Why We Don’t Need to Fix People

control freak

The realization came as a blow to both my pride and my false sense of control. He did not want me to fix it. He wanted me to let it go.

For months I’d offered opinions as much as I’d offered up prayers.

For months I’d judged behavior more than I’d offered love and support.

Sleepless nights left me seeking apologies from those closest to me. I knew they were not the source of the problem, but often our wailing falls on whatever ears will listen.

In the midst of my utter lack of control, I tried to keep a spotless home. One day in early fall a friend stopped by for an impromptu visit and remarked on how immaculate my home was. It the middle of the day, but everything was tidy and in its place.

She had no idea how chaotic my life felt. She didn’t know how in my current season, this house was the only place I felt peace.

There are few valleys more brutal than watching a loved one self-destruct. And while you desire nothing more than to offer a permanent solution, the only Fixer is not of this world.

True soul mending comes from above and within, not pat answers and easy formulas.

The best answer we can offer? Unconditional love. Though we draw a boundary to protect ourselves and our families, we let our brothers and sisters know we will love them no matter what.

We will be here when they come home. We will be here when they decide to call on the Name of the only one who can heal even the deepest hurt.

Jesus came to heal the sick so we could share his gift with others, not judge others.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”

Matthew 9:12 NIV

I think of how far he’s brought me far from the pit I was in, I know it is only by his divine grace that I am here. It is by his mercy that I am not still wallowing in my depression, my anger and resentment.

The only trait which distinguishes me is that I called on the name of Jesus when I was at my worst. And he transformed me into someone who could bring Light and life to those who don’t know whose name to call.

I want to be a Light-bearer, not a control-freak. Lord knows the world is much safer in his hands than mine. So today, I’m giving it to him.

I’m giving him the weight of the world. I can’t handle it on these frail shoulders anymore.

I’m trading my clenched fists for hands extended in praise. Because I know in his sovereign power and grace he can transform any heart and exalt it, in his time.

And time is something I don’t want to waste.

 

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*Linking up with #LiveFreeThursday and #GraceAndTruth. Come join us and be inspired.

When You Withhold Grace

extend grace

They turn on each other in a New York minute. One second they’re playing nicely together, sharing toys, and laughing. The next I hear screams of “Mama!” as my six-year-old chases his younger sibling through the room.

Part of me wants to just close the door and lock them in there. But I figure I should at least see if both kids are still alive.

After I kneel down on the floor and get the scoop on what happened, I tell both boys to apologize. I am struck by how quickly they forgive each other. There are no grudges held over what happened or didn’t happen. They simply return to their toys and pick up where they left off.

Later, as we’re winding down for the evening and saying the evening prayers with the boys, it hits me. I see the example of grace God is giving me through my children. He is always teaching me through these little vessels who stretch me in more ways than I can count.

While my kids freely extend grace, I often withhold it. Isn’t it interesting how the older we get, the more fiercely we hold onto something that Christ freely gave?

We act as though we are wiser and try to be anything but vulnerable. We protect our hearts from anything which threatens to wound or cause pain.

Often, we throw around the phrase, “You’re acting like a child” as an insult, but didn’t Jesus say for us to have the faith of a child? Didn’t he command us to let all the little children come to him, and not hinder them?

If we are honest, there are a lot of things we could learn from our children.

And if I take an honest look at my life, the times when I’ve withheld grace are too numerous for me to count. I see friends and family members freely forgive and reconcile with someone who hurt them, and I wonder how they could be so naive. I speculate about how long it will be until further damage is done.

I see my God extend grace upon grace to those I love, but often I would rather see him deliver judgment. After all, doesn’t judgment bring repentance?

As I open the pages of my Bible, I’m struck with the truth of his word,

“So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” Romans 2:3-4 NIV (emphasis mine)

The fact is, friends, that God’s grace illuminates my sin. And my sin makes me uncomfortable.

It is much easier to put a microscope on the faults of others than to put a mirror to my own.

However, in doing so, not only am I causing God to withhold grace, but I am ensuring his judgment. And the judgment will not be on the one I’m pointing my finger toward.

It will be against me. I am desperately aware of my need for forgiveness, and of the number of times I fall short every day.

There is only one person who belongs in the judgment seat, friends, and trust me, it is not a responsibility that you or I want. That task belongs to Jesus Christ alone.

When I extend grace, God’s favor is extended to me.

Let’s hand over the gavel to the One who can handle the weight that comes with it.

Let’s replace it with the grace that was given so freely to us.

 

*Linking up with Kelly Balarie & FriendsHolly BarrettMeredith Bernard, and Jennifer Dukes Lee to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.