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Dummy-Proofed? Showing Myself Grace – Charlaine Martin


(Photo: Unsplash)

Learning to Love Myself As Jesus Does

After we moved into our new home, I purchased an inexpensive cube unit to organize and store supplies in my office. I insisted on putting it together, so my hubby didn’t have to. After all, he took the long, grueling drive north to get his non-operational plane trailered and haul it back to our Florida home. This project should have been a cinch since I put one like it together a few years ago before I met my Boaz. What seemed easy turned into a frustrating headache.

Where Is It?

I took everything out of the box, laying out all the parts organized to make construction easier. I didn’t see any instructions. You’ve got to be kidding! I thought. But I consoled myself with the notion that it shouldn’t be any different than the first one I put together—right? As I attempted to put the top together with a side piece, the screw split through the white painted fiberboard. UGH! I groaned. At least it wasn’t through the outer side of the top. I pulled out a bottle of glue, removed the screw, and glued the split piece back where it belonged. It wasn’t perfect, but at least it would be hidden. As I checked out the other parts, I exclaimed, “This stupid thing is supposed to be dummy-proofed! Why isn’t it clear what part goes where??? Where are the instructions?” I whined. Lord, please, make this project clear.

I returned to the top only to discover that the glue had expanded, foamed, and worsened the split. “OH NO!” Tears began to stream. Lord, I want to get this done, so my Boaz doesn’t have to do it. He will be tired with plenty to do when he gets home. I’ve done this before. What’s wrong with me that I can’t figure it out? Where are the instructions? I prayed. I stacked the pieces by the wall out of the center of the room. When I stood up, I spied something on my bike desk peeking out from under a bag—the instruction booklet! Glancing through it, I decided to tackle it the next day. The time was well after 9 pm. I wanted to start fresh.

Learning to Show Myself Grace
Salvation is by grace, not dummy-proofed.

Success! Fresh starts make a big difference, especially with instructions. It went together much faster, and now I can put my supplies away with my books on top. But during this process, the Lord brought something to my attention.

Dummy-proof versus Reality

As I mentioned before, I’ve put something like this together before. In fact, I bought one for my new apartment after my first husband passed away from cancer. It was my fresh start when I moved to live and work closer to my adult kids. Usually, Don put things together, so I had to carefully read the directions, lay out the parts to identify what they were, and then I could put it together. It took me most of the day, but after correcting a couple of errors–or three–it was up. I felt accomplished!

I remember my mom sitting on the floor tackling a plumbing job, DIY furniture, and whatever else she faced. She was a single mom working two jobs while living on No Doze. Sometimes she cried, cussed, and threw tools around the room, but she eventually succeeded. Rarely did she ask for help, but when she did, the project was way beyond her expertise and strength.

I learned to tackle challenges from her. What I chose not to learn from her was cussing and throwing things. So instead, I cry and talk to God about it. Okay, I whined to God about it. But neither of us was a dummy. This kind of furniture wasn’t designed for dummies or idiots. It was designed for people who didn’t have enough money for something better made. It was designed for single moms, widows, cancer patients, and weary parents who needed something easy to put together, something NOW. It was designed to help make people’s lives easier, people who otherwise couldn’t afford nice furniture or couldn’t build it from scratch, kind of like an easy cake mix versus ingredients with a recipe.

Learning to Show Grace to Myself

Jesus, a Master Carpenter and Creator of All Things, didn’t dummy-proof salvation. He paid for our sins, forgiving us because we couldn’t save ourselves. We didn’t understand. We couldn’t do it, so He chose to forgive us. Jesus showed us grace. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast,” Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV. Grace is an amazing word meaning unmerited favor. We can’t earn it, nor can we do it ourselves. It’s a gift of love.

If Jesus could give me grace, then I realize I should extend grace to myself. I’m not a dummy. I’m just tired from moving. I live with brain fog. What is now didn’t exist the last time I put up the first cube organizer. Besides, God showed grace by pointing out the instruction booklet when I asked. He never said, “You dummy. How could you lose it? Tough luck for you.” No. My Heavenly Father extends grace to me out of His incredible love. I need to care enough about myself to show grace to me, too.

Discussion:

How do you talk to yourself when something you do doesn’t go well? How can you change your self-talk to reflect God’s grace?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Many blessings to you!

Used with permission from Charlaine Martin.

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