Problem… I have written before on what my friend affectionately called superhero syndrome… when I see a problem I want to swoop in to rescue and fix, and then swoop out. I am a recovering fixer. My family role was the fixer. My pastor explained to my husband and me during our pre-marital counseling that I was the cog in the wheel in my immediate family. I held things together in my home. He said when I left, my family would fall apart. He was correct. Within a year my parents were divorced, and my brother was struggling with his own stuff. This did not happen because I was a superhero, but because I grew up in a home that had an unnamed guest, mental illness, bipolar disorder. I had learned how to keep everyone in play at times when things got crazy in our home. I learned to make jokes, or meet people’s needs, or ignore certain things when this house guest would demand attention. I learned how to solve problems, and meet needs that were not mine. I became mom to my family. This carried over into my outside world, my friends would call me mom at times, sometimes in an endearing way, and other times in an “I am annoyed with you” way. This grew into a need to “help” whoever was in my sphere, with whatever problem they might have.
One day I picked up a book and a line impacted my heart and mind like an seismic quake, Brant Hansen in his book Unoffendable said, “Quit trying to parent the whole world.” He continued on,
Quit offering advice when exactly zero people asked for it. Quit being shocked when people don’t share your morality. Quit serving as judge and jury, in your own mind, of that person who just cut you off in traffic. Quit thinking you need to ‘discern’ what others’ motives are…
I felt my last decade flash before me. All the kids in grocery stores that I had told to stop poking the meat because no parent was doing so, reminding someone of a rule even though I had zero authority in the situation, walking people through every step of something in the way I thought it should go.
Basically, Brant Hansen let me know, these were not my problems! None of this was my problem. No one was waiting for me to solve their problems, or disappointed because I could not solve their problems for them. It was not my problem, not in a “”I don’t care way of living, but it was not my problem to solve. These things and many more including much of my growing up family stuff was not my weight to carry, or my problem to solve. That was very freeing, but also something I have had to repeat to myself over, and over since coming across those words.
Asking God to help me know what things are mine and which are not is a life skill I have to intentionally practice, or I fall back into the problem solver mindset. It is still a slow thinking process, but God has brought me a long way to greater freedom. We are now working on some of the bigger problems, and He is slowly teaching me that they are His to work through with the other person. Sometimes I am to walk with a person, or pray for them, but it is not my problem. And when something is my problem, I can share it with Him and He will walk me through it. He is waiting and willing to give me the wisdom and discernment I need. He is willing to provide what I need for the problem.
This has been a journey of learning that I do not carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I never did, but I walked through life as if I did. There is freedom in knowing that there is a God who is intimate and personal, that cares about us. He asks us to literally fling all our cares, concerns, and problems on Him because He cares for us with the deepest affections the amplified Bible translates it (I Peter 5:7). How much better for me and all the people I try to problem solve for.
There is a Savior who can actually help them with all their problems. He cares for them, and has a deeper understanding of what is good for them, not just trying to relieve a problem, but to heal and give them hope. There are many times I forget, but thankfully God’s mercies are new every morning, and He brings to mind His goodness and also those words, that I do not need to parent the world, and why would I want to when the one who created the World already holds the whole thing in His hands.
* I am joining Five Minute Fridays in a 31 day Writing Challenge. Each day I will be writing on a different word prompt for at least 5 minutes for the month of October.
**Check out 2018’s 31 Day Writing Challenge https://inkblotlife.com/category/write-31-days-2018/