I don't know about you, but I'm a DIY-er.
I love projects.
Pretty much any opportunity to be creative, I'm all for it! I relate this to watching a lot of HGTV and Food Network. Gosh, don't even get me started on First Time Flippers. One of the best. Binge-worthy, I'd say.
It's always more entertaining watching others' courage slip into the agony of the unknown than experiencing it yourself. My favorite line from an episode -
"Measure once...hardware store twice." - a very frustrated and tired first time flipper
I identify with these five little words. It's so unbelievably frustrating!
I can't tell you how many times I've walked into Home Depot with this one thought, "Orange, orange, orange - where art thou orange? If I can just find that handy man or woman in the orange vest, they'll know exactly what I need and where to find it."
Whether painting, tiling, installing new countertops, landscaping, planning a trip, creating a new recipe, tackling a new module at work, or even writing a book, my response is more often than not, "How tough could it be?"
Truth is. Tough. Really tough.
Or sometimes, I may be fully aware of the difficulty before me and readily recognize how incredibly in over my head I am, but I use this little phrase as a way to calm my nerves. It seems to help.
I'm constantly asking this question because I'm one of those who craves a good challenge. I'm motivated by learning something new. You plan, research, and prepare, but then you just gotta dive on in!
Sometimes have you noticed how we can take things that are really good things in and of themselves, such as work ethic and optimism, and it becomes our weakness? Let me tell ya what I mean by this.
When things seem to be getting a little out of control, my natural tendency is to rely on my strengths - optimism, work ethic. I begin to think "Okay, I've got this" while I strategically plan the next step.
And the thing is, I'm relying on my own strength instead of God's. It's me saying, "I've got this. I don't need You."
Couldn't be further from the truth.
When I rely on my own strength, I end up exhausted. As my sister and I often say, it's time to "assume the position." Which means, feet up on the couch for a few minutes.
Unless of course, you fall asleep, and then it may be an hour or two.
If there's one thing passed through the Cofer genetics, it's the ability to take a good nap. And I believe it's Biblical, too.
...for he gives to his beloved sleep. - Psalm 127:2
What does this tell me?
I am well loved!
Anyway, back to doing things in my own strength...
DIY - So Overrated
My natural tendency of "I've got this," pushes the repeat button and I end up replaying these words in my head again and again until I start to believe it. Whether consciously or not, I start to convince myself I don't need others either.
Wow. I know. Not a proud confession.
Friendship with wise counsel during that season opened my eyes to see this within me. She encouraged me to reach out to someone in my circle and simply say, "Hey, I could really use a good friend right now. When you think of me, can you give me a call or a text? It would really mean a lot."
I didn't bat an eye before blurting out, "Oh no. I would NEVER say that!"
Surprised, she helped me unpack the reasons why. Truth was, I would never do that because I didn't want to seem too needy or possibly be a burden on someone, even if it was someone who deeply cared about me.
To me, texting someone a message like that would be like a 10 on the vulnerable rating scale, and I was probably at a 3 or 4 at that time. So obviously, I didn't jump to that the next day, but I slowly began to recognize this in myself.
I realized I would keep things to myself, dismissing it as something I just had to get through, not wanting others to be worried about me.
Thing is, those closest to me were already worried about me. Keeping it to myself didn't diminish their worry; it enlarged it. Opening up and letting others in brought a little more peace and understanding to all of us and opened a door of healing for me.
So yes, I can adamantly say, I need others.
And you do, too.
Why Is This?
Maybe your path isn't just like mine, but I bet it's safe to say we all let insecurity keep us from genuine connection.
And there's no doubt why this is. You see, if the enemy can trap us in insecurity, he knows we'll stay isolated.
God works through people. So much so - He sent His own Son to be with us so He could have relationship and connection with us. Our sin had gotten in the way.
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. - 1 John 4:9
He's a God of relationships. And we're made in His image!
If relationship is part of His character, it's part of us, too. We were made, hard-wired, for community and people!
Brace yourself for a second. If you're standing, you may want to sit down for this. I'll speak as gently as possible on this one...
If we start to put two and two together on this, we realize the harm we're allowing ourselves when we feed the do-it-yourself mentality within us.
If we know God works through people, then pushing others out means we are actually pushing God out.
Eek. Yeah, I feel ya. That sickening feeling like you just got punched in the stomach...
Sometimes we may feel there's no use opening up to another because they'll never understand. And maybe, they haven't walked the exact path you have, but in my experience, my courage to open up has always been met with en-courage-ment.
Courage building upon courage!
I use the little courage I have to take the first step, then another listens or connects or speaks truth to me, and I am given a little more courage.
This continues and continues and soon, the thing I was so scared to speak about no longer holds that power over me.
I'm set free!
Freedom is the gospel at work, my friend.
So yes, we need community.
One of my pastors would often say, "Everyone needs counseling. Some just don't realize it yet."
Preach! And if you're like me, you know you need it but may be intimidated to take the next step and let the buried, not-so-good parts of you be known.
I don't know your story or the things keeping you from connection and community, but I know it's time to take that next step. Maybe it's reaching out to a friend and having a vulnerable, real moment over lunch or coffee. Maybe it's reaching out to a counselor.
My first time meeting with a counselor, I said, "I feel really silly being here."
I guess "silly" was the only word I could come up with in the moment. But she knew what I meant. She graciously replied, "It's never silly, Candace."
And she's right. If it's affecting you - no matter how big or small it may seem, it's worth unpacking.
So, I'm going to tell you the same thing. It's never silly, [insert your name].
Praying for you, friend, as you take this next brave step. Remember, you don't have to do it yourself. We can offer up a simple prayer for help and invite Jesus into our days and we can ask others to come alongside us and help us through.
God wants to heal us and remake us, but we have to choose to let Him in and let others in, too. As much as I love DIY projects around the house, this do-it-yourself mentality is not for matters of the heart or faith.
Full restoration. That's what our God is all about, and He works through people. Salvation comes from above and healing comes through His people.
Friend, that's what I want for you.
To be known.
You can be healed and be freed...
and let's DIT - Do It Together!
Call that friend. Make that appointment. And, find rest in being known.
We were made for community. It strengthens us to be around others who are imperfect but pursuing righteousness together. We find joy in the transformation and peace in the renewal and belonging. We find rest in communion with the Trinity and those God has put around us.
P.s. All this courage talk reminds me of how I almost didn't get a kayak because I was unsure if I'd be able to load it myself. So hours of research later, I ordered my first kayak, and then a couple months later, I got the tandem. (We call him the "Party-ak" because it's sure to be a good time!)
Sharing tips for loading and storing a kayak in this quick video. Whatever it is for you, let's not let fear hold us back from trying new things and living in community with others!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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