’t quite ready for one comment a reader made.

Lee said, “Love it! God makes beauty out of brokenness.”

Such a simple, but powerful reminder. One that continues echoing to me as I face this Goliath battle.

I can’t help but wonder, what if we all found beauty in being broken? 

For when we are broken, God is strong.

When we are weak, God’s power is made perfect.

When we have nothing left to give, God still uses us.

How to Find Beauty in Brokenness

Starting today, will you take these steps to find beauty in the midst of brokenness?

1.     Read only the good stuff. [Tweet this] Choose to center your thoughts on the beauty in the world rather than focusing on the negative. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Train your mind to concentrate on the noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In doing so, you’ll see your perspective and attitude shift. For every once piece of bad news you read or watch, read two articles or links that restore your hope.

2.     Be grateful. [Tweet this] In the midst of our own brokenness, we can wear blinders, in a sense, that blocks out everything else but our troubles. Instead of focusing on your situation or adversity, choose to give thanks.

Starting today, write down three things you are thankful for. To add to that challenge, share your three things on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook with the hashtag, #1000gifts. Soon, you’ll begin to see everything as a gift and lay hold of the beauty even in the midst of struggle.

3.     Learn someone’s story. [Tweet this] Choose someone you know who has had a rough few years. Maybe they went through a tragic loss, were diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, or lost their job. Take them out to dinner or meet for a cup of coffee. Ask them to share as much of their story as they feel comfortable. As you listen, look for ways you can encourage or bless them. Celebrate the work God is doing in their lives that they may not recognize yet.

When we identify the beauty in others’ lives, we can begin to see the beauty in our own brokenness, too.

4.     Focus on the WHO. [Tweet this] While God welcomes all of our questions, he challenges us to reorient our thinking on the WHO, instead of the WHY. We’re reminded through the story of Job that we may not understand WHY things are as broken as they are, but, in holding on to God’s promises and resting in God’s presence, we can find hope, strength, and joy in the middle of despair. 

How to Find Beauty in Brokenness

Instead of flooding God with WHY questions today, shift your attention to the truths about who God is. For when we trust in his goodness, hold tight to his faithfulness, we can #LIVEWONDERSTRUCK each and every day.

 

***

The Beauty of Broken (Giveaway and an Interview with @FullFillmag) @ThomasNelsonThis week I'm giving away THREE copies of Elisa Morgan's book, The Beauty of Broken: There's No Such Thing As A Perfect FamilyElisa, one of Christianity Today’s top 50 women influencing the church and culture, is a sought-after speaker, leader, and author on mothering, spiritual formation, and evangelism. Under her leadership as CEO, MOPS International grew from 350 to 4,000 groups. She is married to Evan and has two children and one grandchild.

I asked Elisa what she hopes will happen in the reader’s heart and mind after they finish with The Beauty of Broken.

Elisa said, "My prayer is that each reader realizes that God loves the broken. Desperately. And God uses the broken. Deeply. In some cases even more than before the breakage. Thank God. Because there is beauty in the broken."

What tips do you have to find beauty in brokenness today? Will you share links, articles, and videos to remind us of the GOOD in the world? When you comment, you'll be entered to win one of THREE copies of Elisa's new book.

Congratulations to the winners: Sharon Chappius, Rose, Joyce Watson

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30 responses to How an Imperfect Person Can Find Joy Today

  1. This reminds me of Laura Story’s song Blessings – what if blessings come through rain drops, what if healing comes through tears. It is an incredible message, but so often, like you, I don’t want to hear it. Thanks for the reminders on how to focus on the good.

  2. I love Philippians 4:8 and it helps me to count my every day blessings. When I’m on the lookout for what’s good and lovely, it changes my perspective.

  3. Susan Dollinger January 13, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Awesome reminder of God’s grace and love. That was a nice stream of beautiful thoughts.

  4. Thank you for the great suggestions!!!

  5. After reading this post which blessed my heart God put this song in my heart I used to sing at church as a little girl.

    He’s Everything to Me:

    In the stars His handywork I see,
    On the wind He speak in majesty
    Though He ruleth over land and sea
    What is that to me?

    Til one day I met Him face to face
    And I felt the wonder of His grace
    Then I knew that He was more than just a God who didn’t care
    Who lived away up there and
    Now He walks beside me day by day
    Ever watching oer me lest I stray
    Helping me to find the narrow way
    He’s everything to me!

    Written by Ralph Carmichael

  6. I have been journaling my gratitude for a couple of years. I started because I was not happy with how negative I had become. I was actually rehearsing my troubles! I have found this practice to be the beginning of a deeper relationship with God. Now when I have troubles, my thought are more likely to go to something like, “How are you going to get me through this God?” And then I watch what He does.

  7. I retired from work in 2007. In the time since then I have received a cancer diagnosis, had several major surgeries, took care of my husband when he received a cancer diagnosis until I lost him a month afterwards. I don’t understand the whys of all that has happened but I do know God has been faithful to provide everything and everyone I need to get through this brokenness.
    Thank you for writing such encouraging words.

  8. I love and agree with all of your suggestions Margaret!

    Regarding#1…last year I changed the home page on my computer so that when I log onto the internet I am not immediately at a homepage that screams all of the worlds news at me. I can choose to read the news if I so desire by purposefully going to a news site but the 1st thing I read now when I log on is a bible verse.
    Regarding#2 Definitely be grateful…as you said, stop focusing on the trial…sometimes when the trial is loooooong it’s SO hard to see or imagine life being any other way. One of the ways that has been suggested to me during our trial is to purposefully remember back, I. mean. take. some. time., to think about the things the Lord has already done/completed in my life and that reminds me of His faithfulness. There is a LOT of hope that comes from this exercise.
    Regarding#3 – I testify this is a huge blessing on both ends. I reminds me I am not the only one struggling and if I’m sitting in the other chair…SHEW! helps me realize I’m SO critical of myself. It’s difficult to recognize the work He is doing in our weakness. I am always amazed (and extremely humbled) at things that others say they see happening in my life.
    Regarding#4 – yes, yes, yes! When I don’t understand what is happening (which is a LOT)…I have learned to whisper, cry and groan “I trust you Jesus” sometimes over and over and over with in an hour. It refocuses my attention, removes my fear and anxiety.

