My Life has always been messy. Dysfunction and chaos have enveloped my life, from as far back as I can remember. In some arenas, they remain unwelcome companions to this day. I became a Fixer of Messy Life. I tried to fix my circumstances, fix others, and fix me. I turned in “my title” when I could no longer shoulder the burden of carrying other people’s messes. For my own well-being, I now have to think: “Yes, Life is messy. I am powerless to fix you. Fixing you is not my job.”
Alcohol always turned Father from Dr. Jekyell into Mr. Hyde. Mother, an excellent homemaker and adept protector of her five children, a survivalist herself, became a run-away mother when I turned 16. Now without guide rails, teenage me veered off the straight and narrow, into two years of self-medicating, destructive behavior. At 19, thinking I had found love and an escape, I married. Forty-one years later, my husband continues to express his addictive personality. When our four daughters were young, I assumed the role of stabilizer and lone potter, seeking to mold them, shield them, and steer them from paths that would lead to dysfunction and chaos–of course, they made their own choices. And then there’s me, fighting the giants, inside and out.
Circumstances and people in my life always seem to defy change. In the worst of times, it took everything within me to not run away from my life. Instead, I became a Survivor and Fixer, who lived chronically in fight-or-flight mode. I evolved into a woman with many co-dependency behaviors. (2)
Fixer Me packed on other people’s loads–their shortcomings, failures and consequences. With every space taken inside me, there was little room left for hope and joy in life. It’s a little late. But I’m learning different habits for handling life’s trials.
I CAN’T FIX YOU. “You must mop up your own messes.”
There is an indescribable freedom that comes when you realize:
- I am powerless to fix you, and
- Fixing you is not my job!
So, I accept that I can’t save my husband from his bad choices and life’s consequences. Still, my heart hurts for him.
I accept that I can’t save my four adult daughters, their husbands, or even one of my seven grandchildren. I may continue to share lessons learned and teach them to recognize life’s landmines. But their individual choices will set the course for the quality of life they each will lead. Still, my heart hurts when I can’t protect those I love.
I look around at other faces in my life circle. Most are struggling with their own burdens. I accept that I can’t carry their loads or take their pains away. Yes, my heart hurts for them.
For all these I love–and cannot fix–I turn to the power of prayer, and my heart settles into trust.
Yes, it is more than okay–it’s absolutely vital–to think: Life is messy. I am powerless to fix you. Fixing you is not my job. People change if/when they’re ready.
When The Fixer felt the most broken.
Outwardly, it looked like I lived a self-controlled life. But my head and my heart became quite messy. Thoughts–voices in my head–swirled like a tornado:
I am so angry, because he did that! Why did I do that? I should have done that. Am I doing enough? I messed up again!
Thousands of thoughts, and accompanying feelings, show up in our minds every day, like vagrants looking for a home. In my Fixer state of mind, persuasive thoughts and feelings captured, tormented and imprisoned me. Thoughts and feelings stole my hope, for decades. I was duped into living life as a victim.
I wonder. If I look like I’m whole, but I’m broken inwardly, is this the worst kind of broken?
I can’t fix me, but I can work on me.
Through an act of divine intervention, I received help from a Life Coach (1). She taught me to recognize healthy and unhealthy thoughts, and how to choose thoughts that would serve me and help direct me in any circumstance. I learned:
- Circumstances happen.
- I can choose my thoughts in any circumstance.
- My thoughts on something create feelings.
- Feelings push an action.
- My action creates the result.
I can invite God to work on me.
My morning practice is Bible reading and talking with God over what I’ve received. His Word and His presence help me to set my mind above my circumstances.
I’m learning to hand off–in simple, heartfelt conversations–my light cares, my heavy burdens, and my life journey to God. Nothing is too difficult for Him, right?
I can honestly say, I live mentally free now, most hours of my day.
Life taught this RECOVERING FIXER :
- Each one of us makes our own choices.
- Our life choices slap us around; or they lift us up and out.
- Our collective choices send us down a life path–toward destruction, or toward our divine life purpose.
- Life is messy. Very messy.
- Stepping in to “manage life” for others ends in misunderstanding, aloof relationships, and a boat-load of guilt.
- I can’t carry the cares of the world. My social media posts will never create a cultural revolution. I have no position of power to stick the proverbial finger in the dam to stop the flood of evil.
- There isn’t much I can do effectively on my own. And that’s okay.
What WILL i do:
- I will agree with Andy Warhol’s observation. People change when they’re ready.
2. I will continue to cast my burdens heavenward.
3. I will come alongside those who invite me to walk with them. Maybe a life lesson I’ve learned can help; act as a passing of “a mop for messy life” to those that hurt, or to someone bound in life’s chains.
I’ll be thrilled if some accept the mop. For those who choose to live with the mess, this Recovering Fixer will make a choice, also: to leave unburdened, remembering, the choice is not mine to make.
4. And I will take help for my journey.
“Can I have a mop here, please?”