Are you a fixer?
Of all my flaws, I believe being a “fixer” might be my biggest one.
You can’t solve other people’s problems. Only God can.
I’ve pondered that thought a lot lately, and as I have, I have continued to be drawn to two things.
First, I have been drawn to these words of wisdom written to me when I really wanted to have a conversation my friend knew was in no one’s best interest: “One of the gifts that God has given you is the ability to disseminate information to get people to understand well. You are a great ‘explainer’ which is why you are so good at your job. Your personality wants to make sure the other person understands and gets it, but there is no reason for a future discussion. It is truly counterproductive to do any explaining.”
I naturally feel called to explain things, but I have learned over time that no amount of explaining can solve some problems.
Have you ever been in that boat? You felt if you could just sit down and talk through things, everything would be okay. But you either never got the chance to have the conversation, or when you did, you felt like all you did was sink the boat?
That’s because where you’re at in your life, your spiritual growth, your handling of burdens, your healing of pain, and your circle of influence never mirrors where the other person is at in their journey.
Which is why, I believe, I have also been drawn to this piece of scripture:
**** Galatians 6:1-8 ****
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
We all have burdens in our lives we struggle with, and we are called to help love and support other people as they carry those weights around. But we cannot fix other people. Only God can do that. The burdens they are dealing with, God will guide them through as they carry them.
I saw first hand how our burdens go so much deeper than we ever let others know when my husband and I shared our “Life Maps” this past fall. We spent several weeks listing out the things in our lives that made us who we are today. We went back into our youth and pulled out good and bad memories all the way through present day. We looked for patterns and moments that created our go-to reactions, shaped our spiritual paths, and kept us rooted in destructive thoughts. We learned more about each other in that one exercise than we had learned in more than a decade of companionship.
There were many things my husband never could have helped me overcome because he didn’t understand the root of where they started. There are still things he cannot help me overcome, but it doesn’t stop him from supporting me through prayer. God and I are working together on my personal growth and overcoming my internal battles.
So how do you fix being a fixer?
Step 1: Let Go and Let God
Recognize that God allows each of us to grow through difficulties in life, but only God knows the big picture.
**** Proverbs 3:5 ****
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
There is no way you’ll ever know everything someone else has gone through or how they’re processing the things you want to fix, but God does. Let God be the fixer.
Step 2: Forgive
Often those we want to fix have hurt us in some way, or we have hurt them, and we want to repair the damage. Maybe the hurt was unintentional, and maybe it wasn’t. But the best thing we can do is offer forgiveness, or seek forgiveness knowing it may never be granted.
**** Luke 17:3-4 ****
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.
Remember, God’s job is to fix the broken pieces, heal the anger, and develop the humility in others. Your job is simply to pray He will turn things around after you’ve confessed your sins and extended an olive branch. Go back to Step 1, and let God do his job.
Step 3: Love Unconditionally
One of my favorite sayings of all times is, “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Throughout life, we will hurt people and people will hurt us. We will suffer broken hearts and be unable to heal the broken hearts of those we have hurt. We will deceive others and be deceived by others. We will want to hold onto anger and resentment and we will find ourselves at the receiving end of both. We will suffer for the sake of pride and be humbled when others show us humility.
But I believe of all the things we will go through in life, the greatest virtue we can develop is the ability to love others unconditionally, the way Christ loves us.
**** 1 Peter 4:8 ****
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
Sometimes love means stepping back and recognizing you can’t fix the pain, the brokenness, or the hurt, but you can step out of the way and pray that God will do so in His time and when the other person is ready for God to fix the situation.