I should start this by saying I’m the mom of a 6-year-old. And I watch cartoons with her. So, since God meets us right where we are, it only makes sense that this post is brought to you courtesy of an episode of Doc McStuffins, right? (Not even kidding.)
So here’s the skinny. Doc McStuffins is a doctor to stuffed animals & toys. When she’s alone, all her toys & stuffed animals come to life and one of them always has an injury or illness that she fixes. On this particular episode, there is an adventuresome, capable princess who decides to leave the tower of her castle by repelling down the side (with a helmet on of course, because we have to be safe…and realistic). But the gallant knight Sir Kirby will have no part of it. He rushes away to get his trusty horse to “rescue” the princess whom he believe is in danger.
The Princess successfully and safely reaches the ground only to be scooped up by Sir Kirby and thrown over the back of his horse and off they go. At about this point, I went to the laundry room or started doing dishes or started cooking something…who knows really and didn’t see any more of the story. But knowing how these stories go, I’m fairly certain that either Sir Kirby or the Princess or both of them ended up with some sort of injury that had to be fixed. Because one person (or toy) thought another person (or toy) needed rescuing.
That got me thinking. How often do we rush to the “rescue” of someone only to do more damage than good? How often do we need to be the fixer or the hero and rob someone of an opportunity to learn or grow? It’s human nature, I think, to want to protect those we love. And sometimes the hardest thing to do is sit back and not rescue.
But how many growth opportunities and learning opportunities would we miss? I remember being 23 and single and telling my parents that I was pregnant with my son. I had been “on my own” for about 1 year and a half. But had a ridiculous amount of growing up to do. I remember my parents, and a short time later my grandparents, promising to support me through whatever this uncertain time in my life held. But in a very loving nutshell, they let me know that this messiness of life was my messiness. And mine to own and mine navigate through. They would be there to listen, to encourage me, to give advice, to pray for me. But I wouldn’t be rescued from my mess. I know, especially for my mom, there had to be times where she just wanted to ride in on the white horse and rescue me away. But she didn’t. And from day one, I’ve been grateful that no one rescued me. That hard, unpredictable time was a beautiful tool that God used to shape and mold me and grow me.
I remember when Payne was learning to tie his shoes. Any parent who has gone through this knows that the patience of Job may not be enough to get you through waiting for your child to tie shoes. There was a day that we were in a particular hurry and completely lost my patience waiting. I went over and told him to just let me do it so that we could leave. I’ll never forget him looking at me and saying, “Mom, if you don’t let me do it myself, I’ll never learn.” So much wisdom from such a young child.
Sometimes watching those we love go through something hard is like watching our kids learn how to tie their shoes. We can fix it faster. We know what they need to do. But they’ll never actually learn what they need to learn to actually tie their own shoes if we keep doing the work. That person that you love so dearly that is really struggling with life right now? They don’t need you to rescue them. They need you to pray for them. Because you can’t save them, but God can rescue and restore and make beautiful things. They don’t need you to fix what you see as a mess. Because God has a plan for that mess that you’ll likely only get in the way of.
That person? She doesn’t need your rescuing. He doesn’t need you to save him. You can’t do it anyway. All of those things that you want to accomplish for that person? God wants more and better. Let HIM do the saving and rescuing in HIS way.