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In the Middle of the Mess: Brokenness Is the Beginning

In the Middle of the Mess: Brokenness Is the Beginning

Grace and Radical Acceptance

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. — John 8:32 ESV

Session Overview

It’s there to greet you first thing in the morning, through an unkind word from your spouse or child. It’s there again as you merge onto the highway, via the other guy’s blaring horn, causing your unwanted swerve. It shows up in your friend’s phone call… there’s an edge there — you can hear it. Things aren’t as they should be. News stories shouted at you all day long only confirm what you suspected to be true: things are not okay in this world. Life is broken — deeply broken — shattered into a million pieces. The question isn’t so much, “Is there brokenness in this world?” for that response would be yes. The question is, “What will we do with this brokenness in the world… and also, in me?”

In this opening session, we’ll journey through the Word of God to take a look at both the expected and unexpected nature of this brokenness that so marks our existence. What did God promise would be true of our earthly lives? How did those whose lives are detailed in Scripture move through seasons of trial with wisdom and grace? And, if we believe God truly can bring beauty from ashes, as the prophet Isaiah so boldly declared (see Isaiah 61:3), then how are we to find our way from here to there, from the bleakness and desperation that marks brokenness’s beginning to the longed-for victory that we are promised?

Come. Sit with God. Soak in His Word. Let His ages-old perspective and promises sink deep into your sea-tossed soul. There is a marvelous end game to this brokenness that we’re just sure will do us in. Brokenness is a necessary beginning. This is where our discussion begins.

Opening Thoughts

Take one to two minutes to open your time together with prayer. Then, have each group member answer the following question before watching the video segment:

How have you seen “brokenness” show up in your life? Describe for your group a recent encounter or exchange from which you walked away thinking, Things here aren’t as they are meant to be.

Video: Brokenness Is the Beginning (20 MINUTES)

Play the video for Session 1. Use the following prompts to record your thoughts as you watch.


Secrets don’t keep us safe

God’s rock-solid promise

Six truths

Where true transformation comes from

The great distance between our head and our heart

Imprisoned to be set free

Two benefits to coming to the end of oneself

The usefulness of “radical acceptance”

Everyone who calls on God is saved by God

The one-word prayer “Jesus”

Letter from a devoted daughter

Group Discussion

Spend the balance of your group time answering as many of the following questions as you have time and energy for, being sure to give equal opportunity for each member to share.

  1. Briefly review your video notes. Given your present circumstances, what word, phrase, sentiment, or concept feels most relevant to you? Why?
  2. Sheila noted the six sessions of this study. Which of the following holds the most promise for you? Which one makes you feel anxious the first time you read it?
  • Brokenness is the beginning… the truth of our situation, as bleak as that truth may be, can set us free.
  • Brokenness is hard… even on the darkest night, we never walk the path of grief alone.
  • Brokenness is loud… even in our noisy world, we can learn to live in the stillness and quietness of God’s presence.
  • Brokenness is to be shared . . . there is strength to be found in confessing our sins to one another.
  • Brokenness is the path to healing . . . when we fix our eyes on God, we live a life of thanksgiving.
  • Brokenness is temporary . . . what you are facing right now will pass.
  1. In what way can you relate to Sheila’s experience of raw emotions resurfacing long after you thought those feelings were dealt with and buried? Why is jagged- edge brokenness so terribly hard to “get over”? Do you believe it’s possible to truly move past deep pain?
  2. What thoughts came to mind when you heard Sheila reference this session’s spiritual-discipline focus of radical acceptance? What does that practice involve? What would you gain from the practice of radically accepting your present circumstances and pain?
  3. Sheila said one of her biggest motivations for putting together the content for this study was to remind people that “even in our brokenness, we can tell the truth… we don’t have to hide anymore.” What do you suppose keeps us from telling our truth? What keeps us hiding from the reality of our lives?
  4. What attitudes, actions, or habits might the group practice in order to encourage your honest participation in this six-session experience? What do they need to understand about you in this process?

Closing Prayer

Taking as much time as your group needs, have each member who feels comfortable complete the following prayer prompt as a way to close your discussion:

God, please let this present brokenness I’m dealing with be the beginning of…

* * *

Your Turn

Come share your thoughts with us on our blog!


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