I have a guiding principle that has served me well over my adult years. I have a little plaque on my table in my office that clearly says, “It is what it is”. Someone seeing it one day in my office said that it was funny and then they looked at me seriously and said, “What does that even mean?”. I reflected on that when I went home that day.
First, it isn’t funny. There is nothing humorous about it. It isn’t profound either. It just…is what it is. It is a way of saying you must play the hand that life deals you each day. Sometimes we are facing issues, problems and responsibilities of our own making. If you have children and they all get sick at one time, it can be overwhelming, but it is the result of choices you have made to raise a family. It isn’t bad or good. It is just the natural consequence of your life decisions. At other times, we must face things because of other people’s choices. You are in the hospital because of a drunk driver. You are struggling to feed your family because of cutbacks. Maybe you are backed up at work because you are honestly overworked and your company doesn’t want to hire anyone else. Lastly there is the category of “Life Happens”. Flat tires, sickness, loss, chronic pain, hail, snow storms, etc., all fall into this category. No young couple sets out to have a special needs child, but no loving parent would want to send them back. I could list a thousand examples in all three areas of problems. Some may even overlap.
It is what it is means that when I get up each morning I must deal with what is on my plate. Giving up is not an option, so whatever God has allowed to come my way, I will deal with it. David had to deal with the consequences of his adultery with Bathsheba and conspiracy to murder Uriah every day. He lost his children, His kingdom for a time, and the respect of many of his peers, because of his bad choices. The Jews in Babylon bemoaned the fact that they were in captivity. Their fathers were idol worshippers and stubbornly refused to obey God, so many of them were born in a foreign land. It wasn’t all bad for them or all good. It just was what it was. The man born lame in Acts chapters three and four was lame for forty years before God healed him. He realized he was a lame man and needed to beg if he wanted to survive. Imagine the first morning he woke up able to walk. All at once he had new joys, opportunities and experiences awaiting him. He also was a forty-year-old man with no skills and needing to find a way to live.
Whatever your situation, life will throw you a lot of curves. Some come because of mistakes we make, some as collateral damage from other people’s mistakes and some just because we are alive. Good and bad things happen to everyone. I start each day realizing that it is what it is and knowing that if I trust God, He will give me strength and enable me to do anything that needs to get done. Along the way, He will also give me good people, great moments and lots of opportunities.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13, Nasb).