It is what it is...until it's not.
Photo Credit: INCITE
In my 38 years on this planet, I have been alive and kicking long enough to see the cycle of collective cultural catch phrases. Remember, "rad," "cool," "sweet," "gag me with a spoon," "tubular," "where's the beef," "wicked," and the still ever present peppering of "like" through every sentence?
There are some phrases that are banned from adult use. A few months ago, a similar-aged friend and I were trying out her teenage daughters' newest saying, "like a boss," only to be given eye rolls of epic proportions and being chastised for saying it wrong and for even trying to say it in the first place. Young people only. Meaning...we're old. Yeah, we get it.
However, there is one catch phrase that I seem to hear everywhere now -- from young to old -- and it's driving me nuts. I even hate to type it here. Okay...here goes.
"It is what it is."
Ahhhh! (Hands flapping and grimace going). I really, really, really have come to dislike this one. Hearing it is like nails on a chalkboard for me.
"Why," you ask?
Well, for me it's become sort of a cultural acceptance of mediocrity -- a giving in to reality without any sense of hope or belief that things could be different.
Here's how I usually hear it.
"Yeah...well, my hours got cut at work and my health insurance just went up. I'm wondering if we might lose our house. Well...it is what it is."
"Someone I thought was a friend just talked about me behind my back. I can't believe she shared things that were so private...things she swore she would never tell anyone else. I can't change it...it is what it is."
And on and on...you get the drift.
The reason I cannot stand this phrase is that it leaves ZERO room for the miraculous and saving power of God in a person's life. I believe when we (and especially Christians) utter, "it is what it is," you are telling the Creator of the Universe that you do not believe He is powerful, capable, gracious or concerned enough to intervene in your circumstance.
If you believe in the mantra, "it is what it is," then you don't know the God I serve.
The God I serve has given me "God winks" of opened schedules and doors, favor with people with influence, financial provision when things have been dire, free tickets to movies and the circus, healing when my children have been sick, restoration of broken relationships, and so so much more.
If we truly believe that "it is what it is," we slam the door on possibility. We bar the door against Hope.
"Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” -- Matthew 19:26
I heard this scripture over the last few days when I was privileged to be able to serve last minute as a cabin leader for the girls of my church at camp. I hadn't been back to Kids Camp since 1990 when I last served as a counselor. I had spent a good portion of my life going to these summer camps -- when my mom was on staff, when I was a camper and then when I was old enough to be an assistant counselor and then a full-fledged one. I adore camp. I had some life-changing moments there.
As I looked out across the meeting room and saw the children listening intently to the message given to them that with God ALL things are possible, I saw the belief in their eyes. Children are born believers. It's only when we get older and are confronted with "reality" that our belief wanes.
When they prayed, these kids believed that things would be different. They didn't ask God to intervene and than tack on, "it is what it is" at the end of it. No! They prayed with authority and power.
I'm on a mission to eradicate "it is what it is" from the church and elsewhere. Because "it is what it is"...until it's not. And that can happen in a blink of an eye...in the whisper of a prayer...in the saying of the name, "Jesus."