Brooke Anderson – CLI Student Ministries Intern
Parenthood – the TV series that struck the hearts of people all over our nation.
I recently started watching this show on Netflix and I can’t get enough of it. In Season two, the character, Christina Braverman, begins to stress when her daughter begins driving. The two have an argument over her daughter’s driving skills and it seems that perhaps Christina is overreacting. When she realizes this, she explains to her daughter that her husband has made up a word to describe her typical reactions. It’s called, “catastrophization.” In Christina’s mind, everything is a BIG DEAL. If she doesn’t have control of a situation, she freaks out. And with absolute certainty in her mind, all situations will end in catastrophe if not fixed or taken care of immediately.
I laughed when I watched this the other day because although I am not a parent, but I love to be in control. I continue to find myself freaking out over small things. And I have to begin to ask myself, is this worth it?
I am a fixer. I like to fix things. I mend, restore, put back together. I love to conquer all things for all people, or at least try. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel accomplished, confident, and successful. But eventually I realize that I cannot possibly fix everyone and everything. If I’m perfectly honest, being a fixer is depleting. I get exhausted trying to make people happy; I start to become weary. I lose motivation. But something in me tells me that I MUST keep fixing!
I have a huge problem. I am a perfectionist. If something isn’t done the way I want, I take it into my own two hands and do it myself. Without intention, I begin to rob others of their leadership. I steal others’ accomplishments. I take away their opportunities to be successful with their gifts and talents.
Why do I do this? Why do I insist on fighting every battle? The answer: Trust. Or maybe lack thereof. I don’t trust God. I don’t trust that He knew exactly what He was doing when He created everyone uniquely on this planet with his or her own gifts and passions. Beneath my trust issue is actually my inability to give up control. And beneath that trust issue is pride.
Fixer? Check. Perfectionist? Check. Trust issues? Check. Control freak? Check. Prideful? Another check.
I’m getting married soon. My fiancé has become very good at telling me a phrase as I plan our wedding. It’s the very phrase I despise and yet I need to be reminded of on a daily basis – “Pick your battles.” My identity does not stem from making people happy, or trying to put things back together again, or accomplishing everything in one day.
In Luke 10:38-42, there is a story about two women who were preparing to invite Jesus over to their home.
Jesus was passing through a village on his way to Jerusalem when a woman named Martha welcomed Jesus into her home. Martha had a sister whose name was Mary. These two women paint a unique perspective for me when it comes to picking battles. When Jesus entered their house, Martha was so concerned with fixing up the home, making food, and adjusting the room, that she completely forgot Jesus was sitting in her presence. She was too distracted by the details and wanting to control the situation. But Mary sat with Jesus – giving up all control and taking in every ounce of His beautiful presence.
Perhaps Martha was so concerned with trying to fix everything that she forgot to pick which battle to fight. She forgot to be in the moment with Jesus. What if Martha would have asked the question, “Is this worth it?”
For all of my fixer friends out there, I encourage you to ask yourself, “What’s worth it?” Is what I’m stressing about worth the cost? Is this worth losing sleep and feeling exhausted over? When we start to believe the lies that we are not good enough, we work very hard to do all the right things. And when we fail, we never allow God’s grace to catch us.
Our identity flourishes from resting, breathing, and dwelling in the Savior who conquered all things for all time. Jesus came once before to restore and reconcile a relationship with us, and He will come again to restore all things broken. The most beautiful part is that Jesus invites us to partner with him right here, right now. The door is open to fight battles in the name of Jesus, but we cannot do it ourselves.
It’s time to give up control. Stop being the person who has to do everything right. Pick your battles. Slow down. Sit at the feet of Jesus. Breathe Him in. And go be a warrior. Faithfully fight the battle that is worth it, and let Jesus take on the rest.