Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
It Is What It Is

It Is What It Is


I have a friend who is fond of saying, “It is what it is.” She makes this observation when faced with unpleasant circumstances or situations outside of her control.

I confess, that statement has always bothered me. What’s the point? The phrase states the obvious, adding nothing new to the conversation. Or does it?

I’ve recently found that same phrase slipping out of my own mouth on several occasions. It is what it is. And I’ve realized that this isn’t just stating the obvious. It’s an admission of recognition. Recognition that I can’t control the situation, but I can control my response to it. I can release anger or frustration because those emotions aren’t going to change the circumstances, and may even make things worse. And I can accept that I’m not responsible for anyone other than myself. Still, it is what it is can leave me feeling helpless—under the circumstances with no way out.

Which brings me to God’s name.


In the book of Exodus, when Moses asked God His name, the Lord responded, “Yahweh,” a name that has been translated as “I AM Who I AM” (Ex. 3:14). God is the holy One who is not dependent on anyone or anything. And I certainly cannot control Him!

When I acknowledge that He is who He says He is I am admitting my own limitations. He is God, I am not.

But this is not a reluctant admission. It’s an admission of joy mixed with relief. When my problems seem insurmountable, I remember He is who He says He is . . . and that is more than enough for whatever I’m facing. No matter how bad the situation, it will always be under the sovereignty of God.

“It is what it is” has the potential for despair. “He is who He says He is” provides rest and peace.

I know what my choice is. What’s yours?



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  1. Nancy E. Head

    I love this post. I also have a friend who has passed “It is what it is” along to me. She is such a faithful example in her acknowledgement that God is sovereign, and we must deal with what we cannot control. Thanks for the reinforcement. God bless!

  2. Yvonne Morgan

    “It is what it is” has the potential for despair. “He is who He says He is” provides rest and peace. I love this thought. I think I will print it out to hang on my fridge as a reminder on how to face our uncertain times. Thanks for sharing Ava.

  3. Melissa Henderson

    Yes, yes. He is who He says He is. That truth brings comfort.

  4. Melinda Viergever Inman

    I love this post, Ava! Wow! Knowing that “He is who He is” certainly makes it easier, safer, wiser, and less lonely when dealing with a hard situation that “is what it is.” He’s with us in it.

  5. Jessica Brodie

    That phrase (it is what it is) has always bothered me, too!! But when it comes to God, that’s the 100% truth and He is who HE IS… the great “I Am.” Thank you for this, Ava! I love your writing.

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