Brokenness and Despair: On Finding a Way Out

Have you ever done an autopsy on the positive change you’ve experienced in life? What did it look like? What caused it? What kept it going? It’s probably worth thinking about, isn’t it?

In our low moments, we are aware of both our brokenness and despair. It’s can be easy to think we will find our way out of despair by fixing our brokenness. That makes perfect sense. We can be better, we think. We will do better, we commit.

Both our successes and our failures add to our despair in different ways. The good reinforces the belief we can climb out alone. The bad reinforces the sinking suspicion we will never get out.

I’m convinced behavior modification isn’t the way out. That’s not to say bad behavior should be ignored. But I firmly believe hope is necessary for change. So, instead of dealing first and foremost with your behavior, maybe you need to begin by confronting despair? Maybe that’s the deeper problem.

Jesus offers us something in these valleys. He doesn’t come to us and promise us if we get better he will love us. His love is remarkably unconditional. In his kindness, he doesn’t lead us out with a carrot or chase us out with a whip. He fills us with a vision of hope. There will be changes to our lifestyles in following him, sure, but the way out starts with recognizing despair doesn’t have the final word. The first step out looks like belief, a belief the sun has risen and we no longer have to live in darkness.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).