Last fall I tried to tile my bathroom, not exactly an easy job for an amateur. To be honest, I’d be lucky to tile a Scrabble board. The project ended in total disaster, so I had to call in Miles who work with tiles (no kidding) to come and save the day. If the opposite of a handy man is an unhandy man, that would be me, Unhandy Manny. All of my hard work had been totally pointless. I was completely exhausted with nothing to show for my effort except a bill and a sore back.
I’ve come to expect this when it comes to home improvement, but it’s really frustrating when this happens in other areas of my life.
Have you ever found yourself in a season where you’re exhausted, but you just can’t seem to get anything done? It’s like no matter how much you work, you feel like you’re just treading water. If you’re like me, maybe it’s because you’re running ahead of God.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builder labor in vain . . .
In vain you rise up early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat-
for He grants sleep
to those He loves.
Whether I’m working at my job, on my friendships or on my home life, there are times when I’m really taking time to let God lead me. I’m carving out time to ask Him, “What next?” and to trust His timing. I’m letting Him empower me to do life.
Other times, not so much. Other times, I’m just busy. I hate busy. Busy kills my soul, and ironically, I don’t get nearly as much done as when I slow down and invite God to lead my day. I guess God is kind of like Miles who works with tiles, an expert craftsman who comes in and bails me out when I’ve reached the end of myself.
Recently, I participated in one of the great rites of daddyhood, watching my daughter’s first dance recital. Totally uninhibited, she and the other “budding ballerinas” frolicked, jumped and twirled to the Little Mermaid’s “Under the Sea.” After months of rehearsal, they did what any preschooler would do — whatever they wanted. At times the choreography went right out the window as they simply played to the music.
Sure, they didn’t hit every step they were supposed to, but, of course, none of us cared. We were swept up in the joy that gushed from the stage.
They had the entire auditorium eating out of their hands and no one more so than me. When Emma came off stage, I gave her a dozen red roses and told her how beautifully she’d danced.
But imagine if my reaction had been different.
Imagine if I’d yelled at her for all of her missed dance steps, if I’d corrected every mistake and told her how disappointed I was that she hadn’t danced flawlessly. What if I’d berated her for not being as skilled as the teenage dancers who followed her act?
Of course, I wouldn’t do that. What kind of father would? And yet, isn’t that how we often think of God? A critical heavenly Father who we can never please? A taskmaster who is constantly disappointed with our every misstep? How many of us believe that God even likes us? That, in fact, He loves us and sees us with the same eyes of grace as a dad watching his preschool daughter dance?
I wonder how differently I would dance the steps of my life if I were convinced of God’s absolute goodwill toward me. I know this fact in my head, but some days it just doesn’t make it to my heart. What would change if I truly believed that my life is a performance for an audience of One, and that this one person completely adored me?
Other opinions and criticism would melt away. I would laugh freely, give generously, risk fearlessly. I would dare great acts of goodness. I wouldn’t dwell on failure. I wouldn’t obsess about the future. I would simply dance with joy.
Do you hear that? It’s applause. And it’s for you. It has nothing to do with your skill, your achievement or even your moral perfection. It’s coming from a Father who delights in you.
So, what are you waiting for? Now is your time to dance.