Session 4 Video (From Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”)
Blog Response (written by: Dawn Stewart)
“Do you actually only love someone when you love them more than you love yourself?” (The Broken Way pg. 140) This question caught in my throat like a poorly chewed piece of meat, only dissipating as the tears began to well in my eyes. The words “more than you love yourself” were jumping off the page.
Selfishness. The root of so much pain in my life – so much brokenness. It is such an ugly thing to be – selfish. So consumed with the need for my own comfort that I often miss the needs of others. So acutely aware of my thoughts, emotions, and issues, that I miss precious life unfolding right in front of my eyes.
Afraid to be inconvenienced. Annoyed at the needs of my own children. Irritated that my needs and wants aren’t being satisfied. A constant struggle with discontentment. Self-centered living.
For those of you who don’t know me – through Christ, I have overcome a great deal of brokenness. The reality is, the major areas of brokenness in my life have a root – selfish, self-seeking, self-absorbed, self-consumed living – a broken space that is common to the human condition, although some of us live deeper into that space than others.
So, if I’m being totally transparent with you, it is much easier to share about the bigger things that God has freed me from than it is to talk about my current struggles. Why? Because these struggles are at the core of why I broke in the first place. And these struggles are still creating issues in my life today.
I had this misconception that once I came to faith in Jesus, everything in my life would just get easier. I didn’t anticipate that I would have to surrender my selfish ways daily in order to find the true path to freedom. I had no idea that I would have to encounter varying degrees of humility before I would understand that, in the flesh, I will always fall short of the glory of God.
It turns out that sometimes the Lord chooses to deliver us completely and other times He walks through a deliverance process with us over time. God has delivered me from significant areas of brokenness. This journey into the root of selfishness is one where He is walking it out with me. Although painful at times, He is teaching and training me up in the process. Of that, I am certain.
Dying to my selfish nature has proven to be an incredibly painful struggle. It turns out that the major areas of brokenness, which are easier to identify, are all just symptoms of the deeper-rooted issue. The desires for personal comfort, approval, acceptance – all get in the way of living the life I was designed to live with God.
I was created in His image. I was created to be in perfect relationship with Him, to love and be loved by Him, in a seamless interaction called koinonia (communion). Real koinonia. My selfish nature gets in the way of that.
It’s not that I am any more selfish in nature today than I was when God rescued me from the pit of despair. I would say that I have progressed quite significantly since then. The change, however, is that I am incredibly aware of how my selfish tendencies affect my current relationships, roles, and recovery. It’s uncomfortable, but the beauty is in the awareness.
I used to be ignorant to my self-propelled living. But, today my eyes are open, my hands are raised, and I am hopeful for the daily overcoming of my selfish nature as I surrender it to Him.
My weakness always displays His strength. His Power is always perfected in my human deficiencies. (2 Corinthians 12)
So, how do we do that? How do we, in the midst of the brokenness, surrender it to God? I think Ann Voskamp says it beautifully. “Make Him [Christ] present – even where it feels too broken…There is always the weapon that the weary and worn-out can wield to silence the enemy’s voice in our heads: ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us … [For I am convinced that] neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:35, 37-39)” (The Broken Way, pg. 146)
That’s just it. Even though the struggle is real, even though the pain is real, so is the victory. But the victory doesn’t always look the way we want it to.
I would love to say that one day, while still on this earth, I will no longer wrestle with my flesh. However, I think that God has other plans for me. My continuous battle with my selfish nature has me on my knees, in full dependence upon God, more often than my major areas of brokenness ever did.
I press into His grace to keep me moving forward every single day. I have come to the end of myself in this particular area of brokenness. I am fully aware that I cannot die to my flesh on my own – any more than Jesus could nail Himself to His cross.
The more I look at this area of brokenness in my life, the more I realize this is my current cross to bear. This is what makes me real. It is in this current battle I am starting to come alive to what real living actually is.
As Ann puts it, “real living doesn’t always feel like living; it can feel like you’re dying. It can feel like you are breaking apart and losing pieces of yourself – and you are. Because when you let yourself love, you let parts of you die. Or you aren’t really loving. You must let your false self be broken, parts of you that you only thought were necessary.” (The Broken Way pg. 148).
I’m ready. I’m ready to let these false parts of me fall away. I’m ready to endure the pain of a deeper level of brokenness. Because, “what if the deeper you know your own brokenness, the deeper you can experience your own belovedness?” (The Broken Way, pg. 146). I am ready to find out.
Let go of that one regret by surrendering it to God in prayer. Replace your regret with a promise from God.
Promises from God…
- His plans for us are good. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- Follow Him gives us rest. (Matthew 11:28-29)
- He gives power to the weak. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
- He will supply all our needs. (Philippians 4:19)
- Nothing separates us from His love. (Romans 8:37-39)
- He gives us peace. (Proverbs 1:33)
There are many other promises in the Bible from God. You can choose one we’ve listed or choose one on your own.
Discussion Questions (From Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”)
Feel free to answer and discuss these in the comments section below if you feel comfortable.
- Do you ever feel like you are breaking apart and losing pieces of yourself? How can that be a constructive process?
- How are you not running but instead embracing suffering and brokenness in any key areas of your life?
- How can we turn our to-do list into a to-love list? What thing on your to-do list do you most need to see as really a way of loving Jesus and someone in your life?
If any of you need prayer we are here for you. You are NOT alone! Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the writing team will get back to you as soon as possible.
Thank you so much for joining our study! If you are following along with us in the book, feel free to go through “Between Sessions: Session 4” in Ann Voskamp’s “The Broken Way”. This will solidify what we’ve just learned and prepare you for the next topic. The next blog will be available Tuesday, February 21st. We hope to see you there!
Missed a Week?
No problem! Check out Session 3: Learning to Receive to catch up!