Monday, March 31, 2014

Honestly Broke

 By Caryn Rivadeneira 

After a writer-friend read early drafts of my book, Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed About God's Abundance, she emailed a note of encouragement. "It's beautiful," she said. "And funny." Then she added that she understood being broke. My friend and her husband were in the midst of a similar financial struggle: wondering how a mortgage would get paid, wondering how big the debt might grow, wondering why God wasn't working the miracles for them he seemed eager to weave for others.

"But," she concluded, "I'll never write about this. I can't."

And I understood that too. It isn't easy to tell the world that my once well-heeled and still well-educated husband and I spent years hovering dangerously close to that poverty line, that the debt incurred from uncovered medical expenses and a sinking business threatened to suffocate us (still does!), that during all this I not only doubted God's goodness and faithfulness, but his very existence.

Have you read "Four Letter Word: Debt" from our issue Courage?

And yet, I can't not write about this. Not with what I believe to be true of my calling as a writer. Not with what I believe to be true of my calling as a leader.

I write not only because it feels great (it's so freeing; it's when I'm most alive!) but because using this gift honors God.

Especially when I lean into the "prophetic" calling I cling to as a writer. Writers are called to voice what others are afraid to, to bring to light what others want to keep in the dark. We are called to be vulnerable, to be open. Even when it's humiliating. Especially so.

But writers aren't the only ones who share this prophetic calling. Anyone who'd been given a leadership position-whether leading other people, whether leading in the home, whether leading with our thoughts or words-is called to risk this same humiliating vulnerability.

And it isn't just because it ultimately feels good (and it does-really! What a relief to get rid of those masks and veils of shame!). We're called to vulnerability because it is honors God. Because in sharing our greatest weaknesses, in sharing our humiliating
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secrets, in dragging those skeletons right out of the closet for all the world to see, we're also showing what God has done. Is doing. And we're sharing hope for all he
will do. 

Caryn Rivadeneira is a writer and speaker and serves on the worship staff at her church. She's the author of five books including her latest, Broke: What Financial Desperation Revealed about God's Abundance (InterVarsity Press, 2014) and Known and Loved: 52 Devotions from the Psalms (Revell, 2013). Caryn lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three kids and rescue pit bull. Visit her at 

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