We finally had a snow day yesterday! It’s been a snowless winter until now – I was so grateful for a day off work and to myself.
As I puttered around the house, I was thinking back to a blog post I wrote in January about the Women’s March in DC. In it, I shared that in the original language of Genesis 2, the word ‘helpmeet’ – referring to why God created woman – actually translates back to the original Hebrew word ‘ezer’ which means, ‘rescuer, lifesaver and strong power.’ Those words have so much more strength in them than helpmeet. Don’t you agree?
I often share this when I speak – always with the intention of reminding women how much they are valued and treasured by God. I love the ‘whoo-hoo’s’ I hear from the audience when I tell them this world was not complete until we arrived on the scene!
But when thinking about the word ezer yesterday, my mind went in a completely different direction.
The day my mother died, we were all gathered at her house in the evening with family and friends coming by. As you can imagine, after a week holding vigil at the hospital and then with her passing, we were exhausted. There was a bit of family drama going on. You know what I mean – emotions were running high.
My Godparents were among the visitors and witnessed some of the family stress. As they were leaving, and I walked them to the door, my sweet Godfather hugged me and then looked me in the eye and said, “Laura Anne, YOU are the rock.”
He meant this as the kindest compliment and I took it as such. In that moment, he saw me and was conveying that I was strong enough to handle all that was swirling around. I hugged him back, and told him that I learned how to be the rock from my mother.
Next week, it will be two years since that evening.
Over the past 24 months, I have learned so many important truths – far too many to detail here. But as I remembered the word ezer and its meaning, I was reminded of something I’ve learned since mom died..
Often times, our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness.
As Christian women, we have such big hearts. It’s easy for some of us to become very caught up in being the rescuer, the lifesaver and the strong power. We are natural fixers and may feel it is our calling to rescue the lost, hurting and dysfunctional.
We want to help, inspire, cheerlead, figure out the problem and then fix it. Us to the rescue! We can feel responsible to make everything and everyone ok. Sound familiar?
So here is what popped into my mind as I was thinking this through: Don’t be the rock.
There already is a Rock and it isn’t you.
It’s not your job. It isn’t your role and it won’t work anyway.
You can’t rescue anyone – you can’t fix anyone.
And all the helping and cheerleading in the world will never save a single soul.
Don’t be the rock.
Our role as women – as mothers, friends, siblings and lovers is to…
Be an example
And then, keep pointing to the true Rock, the only One who can save and rescue – the strongest power, Jesus.
Only the Creator can fix what He has created.
In psychology lingo, trying to be the rock, the fixer, or the rescuer of people is called co-dependency.
We Christian girls are amazingly skilled at this and we confuse it with love, caring and compassion. But in reality, co-dependency crosses a line and accomplishes just the opposite.
To rescue your child from pain or obstacles is to teach them to be helpless for a lifetime.
To be the lifesaver for an addict is to prolong their addiction and hinder their recovery.
To try to fix everything and make it all ok for everyone is exhausting, keeps you from living in freedom and hear this truth: it will continue into the next generation.
Don’t be the rock.
Our beautiful and powerful attributes, given to us at Creation are not to be used for our own glory, a search for significance or our need for validation. We place ourselves in God’s role when we do that – and that’s always a problem.
We rescue by taking them to the Rescuer.
We help save a life by pointing them to the Lifesaver
We use our strong power, by loving deep and unconditionally with healthy boundaries.
Our true strength is seen when we allow others to experience their own journey and learn their own lessons – and we do the same.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” – Psalm 18:2
Someone already has been given the assignment – and it is not you or me.
Please, please – don’t be the rock.