“It is what it is.” A modern cliche doled out by people who don’t know what to say. So annoying! I want to reply, “Maybe, but it shouldn’t be!”
But there is wisdom in it. Not always, but often. Sometimes we need to refuse to accept a situation as is, and work to change it. Buying groceries for a neighbor who has lost a job. Taking in a foster child. Caring for an aging relative. Working for justice.
But sometimes there just is no solution that we can affect. I have an important person in my life from whom I am estranged. I have prayed and cried out to God for reconciliation. I have done my best to be obedient to his leadings. I have come back again and again to try to make things better. And, currently, all my efforts have been for naught. I cannot cause the other person to change and desire a true reconciliation. It just is what it is.
There are lots of these. Job situations. Health. Natural disasters. Aging parents. Wayne Dyer has said, “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” If we want to experience peace, we need to start understanding that sometimes it is what it is.
But that does not mean we are victims or that we give in to despair. I am learning that in my own “is what it is” circumstances, that I am never alone. I am learning the true meaning of Romans 8:28-29. As awful and hard as life can be, it will all be to my good. And my good is becoming more like Jesus.
Those are hard won words, brought about through many tears. I didn’t always believe that. I thought it was MY job to fix these problems and that I was failing when I didn’t. And God was failing by not giving me the power to make these changes. And I was miserable. Absolutely miserable. So, I kept trying harder and harder to do more and more.
And then God took away most of my responsibilities. My boys grew up and moved away. I lost my job. And now I’m in a time of waiting. But not just waiting. Waiting and resting, and leaning in. I can’t fix things. I brainstorm ideas, but I haven’t been able to implement any of them due to circumstances beyond my control.
And there it is. As much as I want to be in control, I really am not. Being in control just isn’t my job, which is why I fail at it so miserably. I’m trying to learn that. Some days I don’t do so well. But other days I know the wisdom of “it is what it is.” On those days, I can trust that the Lord has got this, whatever “this” is. It is not a surprise to Him. It is not beyond His power. He may (probably) not do it the way I think it ought to be done. But He knows what He is doing. And He is right here with me in the midst of it, turning me into the image of His Son. “It is what it is.”