  9. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oyPBtExE4W0
    This is a lovely song that was performed with lovely dancers at MOPS International MOMcon 2013. I reminder that I cling to especially on harder days.

  10. Love this, Margaret. All Such perfect and timely reminders to train our eyes and minds from wandering aimlessly when we lose our way.
    Keep focus on God above.
    Your posts are so encouraging and uplifting. Grateful for YOU.
    #PrayForZero
    {{Hugs for now}}
    Your twitter buddy,
    ~M~

  11. Yes…what I consume is what I become…time is a gift…and make the most of small moments …small choices..add up…and defines what we actually fill up on…thanks for the chance to win this book….continued blessings and prayers for this journey you are on!!’

  12. Margaret , I want to say it was a pleasure meeting you and listen to you speak at Winterlude. To tell you the truth , I almost didn’t come , you see I have been waiting and preparing for that for the las couple of months, then the day before I recieved some bad news , about the child my husband and I was waiting on from God. I was so heartbroken and sad, and I really didn’t want to go to the Winterlude. But I was one of the volunteers for the day, and I am someone who doesn’t like to go back on my promises, so I monstered what little courage I had left and went . And i’ll tell you I am glad I did, to see you up there , smilling and asking us to live with “Divine expectations” with everything you are going through. Suddenly all my problems seems petty,and insignificant, God wanted me to be there, to see and hear your story. I just want to say thank for sharing your story with us, and even more thank you for coming all the way to the east coast to share it with us.

  13. Thank you for your beautiful words and strong exhortations, Margaret! Sometime when we are feeling down, the only way to look is UP. Yet, we often need someone else to lift our arms, helping us in the right direction.

    Blessings!

  14. Wonderful advice.

  15. This is a great reminder Thank you for the tips on recognizing God’s work!

  16. In my brokenness, I feel weak, but I felt so encouraged by these words from John Piper on his blog called Desiring God. He says something like this, “May the Power of Christ Be Exploited in my weaknesses”….that is my prayer for 2014! There are so many self-help books, but he says when we are weak God is strong so I am praying that God would be exploited in my weaknesses.

  17. God talks if only we stop long enough to pay attention! I am teaching a class on this topic this week. This is the third article or study I have encountered since yesterday! I was already going to use your Wonderstruck lesson on asking Who instead of Why! Now I have even more content and personal testimonies. God is there! In every last detail! So awesome. Thanks for always reminding us to look up!

  18. Psalm 27 has been encouraging to me when I needed encouragement and I know it will continue to comfort me in the future, too. Thanks for the tips!

  19. Once I read something that has since changed the perspective from which I see pain. It compared us to bread. We are broken bread, to feed many.

    Another example of beauty out of brokenness is Michaelangelo’s David. The broken, discarded and, to others’ eyes, deficient piece of marble gave way to what what still is an unparalleled masterpiece.

    Good in the world today, this: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/rent-a-family-for-the-holidays/

    And this too: http://www.yahoo.com/food/how-to-cook-for-the-sick-and-heartbroken-72555791227.html?soc_src=mags

    bonus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXPAjjAu04c

  20. It is a very good book and I just finish reading it, just after Christmas. So, if I do win a book this is what I will do with it, I have a Ladies brunch coming up in March and I am going to give it away as a gift. I know the ladies will be excited to read it, because most of them love to read. There will be a drawing and over one hundred ladies attend each year.

    I find broken turned into beauty in lots of ways.
    A little girl who is suffering with cancer and folds her hands in prayer at night.
    A young man who serves his country that comes home handicapped from the war and he smiles as he receives a hug from his wife.
    A young girl who has lost her mother, her dad leaves and now she is grown her husband has left her too, yet she still loves God with all her heart. He never leaves her.
    An elderly woman who sits in church, prays and sings, yet now she is not able to get around as much as she use to, but if you go visit her to cheer her up, she brightens your day instead.
    A young man who has had his hopes and dreams shattered when he made wrong choices and ended up in prison, yet still people are praying for him and want him to know he is very much loved.
    A little child who has suffered from abuse and lack of love, who has grown up now and God has become their security and His love has helped them through each day.

    When our broken hearts will not mend,
    Let Love pick up all the pieces
    And Let Jesus be their Friend.

    Thank you for sharing and your words of encouragement in a broken world.

  21. I find that my broken pieces – until I give them over to be made into something new – remain broken and in the same condition I find them. Desperately scattered and in a heap that I cannot fix by myself. Praise God for his ability to see my broken for what it was before it was broken, the state it is in, and using it for His glory in the future.

  22. Thank you for such an encouraging post on Brokenness . It helps to look to God in stead of my troubles, because I know I judge the broken parts of me much harsher than is necessary.
    when my life lays in shambles the only place I can Look is up and trust the God who created me.
    And that has to be enough.
    I am very grateful for your insight. Blessings

  23. Love this Margaret!! Goes well with your joy journey!! Praying for zero!!

  24. I look for the positive in each situation, knowing that God is in it! Keep telling my mind what to focus on, such as all my blessings instead of the negative stuff. Christian music and reading blogs from wonderful ladies such as you! :)

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