The “Fix It Myself” Heart


I’m such a wannabe fixer!

  • It’s snowing outside, and I want to get out and clear the walkway and cars.
  • My daughter is struggling with something, and I want to map out the plan to get her to a better place.
  • The house is a cluttered mess, and I want to straighten it all out.

In past years, I’d treat all those wants as a call to action that I couldn’t ignore. So off I’d go to shovel and strategize and clean. Afterwards, seeing what I’d accomplished, a feeling of satisfaction would fill me up. That is, until I’d see the next thing to fix.

But do you know what always happened? Eventually, I’d get tired! And then, all those to-do items that beckoned me would annoy me instead. I would notice that I was the only one working on that list and let resentment creep in toward other people. I’d rant a little, decide to let it go, and the cycle would start all over again.

Now there’s a monkey wrench in my routine, though. Having rheumatoid arthritis has meant readjusting the amount and kind of work I do. It has meant I don’t have as much energy as I used to. It’s meant I can’t do everything anymore (as if I ever did). And most importantly, my ‘fix-it myself’ heart has needed changing.

If I could name one positive thing that’s come out of having RA, it would be that I’ve been forced to ask for help more. That doesn’t really sound like a praise, does it? But for most of my life I have prided myself in the abiiity to take care of business on my own. It felt good not to have to wait for or depend on someone else to get something done.

But that approach has shut me out of fellowship, with others and especially with God. And until I was forced to start asking for help, I didn’t realize what I was missing. Boy was it hard at first. I needed jars opened, seat belts buckled, shower faucets turned…sometimes I had to ask for help getting up from the couch. And I wasn’t very gracious about accepting that help, either. It hurt my pride to keep reaching out day after day.

I believe God has used this disease to break my spirit in this area. Thankfully He’s done it in a gentle way, moving other people to be gracious with me as I learn my lessons. And I’ve discovered that being less than the perfect fixer gives me the chance to be blessed by other people.

Now as I look out the window and feel that ‘want’ to shovel, I think about who I can ask to do it instead. There’s still a little twinge of disappointment, but also a bit of relief, too – that shovel can get heavy!