“Fix me.” That is the lament filled appeal Queen Latifah’s character sings in the movie “Joyful Noise”. She is anything but joyful. Her beautiful son is disabled; her husband is estranged; her teenage daughter is beginning to push back from her metal grip control. Basically, she is unhappy, unpleasant, and in need of help. The scene is Latifah, sitting alone, playing the piano in her church’s dark and deserted sanctuary. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hieoU5Ig0Y
I was not in my church night before last …but those were the words that came to mind. “Fix me”. “Fix me, Jesus”. Fix me, God. I don’t even know what the matter with me is, but please fix me.
There has been something “off”…something “out of sync”…something wrong…with me. But I didn’t know how to fix it, because I didn’t know what it was. I don’t know if you ever feel like that. I call it the “Human Condition”. I saw a picture a few days ago that said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Yes. That is right. And sometimes I hate being a human being. I hate being caught in worry or pain or anger or frustration or pettiness…I hate all of the things that ARE SO OBVIOUSLY NOT from or OF GOD…but they are there. Swirling around me. Clouding my vision. Poking and prodding and whispering with ugly voices in my ear.
Fix me, Jesus. That was my prayer when I went to sleep. I needed to be fixed for my sake…but I REALLY needed to be fixed for the sake of the people I love.
I don’t know if you are like me, but I think that I am generally and genuinely a happy person to everyone…IF I have no expectation of you! If you are a friend; a co-worker; a student; a neighbor; a check out clerk; a fellow driver on the road; a librarian or really ANYONE that I might meet as I am going about my daily routine…I love you. I can easily love you freely. I will smile at you and speak to you and be happy to see you and spend a few minutes chatting with you. I will help you if you ask…and do it with a happy heart. I will be pleasant to you and my only expectation is that you be pleasant to me too! And if you aren’t? Well…honestly that is no “skin off my back.” I may silently grunt, or groan or roll my eyes (but you probably won’t see me do that!) and I will feel anger if I am “mistreated” …but only for a few seconds (kind of a “gut reaction”… a “fight or flight” reaction). And then it is over. And then I usually say, “How sad that they are so unhappy.” But other people don’t make me unhappy…UNLESS they are MY people.
And then I have expectations. And then when those expectations aren’t met, then I do get angry and frustrated. And I forget that I have a happy heart. And sadly I think that they forget that I have a happy heart too.
I’m so good at saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff! And…it’s almost all small stuff!” I’m so good at saying, “Don’t let that upset you! It is so tiny in the big picture…and tomorrow it probably won’t even be a memory!” ….so good at saying, “If someone is arguing with you then be the bigger person and don’t argue back! It takes two people to keep it going…so stop.” I am so full of such really excellent advice. But let’s just take “Don’t sweat the small stuff!” for example…What if I told you that by nature I am OCD. There is a place for everything and everything should be in its place! What if i told you that I live in a house with 5-7 other people and 9 animals who could not care less where “the place” might be! “The place” for them is wherever they leave it…be it clothes, dishes, papers, instruments, crumbs…chewed up kleenex from the trash… My surroundings are full of small things that are in my face and out-of-place. And to me, that small stuff piles up to be about the size of Mt. Everest…in other words, all together, those little things become a REALLY REALLY REALLY BIG thing.
God is good and God knows best and He did not give me neat OCD people in my life because He truly does want me to live what I know to be true…”it’s almost all small stuff!”
And He did not give me easy…and He did not give many of my family and friends problem-free lives…but He did make us a promise that He would be with us and that He would not give us more than we could take…and if we fall He will pick us up and if we come to the end of our rope He will pull us up…and if for some reason we are not willing to come up He will provide us with strength to hang on. But we have to ask for help. If we don’t believe His promise…or we are too stubborn or proud or caught up in our pain… then we are living in and blinded by the “Human Condition.”
That is where I was… where I have been. And then I simply said, “Fix me. Fix me Jesus.”
And I woke up yesterday morning and God had given me a truth while I slept. People are like flowers. It sounds like a silly simile or cliché. But it is real. Consider a beautiful flower that is often in our presence and is in our direct control every time that we are near to it. What we do when we are near to it DOES have an impact on the life of that flower whether we know it or acknowledge it to be true.
Do we speak kindly? It is proven that plants grow faster and stronger when they are spoken to…it may have a scientific explanation (more direct co2…more intentional care etc), but none-the less plants that receive kind words and their other basic needs are much more likely to thrive.
Do we give light? Do we place it in a spot where it can soak up an essential element for its well-being. We can be a gray cloud or we can be a bright and warm presence. God made us to be a light and we are told not to hide that light but to let our light shine! Matthew 5:16 clearly says “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We don’t shine because we are forced to…because we are told to…but because we are made to. Don’t keep your light hidden away behind our frustration and our anger and our unfulfilled expectations and our feelings of unfairness and injustice and our bitterness and unforgiveness and our pettiness! That is what HUMAN beings do…and remember, we are SPIRITUAL beings!
So, speak kindly. Let our light shine. Unclog that spicket…turn on that hose pipe and give a drink to that thirst, parched soil. Our inability to find the good…our refusal to look for the good…our neglect at commenting on the good DOES have an affect. That precious flower NEEDS to know that they are wonderful; needs to feel our attention and our warm love; and be refreshed by our words of affirmation and encouragement!
and THIS IS THE BIGGIE…
IT IS NOT UP TO THE FLOWER. IT CAN NOT STAY BEAUTIFUL AND HEALTHY FOR US JUST BECAUSE WE WANT IT TO.
I may tell myself…”I will feel better and be happier with them and be in a better mood and not be so frustrated by them …if they will…if they would…when they do…”
Expectations of them. Expectations…or else.
What about my expectations of ME? Those are the only things that are really in my control anyway, right?
So, what if I paid attention to speaking kindly; being a light; seeing the good and complimenting it…praising it…being grateful for it…what could that do? It couldn’t hurt.
At the very least, it would change me.
And my change might bring about the changes that I want…or not. And if they don’t, then it won’t really matter because it is the small stuff. Their health, growth, strength and happiness is the big stuff. And I can aid in that…but only with God’s help. Only with God’s eyes. Only with God showing me how He loves.
I know that I will be “broken” again. That I will call out to God to fix me. BUT WOW!!! He is the creator of the Universe…He made the Universe. There is no doubt that He can do wonders with us …if we will let Him. But we have to ask. If we need to call on Him for help in any way…if we feel blessed and thankful…if we don’t feel anything at all…if we feel broken…tell Him. He cares . For you and for me. More than anything else that He has made.
Thank you, God.