When You Want to Fix the World [Spoiler: You can’t.]

You don’t have to be an avid newshound to recognize that the world’s in a pretty big mess. Terror groups running amok. Nations at war. Racial discord. Economic crises. Earthquakes and other disasters, natural and man-made. It’s easy for me to read or watch news reports and play armchair quarterback for a while, ruminating on ways that I’d solve the world’s problems, but I’m usually pretty quick to give up trying. 

Closer to home, when a friend or family member is going through turmoil, it’s a bit harder for me to not try to fix things. I don’t want to see those I love hurting. I want to do whatever I can to alleviate the pain, to make things better. And it’s tough sometimes to realize that, despite my best efforts, I can’t fix things. In fact, if I’m not careful, my good intentions to help can even become a hindrance–something my ego doesn’t like to readily admit. 

When I’ve got loved ones dealing with messes in their lives, here are a few reminders I try to take to heart when I’m trying to play handyman (or handywoman).

• Remember that God is in control. Oh, this is so hard to do sometimes, isn’t it? Especially when it seems like a troubling situation isn’t getting any better (or is getting worse by the day). Not only do I try to remind myself that God is in control of the situation and nothing is happening without His notice and allowance of it, but also that, as much as I love my friends and family, God loves them and cares about them even more

• Do what I can… First and foremost, I need to pray for my loved ones and their situations. I hate to admit it but sometimes I subconsciously view prayer as a last resort rather than an immediate response. Although it may seem passive, praying for someone is one of the most powerful actions we can take:

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16b)

Even if I don’t know what to pray for regarding particular situations, that doesn’t make my prayers ineffective. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, we have an interpreter who can pray for exactly what’s needed at that time:

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)

In addition to prayer (which we can ALL do), there are certain gifts and abilities that God’s given me to help others. One of those is the gift of encouragement–He often prompts me to send cards or emails to check on those who I know could use some encouragement, and I am thankful for being used by Him in that way.

• …but accept the fact that I am not equipped to do everything.  Although I’m trying to let God use me in whatever ways He sees fit to help those in my life, there are times when I’m frustrated with the realization that I can’t be there for my loved ones in all the ways that I want to be there. Sometimes I can’t be physically there for them, when we live in different cities; I can’t be there in the flesh to give a shoulder to cry on or a comforting hug, and that is tough. 

In other cases, my loved ones may be dealing with situations that I have not myself experienced and am therefore not able to offer the wise counsel that they need. Again, that’s a tough pill for my enlarged ego to swallow sometimes. But I’m learning to trust that God does not expect me to do everything; He brings other people into my loved ones’ lives to also walk alongside them and offer help in ways for which they are uniquely equipped. It is a beautiful thing to see God bring people from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences together to minister to and comfort one another. When I stop trying to be the sole provider of everything that I think my loved ones need, I can take a step back and see how God’s providing many sources of help and support. 

Do you, too, struggle with trying to be Mr. or Ms. Fix-It? What are some reminders that you lean on to rein yourself in when you’re tempted to strap on the old tool belt?

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6 thoughts on “When You Want to Fix the World [Spoiler: You can’t.]

  1. It is so hard at times to watch others suffering and going through trials and feel as if you can do nothing. Yet as believers we always have prayer as our tools and to remember that our prayers can make a difference can be so important. Lovely post…thanks so much for sharing.

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  2. I could definitely identify with this. I tend to take other people’s problems on as if they are mine when they clearly are not. I tend to want to fix it … but it is out of my hands! I really liked the tips that you offered and find if we will just do all of the above and cast our cares and anxieties on the Lord, He will see us and our family/friends through whatever trial or tribulation they are going through. We simply must carry it all to God and leave it in His very capable hands.

    Blessings to you and yours,
    Shirley
    http://www.lightlovehope.com

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    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who struggles with wanting to fix other people’s problems or find some way out of their suffering…when in fact the suffering may be exactly what God needs to use to bring a breakthrough in their lives. Leaving it in His hands is such a challenge at times but it truly is the best thing to do. Thanks for stopping by!

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