How many times have you heard those words?  How many times have you said those words?  What is meant by “it is what it is?”

Sometimes those words express resignation.  You can hear it in the voice.  You can see it in the facial expression and body language.  Somebody has decided that it is what it is and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Sometimes those words express acceptance.  While some may see resignation and acceptance as synonymous, I believe there is a slight difference.  Acceptance means that I need to take off my rose colored glasses and see things as they really are.  It does not necessarily mean that I must resign myself to the fact that the situation can never change.

I wonder what would happen if we began to view “it is what it is” as a challenge?  We could be honest enough to accept things as they are, but refuse to resign ourselves to them staying that way.

We could roll up our sleeves and get to work to make positive changes.  We could use our time, our talents, and our energies in an effort to make things better than they are now.  The goal would not be to improve things to satisfy ourselves.  The goal would be to seek to satisfy our Creator.

After all, what would have happened if, after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God would have said, “It is what it is?”  What if He then would have turned His back on them and all of their descendants?

Let me suggest a few more “what ifs” —

  • What if our Lord would have had enough of the rejection He experienced while He was on the earth and said, “It is what it is?” What if He would have refused to go to the cross?
  • What if somebody had looked at you or me when we were lost and said, “It is what it is,” and would have never cared enough to teach us the gospel of Christ?
  • What if an eldership of a local congregation would take an honest look at how things really are (acceptance)?  What if they refused to resign themselves to the idea that the congregation could never do more to serve the Lord?  What if they would dream of and plan for how things could be with God’s help?
  • What if every Christian adopted the philosophy of Paul as expressed in 1 Cor. 15:10.  He did not use the phrase “it is what it is.”   He did use one very similar.  I wonder if each of us could express the same sentiments as his when he wrote:


For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1 Cor. 15:9-10 NKJV).


Jim Faughn