A couple weeks ago, I reconnected with an old friend. We went to lunch and caught each other up on our lives. We actually were girls and talked about boys. We laughed while talking about the old days. We went to the beach and walked along the shore. The waters were freezing, but let’s be honest; Lake Michigan is always cold. We sat at a picnic table with two Pepsi’s between us.
We admitted to each other that for the first time in a long time we were happy.
Now I’m not talking about the temporary feeling you get when things go your way. This happiness is something pure, something beyond what could never be explained. It’s the kind of happiness that was made by God’s own hands, the way it was intended to be. This was the feeling that these two college students felt, as they sat in that park. It only took them 18 plus years to find it.
Now I’m not saying that these teenage girls were happy because they had this thing called life figured out. To the contrary, one of these girls has decided to take a whole other path in life that originally planned and is still trying to work out the details. The other is a host of emotions and dreams that are beyond her control and belief with a dash of passion to make for a beautiful yet dangerous combination. The point is we are two beings far from perfect.
We’ve made mistakes and have flaws that we’d rather forget some days. We do dumb things. We cry and scream while struggling to be the good Christian girls we’re called to be in a world that’s darker than we could ever imagine. We have scars from the past that we can’t quite figure out how to heal just yet. Our hearts are creaked, and we fall apart some days.
We spent all of the high school hiding that. We pretended that we were fine while turning our attention to others. Through fixing them, we believed we could discover how to fix ourselves. If we could heal them, then maybe we’d feel better about our own flaws.
We couldn’t though, and it killed us with every failure. Everything that was us was built on that idea that we were strong and that we could solve any problem. Yet every time someone would get lost to the world or our words would fall on deaf ears. Each charge to aid led us back to the same problem we’d tried to fix before, and the cycle would repeat over and over.
We lost a lot to that cycle, to that endless crusade to fight problems that we had no control over. We lost opportunities. These two girls never learned to fly, because they were too busy trying to push others to the sky. It took time away and a clean slate of college for them to see the truth.
You can’t fix everyone.
The world we live in is messed up. It almost always has been and will forever be until the Lord decides to come back. There’s no escaping it, which also means there’s no avoiding pain. People will break and creak. The weight of sin will destroy whom the Lord has made them to be. Confusion will cloud their judgement, and pain will become a part of them.
There comes a point when we are forced to reach out and ask for help. We’ll beg for anything from someone else in hopes of easing the pain whether that be advice, time, help, or simply a listening ear. We even get relief from such, but it’s only temporary.
The harsh truth is that others can’t fix us. The only one’s who can are Christ and more importantly ourselves.
The pain and hurt won’t go away until we take the charge to end it and fight like hell. It doesn’t mean just making the choice to stop but a change in our thoughts and actions. There needs to be something different, and when we start to slip, we need to dig in our claws. Sure, something the pain will overwhelm and we’ll need someone to hold us as we cry, but that’s all they can do. We need to make the decision to stand back up.
My friend and I choose to fight, to embrace it all and take control. Our pain and our sorrow is defeated; it’s dead in the grave because we have a hope given to us by a God up above that gives us a reason to begin again.
We also made the choice to let go.
We’ve seen the truth that we can’t support others anymore. That’s doesn’t mean we don’t love them or aid them while they are in the middle of a storm. We can still offer advice and help with what we can. What it means is that we can’t hold them up. There’s a point where they need to make the same choice we did and own it, because in the end, you can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.
That’s the discover that was made at that table, as we sipped soda and killed spiders. This is what set us free and gave us a beginning in something that’s so beautiful. It’s the thing that’s given us pure joy and the strength that was once locked inside us.
Don’t you want that happiness too?