Well, folks, it didn’t take long for me to rebrand this blog. I knew I wanted to do this for a couple of reasons. Mainly because it’ d give me the flexibility to publish on days that WEREN’T Monday, but also enabled the blog to be applicable on Tuesday.
I settled on True North for two reasons: one, it’s a subtle nod to my home and native land. If you know the Canadian national anthem beyond the opening salvo of “O Canada…” you might recognize that there’s a line that describes Canada as the “true north, strong and free.” So clearly it shouldn’t be shocking that I would try to sneak a little of my Canadiana into my writings.
But beyond that, the real reason I went with that is that there’s been because a common theme of the blog thus far has been on reorienting our lives around God’s best for us. To me, the concept of True North brings me to travel practices of ship captains or other night travelers in days of yore. The north star was the fundamental way that they would orient themselves. Everything else could be dark, there could be no land on the horizon and no hints of which direction to go anywhere around them, but the experienced captain could rely on the north star to direct them where they needed to go. Once they found true north, everything else fell into place.
It’s that way in our spiritual life, too, isn’t it?
Jesus said that the cares and concerns of life so often steal our focus, steal our joy, and steal our peace. We get confused. And we get overwhelmed by all of it.
And we feel so lost.
But Jesus said that the anxiety and worry that so naturally wells up within our spirits can be combatted when we reorient our lives.
Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too.”
This is the spiritual equivalent of finding our true north. When we discover true north, everything falls into place.
That’s my hope behind this blog is that it can help encourage you, for sure (that’s why I called it Monday Motivation to begin with), but more than encourage you, I hope that it challenges you to find our True North and to orient ourselves around it!
Speaking of Canada, last Wednesday in Canada was a mental health awareness day. It’s become a pretty standard deal to engage in the common hashtag of #LetsTalk. Everybody from professional hockey teams (basically Canadian royalty), politicians, down to the ordinary folks encourage free communication about the struggles of life, as it relates to mental health.
If we were honest, one of the things that we struggle within our culture is openness about our struggles. We fight alone, in isolation, painfully aware of our brokenness, but firmly believing that we have to do this alone, that it is the way that we have to be.
Theologian Henri Nouwen refers to it as allowing our brokenness to be under the curse.
The problem becomes that we allow our brokenness to stay in the dark. And it’s in the dark that that brokenness to define us. It’s in this place that our struggles become our identity. We see ourselves as under the curse of our problems because they exist in the dark.
But that’s not God’s hope for you. God doesn’t want you to keep your brokenness in the darkness of the curse.
Henri Nouwen is so striking when he writes, “The great spiritual call of the Beloved Children of God is to pull their brokenness away from the shadow of the curse and put it under the light of the blessing. This is not as easy as it sounds. The powers of the darkness around us are strong, and our world finds it easier to manipulate self-rejecting people than self-accepting people. But when we keep listening attentively to the voice calling us the Beloved, it becomes possible to live our brokenness, not as a confirmation of our fear that we are worthless, but as an opportunity to purify and deepen the blessing that rests upon us.”
You can choose how you respond to your brokenness. While the fear in our heart tells us that the only response to our brokenness is to spiral deeper into it, Jesus offers us something else, something new.
In the passage we’ve been deep-diving into over the last few weeks, Jesus reminds his broken disciples of their deep value in the eyes of God. In John 15: “My commandment to you is this: love others as I have loved you. 13 There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. 14 You celebrate our friendship if you obey this command. 15 I don’t call you servants any longer; servants don’t know what the master is doing, but I have told you everything the Father has said to Me. I call you friends. 16 You did not choose Me. I chose you, and I orchestrated all of this so that you would be sent out and bear great and perpetual fruit. As you do this, anything you ask the Father in My name will be done. 17 This is My command to you: love one another.”
Jesus emphatically declares that he chose his closest followers. This is no small thing. These were men, by and large, who had been left behind by their society. They were less thans, has-beens, or never-weres. They were often labeled as not good enough, as rejects, as deficient in some meaningful way.
But Jesus sees them not as worthless, but as people with insurmountable worth, as ones who are deeply and dearly loved.
Paul reminds us in Ephesians 1:3-4 that the same is true for us who come after the disciples: “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed—not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us. 4 God chose us to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him.”
The beauty is that our brokenness doesn’t have to define us because though we are often broken in a more profound way than we let on, often being broken on a deeper level than we ever realize, the love that God has for us far outpaces our brokenness. He sees the depths of your pain, the depths of your sin, and the depths of your brokenness, and his love is exceptional. And your worth is substantial.
Jesus used another metaphor that compares the Kingdom of Heaven- a Hebrew shorthand for God, to a jeweler searching for the finest pearls. Jesus said in Matthew 13: “When he found a pearl more beautiful and valuable than any jewel he had ever seen, the jeweler sold all he had and bought that pearl, his pearl of great price.”
Jesus makes this clear: You are that pearl of great price.
You are the one for whom God sold everything.
You are God’s chosen.
You are highly valued.
You are deeply loved.
Lance Witt once wrote: “You are more broken than you know, and more loved than you can imagine!”
Bring your brokenness out of the darkness of the curse and into the light of God’s blessing! Because you are his beloved.
Live in that identity today. Let it impact everything else because Christ paid a high price for you. Rest in that love today!
I’m cheering you on today! Seek your True North Today!