I’ve always struggled at letting go of things gone wrong without feeling the need to fix them, or make them right because that’s what I do; I fix things (Hell, sometimes, I’ve even tried to “fix” people).
I remember growing up, I used to fix and re-purpose all sorts of things. One instance, I made a doll dress out of a shirt sleeve with some tiny ruffles that ended up being the skirt part of my doll’s dress-I still have the doll with the dress. Now, as an adult, I’ve always loved repurposing old junk. So, I’ve always seen that aspect of myself as just being resourceful (ok, and somewhat crafty).
I see an old chair or an old window, windows are my favorite, and I immediately picture what it would look like with a fresh coat of paint sanded down to make them look old again. Or I find vintage furniture with an authentic worn out look and I am able to imagine what it would look like in my home next to newer things that will make its uniqueness stand out even more.
As a matter of fact, I seldom purchase new furniture. I very much prefer old things because they seem to have a life of their own and I am mesmerized by its mark left on them.
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work on several pieces of furniture that had been waiting on me to get to them. I find that working on transforming things is therapeutic for me. A few days ago, as was giving an old cedar chest new life ( you can see it here ), it dawned on me why it is that I am drawn to these things.
I realized that my love for old things stems from my dysfunctional upbringing. There was a time (even in my adult life) that because of my upbringing I felt unfixable. I really felt as though nothing could be done to fix me, or to give me new life. So, I would fix the things around me that could be fixed.
For most of my adult life, not only did I continue fixing things, I also attempted to do that with some of the relationship I had. No matter how much people dishonored me, I would go to any measures just to prove how wrong they were about me. I thought, obviously, those people didn’t have an accurate impression of who I was. So, I would set out to fix the perception they had of me because I believed that when they did see me for who I was, they would realize how wrong they were for behaving the way they had behaved towards me.
Until, I became exhausted from always trying so hard to get people to approve of me. I realize that surely, God didn’t intend for us to have to work that hard on feeling accepted. But more importantly, I realized that God is always willing to take us as we are and transform us into something better! He doesn’t need us to “fix” his perception of us. He knows exactly how flawed we are and yet, He still works miracles in our life every day!
From then on, God did fix me up and He did give me new life! And I have figured out that fixing things and giving them a new life fills me with joy because it reminds me of God’s mercy for me! I imagine every now and then, God must glance at me the way I glance at things I’ve worked on as I walk past them in my house and He must think to Himself “that one there sure was a lot of work! Oh, but she did turn out just as I imagined she would!” and it puts a smile on my face.
Not long ago, I found myself justifying a situation gone wrong to someone who’s opinion I value for the mere reason that I value people’s opinion until they give me a reason to feel otherwise.
I was determined that this person see me for who I am because I felt that it was necessary in order for me to feel as though I was right in feeling that the situation at hand was not what I deserved. Not so that the situation cold be fixed, just so that it would be established that it was outright wrong because people were saying things about me that aren’t true; I was adamant to prove so in order to maintain this person’s approval of me.
Until, I realized, that I was allowing a situation that was already beyond my control to influence me into falling back into my old ways of wanting to “fix” someone’s perception of me and I am no longer that person!
I became frustrated with myself but I decided to give myself time to get over the guilt of having fallen-like an addict-back into my old habits, and I hid under my blankets for a couple of days (the weather’s been pretty gloomy and yucky so that didn’t help much, either). After a few days of feeling angry and disappointed in myself, I decided enough moping and self-loathing had been done and that I must forgive myself and move on.
You know how I’ve told you guys that I’m always reading something? Well, you will not believe this (Or maybe you will) but I went to the library to return some books. Usually, I am armed with a list of new books to check out when I go in there but since I hadn’t been acting myself the past few days, I had nothing. But I refused to walk out of there without anything to read so I figured I’d walk over to the non-fiction section and look around.
Let me tell you, after a few minutes, Joyce Meyer’s book Approval Addiction nearly jumped at me! I don’t have a particular liking for Joyce’s sermons and had never read one of her books before but I brought the book home, anyway. Best decision I could have made!
That book proved to be one of the ways in which God sometimes, speaks to us when we least expect it! This part in particular has stuck with me:
“God is for us. We also know that Satan is against us. The question we must ask is are we going to get into agreement with God or with the devil? Sad to say, sometimes we discover that people are also against us. Satan works through people as well as independently. He attacks our confidence through the things people say or don’t say” and then she goes on to say “How important are people’s opinions of us? Are we thinking for ourselves, or are we always taking everyone else’s opinion? If people’s opinions, judgments, and attitudes toward us are something inspired by the devil, instead of agreeing with what they think and say, we must resist it. If we know that God is for us, then it shouldn’t matter how we feel, or what other people think of us”.
When I read those words I knew, I just KNEW that God was speaking directly to me through Joyce’s words. Right there, in large print to be precise, were the words I needed at that very moment to get out of the state of guilt that I was in! I don’t need anyone else’s approval other than God’s. I’m human and I make mistakes but that’s ok because no matter how many times I fall, He is right there willing to help me back up.
Needless to say and although it is a day to day effort, I am choosing to be in agreement with God and what I already know that He knows about me because I now understand why it is that what others think about me is none of my business.
I hope you are having a lovely day (can you tell I’m ready for spring?)! 😉