Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Unfixable Life

I've worked on this post here and there with equal amounts of frustration and dismay. It's one of those seasons in which I have both too much and nothing to say. I read what I type and think to myself, "That doesn't even make sense." And so I hit delete.

As I type this time on a Monday, I think about all the undone I had planned to get done: a run on the loathsome treadmill, some quiet time and journaling, the making of beds so that things look a little more, well, fixed up.

But it's after 10 am and I leave for an appointment in an hour and have checked not a single thing off the list. Hooligan boys run and squeal and wrestle while I make empty threats and drown them out with Today Show and too much coffee.

I have nothing to show for my day thus far and I feel lassoed by shame, wondering why I can't snap my fingers and arrive at a state of togetherness.

Now it's a Tuesday, late morning. I sit down to write, thankful that my blog is not a pet. Otherwise it would have died of neglect weeks ago. I'm still in my pajamas {again} and need to change one kid's pee sheets before I make another attempt to climb the treadmill and drag squealing kids to the pool.

Anxiety, exhaustion and undone are constant companions and I blame it on the "unfixable life," the intersection of real hardship and real life and real questions.

In a recent e-mail from a friend, she told me that's she praying for me in the midst of my unfixable life. I haven't been able to get that term out of my head.

It's such a perfect description. Fixing what's broken is just our natural response. Embracing the broken feels ridiculous. And lazy. It feels like failure. Life in limbo is just plain uncomfortable and weird. Unfixable days feel maddening and slow.

So every moment requires a surrendering of self to the One who saves the broken and sees a masterpiece in the shards...even though all I can see is mess. I've always had plans and to-do lists and quick-thinking at my disposal. Others come to me for counsel and words. That's because I mostly usually know what to do.

Until now.

God, could you just give me some wherewithall? Could you make me less dependent and vulnerable right now? Because I am sort of missing my resourceful, know-it-all self.

It is simply not my nature to not know how to fix something or clean up a mess. I am a mom. I fix and clean up for a living.

I know that God could breathe fixed into the unfixed right now if He chose to. But He's showing me that the real fixing requires real living. Real rolling-up-your-sleeves and wading into the mess.

He doesn't give me fixed but he does give me hope. And it's hope for you too: He's in the mess with us. In fact, He is closest to us in the mess, whether we feel Him there or not.

That is so comforting to me. Feelings lie and emotions are untrustworthy, but His promises are true, always and forever. I write to remind myself. Knowing that "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit," comforts me in the midst of these unfixable days.

Knowing He's close even helps me not to be quite so hard on myself. He gives me grace to give to myself. Grace to accept the dirty dishes and clamoring kids and Today-Show-instead-of-quiet-time, lazy Mondays.

In the midst of the unfixable, I gulp down this sobering reality: He doesn't save us from the mess. He saves us through it.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. {James 1:2-3}
I want fixing. He wants completeness. I want to be less lacking. He says to hang on, that one day I won't lack anything...when perseverance finishes its work.


  1. There! The pet has been fed and watered! Now go soak up some of His sun while the kids splash. (They're not usually concerned with the "unfixable life," are they?)

    The reality is that life is unfixable for all of us. He alone brings the fix . . . and even then, He leaves us here rather than taking us there. Bummer! Heaven is fixed. Meanwhile, the process continues for us.

    Keep writing. Keep living. Keep remembering the truth.


    P.S. And thanks for the sushi. Getting ready to enjoy!

  2. This is so "on target". We are all in process. But, as Paul said, "we press on".

    Thank you for this reminder that God has the fix for the seemingly unfixable. The good work He began in us, He will continue until we are complete.


  3. Oh as a firstborn who won't clean anything unless I can clean it perfectly...I needed this.


Share your thoughts?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin