Thursday, August 16, 2012

When Were You Wrecked? Thoughts about Being "Wrecked" - Beginnings, Bosnia... And the Book "Wrecked: When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life" By Jeff Goins

Recently I read the book, Wrecked: When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life by Jeff Goins. In his book, Jeff shares his journey to being "wrecked" and the life that has led him to. So he calls others to live to seek and identify being wrecked and to live out a changed life. According to Jeff and the people Jeff knows, being wrecked can be described as "Ruined. Devastated. Undone. Their lives were forever changed, and there was no returning to how life used to be. Their paradigms had shifted. Their worldview was infected with a contagion that was spreading to every facet of their life. More than one person told me, 'I can’t go back to who I was.'"

So I ask myself this question, "When was I wrecked?" Well, I guess the better question for me is when was I first "wrecked?" I realize that the byline to my blog is "thoughts from a broken heart for the broken," and my use of the term "broken"  can relate a bit to this "wreckage." So I think back, before moving to South Africa, before YWAM and missions trips, before staffing my church's youth ministry... Was I wrecked during my first missions trip while in college? I was 2001, and I was age 21. Experiencing the war-torn nation of Bosnia 5 years after their war, hearing TRUE LIFE stories from my new friends, seeing the death marks of bombs and landmines on landscapes, on the skeletal remains of former homes, and on the bodies of ALIVE people whose arms and legs were buried in unmarked graves just as many of the fallen - lost loves ones rested - soldiers, defenders, oppressors, freedom fighters, aggressors, grandmothers, lovers, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters... so many - gone.

I wrote about my experience there right after my trip and one story in particular. As I sat at the war memorial on the hill overlooking his town, my friend related his story. He was just a 13 year old boy - trying to stay alive, to survive, to provide for his family. Snipers had aimed and shot from the hill where I sat  - at the town, at the people, and there they hit, wounded, hurt, maimed, killed, and destroyed Life.

"We cannot become who we are without going through pain. And who can do such a thing without trusting the struggle is worth it? Or that the results will be good? We must endeavor to be wrecked with a deep, reckless faith that confounds the world and maybe even puzzles us at times. It will be worth it." -
I agree, Jeff. My wreckage seems a bit synonymous with pain and with death, literally and maybe with death of myself and my rose-colored beliefs. Jeff writes, "true compassion causes your heart to break - even at the moment you're helping. It breaks for all the needs you're not meeting, for everything else you could be doing." He goes on to define compassion as "suffering with."

I attended a silence and solitude retreat a few years back, and what I remember from my time with God, being silent...waiting...and that God gave me a name, "Mother of Suffering." Sounds a bit bleak, I know, but I feel - deeply.

I haven't had many people in my family die or even close friends - but many people I've known have experienced traumatizing pain and deaths of loves ones. My parents didn't shy away from taking me to funerals as a small child. Some may think I was too young and should have been protected. 

Looking back, I see that physical death is a part of life - timely with old age and even untimely - under unforeseen circumstances. But I understand Death and Pain still Is.

But I also understand that THESE are not the End of Life.

My parents took their first missions trips in the 1980's - maybe that is when they were wrecked. I heard the stories of lives lived in different circumstances than my own and the world I knew. Did I understand at such a young age? Was I wrecked then?

Was I wrecked when a childhood friend of mine didn't show up to elementary school one day, and I never saw her again? I heard that her family moved - suddenly. I've always wondered, what did her life include of pain, of suffering...?

Was I wrecked when I read The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom at age 9? I was moved by many books and their characters thereafter?

Was I wrecked when I learned about wars, the U.S.S.R., the Berlin Wall, and China in my elementary school social studies classes?

Was I wrecked when I understood God's unconditional love and the death of His Son Jesus to save me? I was 10 years old. I was brought to tears I could not control. My heart hurt. Jesus Suffered. I felt his suffering. And I understood the hope of redemption.

Today I find myself in South Africa.

In the future maybe I will be somewhere else.

But each day I look for a piece - of hope.

So much of the time lots and lots of pain and death loom.

But there are still days that I SEE -

I not only grasp - but I KNOW Hope.

I am not saying that being wrecked brings you overseas - nor does Jeff say this. Living out change from this wrecked place does not look like a specific vocation or living in a certain place. Jeff explains, "If you are going to find work worth doing - a vocation to fulfill and challenge you - you will have to encounter a reality bigger than yourself. It may not be what others say it should be or what you think, but it will come if you are looking for it. Our callings come to us as surprises, like a distant dream we could've sworn was real. When you find it, whatever your 'it' is, it will be unavoidable - something that wrecks you and compels you to act. At times, the work you're called to do will be hard and confusing, but if you press in, you will see the purpose behind the pain. You will see how the whole experience is causing you to grow. And you will thanks God for the whole journey."

Jeff calls his readers to this mini-manifesto:

"Instead of wanting more, we will strive for less.

Instead of easier, faster, better; we will opt for slow and deliberate. We will take our time.

We will seek first the needs of others and trust that our own will be provided.

We will discipline ourselves to believe.

We will find our lives by losing it.

We will seek the pearl of great price and sacrifice everything for it.

We will become less to gain more."

Just to let you know, I am not "there" yet. I don't have life figured out, but I am on the journey of discovery - to Live and Be here and now because His Purpose is bigger than me.  

I invite you to read Jeff's book. It's good. You can get it here: Or you can read Jeff Goin's blog here:

And so as I asked myself, I ask you, "When were you wrecked?" Or do you still need to be? What does your journey look like?

(Quotation excerpts from Goins, Jeff. Wrecked: When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2012.)