Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Admitting It

I don't know everything. 

There, I said it.

I can't fix everything either. 

And it just might always be this way.

Sometimes you just gotta own where you're at in life. Admit your faults, make known your needs, and turn to the ones that share life with you for love, comfort, and support. A nice warm blanket on mom's couch with a Disney movie and a cookie helps too.

I was sharing a story with some friends of mine this week over dinner.  As I told it, thinking I might inspire someone, I realized that I was the one who needed to hear it.  I cannot remember the story exactly so it is definitely paraphrased here, but credit does go to Liz Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love for sharing the original version.

In her dream, Liz was standing on the beach with a holy teacher. Together, they stood on the sand and watched the waves roll in.  It seemed a storm might be brewing because the waves grew and crashed and sprayed their faces with stinging, cold seawater.  The holy teacher looked over and said with most sincerity, "Liz, I have a task, just one task, for you. I want you to stop the ocean."

For a split second Liz thought he was joking but the "doer" inside grabbed the problem and ran with it. She drew sketches and considered theorems and turned the drawing this way and that, but to no avail. 

The holy man began laughing, quite loudly and with eyes sparkling at the thought that this woman actually believed she could control the ocean.

"Liz, Liz, Liz....Do you really think you have the power to stop those waves?"

So it goes with many of us. We see a problem and jump in head first, sure that with just the right amount of finesse we can fix it. But if you consider this story, you can surely see how silly it really is to believe we can control anything; that we can fix it; that it is in our toolbox to manhandle any issue and make it right. That we can stop the ocean.

Repeat after me:

I don't know everything.
I can't fix everything.
The situation just might always be this way.

Many times we step in, or should I say overstep, and wrassle issues that are not ours. I have lived this life and what I learned is that it takes that much longer for the situation to right itself when I try to throw it down on the ground and pin it.

Sometimes the only option is to stand on that beach and let the waves crash over you. The spray may sting your face like a thousand needles.  Or, it could be on a hot day and feel really good! Your shoes, long forgotten on your feet, might become soaked and your toes all shriveled up. The winds may die down and the waves begin to just lap at the sand and the clouds part to reveal a pink sunset in all of its glory. You may even begin to smile.

Whatever the case, acceptance of what you cannot change is imperative to achieving a peaceful life. Knowing your limits, knowing when an issue is yours to amend and knowing when it belongs to another to figure out, are important to understand. Usually it isn't doing anyone a favor when we step in where we do not belong. Each person must run their own race, own their own stuff, and look their own fear in the eyes.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!

It is not in our power to change others. We can only change ourselves. That is BIG. Because changing ourselves IS in our power. With change comes hope. Change brings the possibility of a new direction, a new dream, a new outcome. 

So join me today. Admit and accept the things that you cannot change. Look for the things in yourself that you CAN change and do so courageously. Always pray that you will know the difference.

Stand on a sandy beach, rain or shine, and accept your limitations.  

God will meet you there.