It is what it is.
It was a common phrase in our family as my dad lived with cancer for several years. There were many things that couldn’t be changed. The phrase was a helpful reminder of the difference between what couldn’t be changed and what could. Even if whatever “it” was could not be changed, our reaction certainly could be. We still had options.
Discerning between what can and what cannot be changed (and our reactions to either) minimize the clutter and anxiety. While it is important to understand the unchangeable, we can primarily focus on how to best handle the things that can be chosen.
Perhaps the phrase needs to be expanded: It is what it is, but is it what it could be?
That leads to another common phrase: It’s going to be what it’s going to be. Of course, sometimes that’s true. We’re not going to be able to influence everything, but we’re also not victims in a pipeline that has no flexibility. How we respond matters. How we process matters. How we prioritize matters. Even if our response doesn’t change the final result of a situation, our choice to put forth the effort (or not) to redeem, forgive, sacrifice, withdraw, heal, and so on has an impact. We’re going to get it wrong at times. We’re going to feel as if we’ve wasted effort at times. We’re going to be too lackadaisical at times. But the more we exercise the muscles of intentional engagement and authentic, purposeful response, we’ll grow. We’ll change. We’ll help others.
Let’s do what we can to influence what it is into what it could be in ways that honor God.