I am a fixer. I enjoy putting things together and fixing things. I also have seven younger siblings. Can you see where this is going? I grew up with a need to fix, not just things, but people. If only I could just have a little control in someone’s life, surely I could make everything better for them, right? No. No, no, no, no, no! Step away from the control button, missy.
Sometimes, we learn lessons in ways we never wanted to learn them. This particular lesson was gut wrenching and stretched me to my limits. It put me in the hospital, and caused my family pain. But when I let God take the control He desired all along, it was beautiful and reassuring. It is a particularly long story, and if you know me, you know I’m not joking. I tend to stretch a story pretty well. I will jump to the end though. After three years of fighting the cancer that had turned her life upside down, my mom was about to lose her battle. Or win. Depending on how you look at it. I felt this need to fix the situation. If only I did this or that, I could make her better. Sounds silly, right? I didn’t realize what it was doing to me. To my mind, and my health. I ended up in the ER, in a hospital nearly 3 hours from anyone that cared about me. Except for my mom, who lay unaware and unconscious in the ICU. God used that moment to show me something. Nothing changed. Mom didn’t suddenly recover because I had pushed myself to this point. This burden was not mine to carry. I could not fix her. It wasn’t my job to try. My outlook changed. I realized no matter what happened, she was going to be ok. She was going to recover and live here with us, or not, and shed this flesh body to live a pain free eternity with God. I could still love her, and take care of her, and I did. But I couldn’t fix her. She did come out of the ICU, but we lost her a few short months later.
Change is gradual. When the need to fix a situation comes over me, I hand it over to God. “Lord, if you desire for me to do something, please make it abundantly clear.” I pray this prayer, often. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to help, nor does it mean that thoughts of helping don’t try to consume me. It means that I try not to let my body (and my mouth) get ahead of my brain.
Helping people doesn’t mean running their lives for them. In fact, by attempting to do so, we could be robbing them of a blessing. We can help others by showing them love and compassion, by holding their hand when they are hurting, and driving them to the doctor when they are sick. Obsessing over how we are going to fix their situation will not help them. Or us. Fixing and helping are not the same thing. The most important thing we can do for others is pray. Fight for them on our knees. We may not see the answers we had hoped for, but if we give it to God, we need to trust that He is in control.