Dear Ms. (and Mr.) Fix It,
A few months ago, while at the gym, I came a cross a sign similar to this:
It was the beginning of the year and I was all excited about getting started on my training program for my upcoming Stair Climb Challenge. But one of the machines I needed to use was broken- out of order. I had two choices: ignore the sign and use it anyway, or move on to the next station of my training. Not wanting to risk injury, I opted for the latter. I hopped on another machine and along comes Mr. Big Bad Gym Dude who starts using the broken equipment next to me. I kindly made him aware of the sign, then he looked at me, asked what was wrong with the machine (like I knew!), and proceeded to use it anyway. So of course I’m thinking this guy is nuts. But it also made me think about how often we come across people who are broken and we try to make things work with them regardless.
A week or so later, I walked into another gym and Break Your Heart (by Taio Cruz) was playing through the sound system. The lyrics go something like this:
“Now listen to me baby
Before I love and leave you
They call me heart breaker
I don’t wanna deceive you
If you fall for me
I’m not easy to please
I’m might tear you apart
Told you from the start, baby, from the start
I’m only gonna break break your heart.”
There are two types of heartbreakers most of us have encountered: those who tell us and those who show us. The straight-talkers will tell us up front that they’re out of order. They say things like: “I’m not interested.” “I’m not ready for a relationship.” “I’m only gonna break your heart.” There’s no guess-work required. They wear their cold heart on their sleeve. And then there are those whose actions speak louder than their lack of words. They’re not brave enough to be upfront with you. So instead, they lead you on. They’ll tell you one thing but their actions rarely line up.
As challenging as it is, we must learn to accept what folks say about themselves as well as what their behavior says about them. And if you really want to grow stronger, take heed to the observation of trusted friends and godly counsel. They’ll see all the signs your pride enables you to miss.
In either case, don’t waste your time trying to change the person you’re interested in. NEWSFLASH: none of us are capable of fixing someone’s shortcomings. It’s hard enough trying to change oneself, let alone someone else! Sex and money won’t fix someone’s dysfunction; using those powerless tools will just leave your bruised ego in need of nursing and your self-worth in need of repair.
So often, we tune out God’s voice and turn up the volume of our vices- all in the name of “love.” Our flesh finds a way to turn God’s no into yes- only to beg for His help to get out of the mess we impatiently created. Totally out of order- trying to re-order someone else’s priorities. Christians, you can share the Good News, but you can’t make ’em read the Bible. Sisters, you can cook him meal after finger-lickin’ meal (in the kitchen and the bedroom, if you know what I mean), but you can’t make him hungry enough to spend forever with you. Brothers, you can lead her safely to aqua blue waters, but you can’t make her thirsty for your love. In an effort to make things work, many will give an inch, let them take a mile, and wonder why the relationship is going nowhere. Total disorderly conduct.
Rather than settling for disinterested, broken people who are clearly out of order, pray for their healing (and yours!), and invest your time and energy in building healthy relationships that foster peace, love, and faith. Every time you pump the weight of someone’s brokenness, you run the risk of long-term injury. As Maya Angelou once said, “when people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” The writing is always on the wall (and any social media outlets they use). It’s up to you to pay attention. 😉
Are you trying to make it work with someone who’s comfortably out of order? What warning signs are you ignoring? What’s keeping you from moving on?