“Fix it ’til it’s broke”

People are the way they are for a reason.

I took a test a few weeks ago. The kind I love — asking lots of questions about me.

The is called Strengthsfinder. And I’m completely fascinated by it.

I do realize we aren’t all the same. But when I saw the results of the test, my 5 (out of 34 possibilities) key strengths startled me, and yet I knew right away that it was spot on.  Except for one.

My number one strength is called Strategic. And 3 of my 5 strengths fall into the Strategic Thinker category.

I was discussing this with a co-worker and telling her how funny I thought it was. I just am not that person. Little old me, part-time writer who majored in Literature — not business — a strategic mastermind? We laughed about it and made up other less flattering words for our strengths. But then she asked me if it was true of me anywhere else in my life. How about at home?

Hmmm.

Here’s another way to put it:

A strategic thinker tends to love to read or discuss things, to learn. They observe the past to learn its lessons, or live in the future. They assess something and find what’s wrong with it and then can come up with 50 ways to fix it.

So how does a person like me: fairly reserved, not a jump-in-and-be-decisive-take-the-reigns kind of a gal and content-to-be-part-time-employee-so as to-balance-the-rest-of-her-life, get an outcome on a test like that?

Years and years of practice.

20 years, maybe more, of coming up with ways to fix my life.

This strength has been honed in me out of necessity and survival. Because my life fell apart every six months.

That’s how long it was between discovering relapses. If I didn’t suck it up and figure out a way to fix it, I’d have been more of a basket case than I was.

When Dave resorted to old patterns, so did I. Find out about a debt. Blow up. Threaten. Despair. Pray. Cry. . . Suck it up. And figure out a way to recover financially.

I took him off the bank account. I monitored every move. I flushed pills. I badgered him with questions. Checked in constantly. Looked for jobs for him, new places to live for us. Balanced and rebalanced the budget. Made him sign contracts. Fixing, fixing, fixing.

20 years of fixing Dave . . .

. . . and a lifetime of fixing myself. Going to Bible studies. Reading the right books. Studying for hours on end. Obsessing over the latest methods of housekeeping, child-rearing, wife-being. Working overtime to measure up.

I was so focused on the wrong thing. . .

. . . focused on a surface that was turning rapidly to dust.

6 thoughts on ““Fix it ’til it’s broke”

  1. Hi Deb…. reading your post, a question comes to mind… If not fixing things, what do you feel would have been more effective to do?

    I too have had fixers in my life. Most of them came close to burning themselves out. Some of them didnt know how to relate to me when I wasn’t in crisis. The dynamic became that well-rehearsed. We only knew the crisis/fixer dance.

    So what would you say an alternative would have been… or what are you doing differently this time?

    Ciao.

    Chaz

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    1. The short, generic answer is: I’ve learned boundaries. I started stepping back and letting a lot of things fall apart (which requires a massive amount of support and self-sacrifice because this also involves some exposure). But there is a much, much longer answer. And it isn’t so cut and dry. Because too many times boundaries can be just as detrimental and un-Christlike as fixing and enabling. Stay tuned! There is so, so much more to come.

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  2. Can’t wait for the “more”. Your blog is like a good book that only comes out a chapter at a time and I’m always anxious and hungry for the next bite and I know if it came out all at once I’d gobble it all up like a glutton. (I can make almost any life circumstance into a food analogy) I’m also curious about that test and am going to take it.

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  3. Your statement “I was so focused on the wrong thing…” Reminds me of Martha and Jesus: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” I, myself, have always identified with Martha more than Mary, and I feel the sting of the Lord’s gentle rebuke every time I read that passage. Recently, however, I learned that Martha’s story doesn’t end there. Our family attended “Camp High Rock” a ministry camp for children of the Yakama Nation. This year’s theme was “Victory in Jesus”. Our last study was on Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead–his victory over death. As I was reading through the passage with “my” kids, it struck me that Martha, busy, rebuked Martha, was the sister who responded with greater faith: “…But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Martha had found her own personal victory! I think she must have humbled herself before her Lord and repented, and God blessed her with greater faith. I’m so glad Martha’s story didn’t end with Luke 10:42! I’m glad to be a Martha!

    Love,
    Janet

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