Monday, November 3, 2014

Broken for Better

In seeking for the best out of life, we naturally identify and orient ourselves toward ideals. I personally have found great satisfaction in earnestly striving to achieve that standard. It has helped me grow in exciting and positive ways, for which I am very grateful.

Yet somehow I sometimes find myself looking to those ideals not in excitement, but in fear - and it normally comes when I'm overwhelmed with my mistakes and imperfections. It's like there is this perfect, beautiful life painted before me, and the thought that it could all be ruined is heart-breaking. So when something happens that makes me believe it will crumble, I receive a crushing blow to the soul. I feel like my world is crashing down, and it leaves me feeling dark, despairing, and incapacitated. It's worse than being "not fun". It's an awful feeling of terrible reality.

I learned about something today that really helped me - Japanese pottery.

It's called Kintsukuroi. It is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with gold, silver, and platinum. As explained on wikipedia, "In philosophy, it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise." The idea is that the object is more beautiful for having been broken.

Seeing the good in broken-ness took away my fear. It was accompanied by a letting-go of that great, ideal, perfect life. When did it become about erecting the perfect life for ourselves? How can we progress with an incapacitating fear of messing up? When I let go of all that fear, I felt so relieved, and immensely grateful - grateful that Christ came to heal the sinner. Me.

The mended pot, with it's gold-filled cracks and jagged strands of silver, is a beautiful testament to the grace and love of God. It's so wonderful! Our sins and imperfections are nothing to be ashamed of - we all have them, and for the rest of this life we will always have some. God loves us in our imperfection. The small cracks and giant fractures in our lives will not be wasted with Him. Rather, they will become blessed opportunities for us to be close with Christ - the real gold. They won't just be breaks to fix, but holy tokens of a beautiful journey. I'm talking about small things and I'm talking about big things. That person that we say "ruined their life" - did they really ruin their life? I think the purpose is less about achieving and more about learning.

I'm keeping things simple: Hunger and thirst after righteousness, rest in Christ, and surrender the future to God.


  1. I really like this analogy. And I like the idea of the purpose of life being to learn, rather than to achieve. It reminds me of the difference between performance- and mastery-oriented goals. With a mastery-orientation, we try to truly learn the material. With a performance orientation, we try to either perform well in front of others, or at least not perform badly in front of them. In a religious lens, a performance orientation seems prideful.

  2. I really liked this. Thank you for posting. "The object is more beautiful for having been broken" reminded me of what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:

    "There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

    For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

    And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

    I especially love when he says that the power of Christ can rest upon us when we are imperfect. If we could live a perfect life, we wouldn't need Christ. Of course none of us can be perfect. I'm grateful for my imperfections because they make me very aware of my need for Christ and His Atonement.

    1. Exactly! You explain it so well - and so does Paul. Glorying in weakness is where it's at. It's the opposite of our desire to rid our lives of weakness as soon as possible so as to be free from dependence on another.

  3. The real gold is in the flaws where we draw close to Christ! I love that