The term “It is what it is” in my opinion is the biggest lie and cop out used today. Could you imagine the likes of Albert Einstine defending his mass-energy equivalence E=mc² as “it is what it is?” The term, “it is what it is” does not point out what “it” is, nor does the term answer what “it” is not. So what is “it?”
If you give a child a box of crayons, a piece of paper, and five minutes they will have created for you, what to me “it” is.
You and I can assume, Well, “it is what it is,” but you and I both would be amazed to hear the child explain what in fact they see and drew. So the question is, when did we become so complacent with areas in our lives to take a beautiful mess like the one pictured above and willing to throw it in the “it is what it is” bucket? Are we too lazy to put forth the energy and vocabulary needed to describe what “it” is? Or do fears and other painful emotions prevent us from opening up and becoming vulnerable to others?
This time last year I moved to Texas to be with a woman I loved. It did not work out. Living hundreds of miles away from my home in Maryland and hundreds of miles away from the community that loved me, I lied to my co-workers and said, “it is what it is” in attempts to describe the mess my life had become. I tried desperately to hide behind a tough guy facade or mask. I was not willing to open myself up publicly to other people around me and so I copped out and buried feelings of pain, guilt, fear, anxiety, loneliness, shame, inadequacies and resentment. But it is what it is right? No, though it was a much easier explanation for the events and emotions I faced, I still felt trapped in what seemed like a self-made prison. I woke up and laid down each day for months wanting the pain to go away. I sought answers and distractions in the bottom of empty bottles and busy night clubs. I wanted nothing more than, it all to end. Even to the point that the thought of suicide seemed like the easier softer way. But it was not.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade right? What if we were promised oranges to make orange juice, do we accept that it is what it is, and settle for the lemons and make lemonade? I say no. Send the lemons back and ask again for the oranges.
In the Bible, Jesus says in the 14th chapter of the book of John,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
He also says later in the 16th chapter,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In a society and culture so consumed with the image of perfection, we are presented with opportunities for us to settle for less than what we deserve. Most of us trudge through life with hopes of meaningful and fulfilling relationships while our faces and minds are glued to our News Feeds and what others think about us. We desire so much for connection with other human beings but everyone around us is ignored because we are all glued to mobile devices and phones. When we do talk to each other and describe issues we face, we would rather say things like it is what it is and move on, in attempts to hide our brokenness in becoming vulnerable. Anxiety and fears from the troubles of the world prevent us from having a deep meaningful relationship with God. But God has overcome the world. Jesus lived. He died. And He rose from the dead not only to give us eternal happiness and life, but to give us a peace that surpasses all understanding in this life.
The Ultimate God of this universe knew you and I would go through a life of hills and valleys and he promises us peace. Peace in knowing that we are all not all perfect people, but that we are all made perfect in our brokenness. We can go through life feeling that we do not need God and we can struggle through the lemons life sends us. And we might get through pretty good and unscathed. But I can promise you that if you seek peace, love, joy, happiness and all the great things life can bring, you can and will find these things through God. Deep connection, understanding, acceptance and love can be found through meaningful relationships with others who also believe in Jesus. In my darkest days in Texas, I had brothers and sister in Christ that loved me and prayed for me. I was able to lean in on them. I stopped pretending everything was alright and lying that it was what it was. God blessed me with this community in times of need and I get to experience God’s peace and love through those relationships. If you and I cast all our cares, all the worries of things we have no control over, and give Him all our anxiety through prayer, He will give us peace. The world will continue to challenge us to settle and feed us lies and lemons and this walk becomes a fight. A fight for our promised peace. It is worth the good fight and you are not alone.
This world is dark. Yet, the definition of darkness is the absence of light. There is light in this world found in all the good things. However, lower in the valleys of life there are shadows. If you take a light in darkness and shine it into a perfect clay pot, no light will shine through the pot. But if you take a broken or cracked pot and shine light in it, light will shine through it’s cracks illuminating the darkness. Sometimes we need an opportunity to show our brokenness in the dark low places in our lives. There is a time to set aside the “it is what it is” and to shine light on what “it” really is. Pride will prevent us from showing our brokenness, our thoughts and our feelings. Sometimes we need an opportunity to share what “it” is. We aren’t perfect. No one is, but Jesus. Seek out those relationships and connections with people that accept you and your brokenness. Sometimes the people we choose to share our brokenness with will respond with the, “it is what it is” and we have to realize that they are the lemons. So we will need to go and find an orange, a person who can show us God’s love and speak life into us. Allow the light of Christ to work in you and through you, and fight. He will lift you up. And those of you who are at peaks in your lives, having been lifted up and surrounded by light, listen to those in the dark. Do not settle for the “it is what it is” lie and challenge each other. Be patient through love and ask the right questions. Help someone dig deep to understand what “it” is. Shine the light of Jesus through your brokenness. Our God is a God of miracles. He is a healer and He is the Prince of Peace. Let us heal the world and usher in peace, through Jesus Christ, one relationship at a time.
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