You Don't Have to Fix Yourself

Work in progress.

I’ve been sharing with you this week about my personal health struggles (see here and here), and it’s been a bit of a surprising turn in the conversation for me. I didn’t really expect to lay out in the open with such gritty detail how much I’m personally growing as a wee babe in this area. (I usually leave extended revelations and stories about my own journey for my personal blog, rather than here.)

So I’ve been a bit perplexed before Jesus this morning about that, wondering if I shared too much or why he may have wanted me to share that much personal detail with you. 

And what I heard him saying to me this morning about all this is that he wants you to receive this truth: 

You don’t have to fix yourself. 

I’ve mentioned the principle of indirection here in these last few days. It’s something I’ve written about in the past a few times, as well. In a nutshell, I want to communicate that this the idea that says we can’t change ourselves by sheer will power or conditioning.

Only God can change the very fibers of our being.

This gets at the root of character. For instance, I cannot actually make myself into a patient person. I cannot make myself into a humble person. I cannot make myself into a generous person. I cannot make myself into a loving person. And right now, I cannot make myself into a person who cares about the way I treat my body. 

I cannot change my character. I may be able to direct my behavior, but behavior is different than character, than our nature, than our fundamental being.

And here is the beautiful news:

Jesus wants to make us into new people. 

He doesn’t want us to be people who just behave a certain way. He wants to make us into people who actually are patient, forgiving, grace-filled, generous, loving, respectful, and so on.

And that is work only Jesus can do. In fact, that is the work Jesus is all about doing.

And so this morning, as I sat with a bit of a vulnerability hangover at having shared such detailed pictures with you about my own growing edges in the area of physical healthiness right now, I had this image of coming to Jesus on the shoreline of that beach with a broken toy in my hands. 

In my own hands, the toy was a plastic, broken thing, sharp and useless and cracked into several broken pieces.

But when I handed the toy to Jesus, it became a soft, stuffed doll ripped down the back side, stuffing hanging out, an arm torn nearly right off.

I saw Jesus take that busted-up doll into his own two hands with such loving care and slowly start making it new. Stitch by stitch, with methodical, slow intentionality and mastery, he pushed the stuffing back into place and began closing up the backside with even, perfect rows of stitches. I saw the stitches begin to close up the ragged uselessness of the doll. 

He was making it new.

Jesus closes up our brokenness. He puts everything back in its place. He stitches us back together.

Our part is to let him do it — to bring him our brokenness, to put it into his hands, to stay beside him, watching him do the repair work, letting him put everything where he wants it to go.

We watch and wait with him, and we let him perform the operation. Our part is being with him, handing ourselves over, and complying with his movement. This is the heart of indirection.

How might he want to repair areas of brokenness in your own life right now?