Unhandy Manny

I’m not exactly what you would call handy around the house.  I can paint.  Maybe hang a picture or two.  Anything bigger than that puts me on thin ice.  But somewhere along the way in my flawed education, a well-meaning teacher gave me the wrong impression that I can learn how to do anything just by reading a book.  It’s given me this crazy, false confidence that if I can just find the right book or website, I can figure out how to do pretty much anything on my own. 

Fix the toilet?  No problem.  Install a ceiling fan?  Child’s play.  Add a wing onto the house?  Why not?

Last fall we needed to retile our bathroom, not exactly an easy job for an amateur.   But I figured, hey, how hard could it really be?  I bought a book which explained the whole process in clear, simple steps.  It looked like any monkey with some grout could slap this thing together.  So I went to Lowe’s, bought all of my supplies and took a day off of work to knock it out.

Fast forward to 24 hours later, and imagine what a house would look like if the incredible Hulk had just gone postal in the bathroom.   I had worked non-stop, attempted to do everything just as the book had said and still wasn’t even close to finishing.  Not to mention the fact that what I did accomplish looked pretty crummy. 

I was desperate, so I called in someone who actually knew what he was doing.  I found a guy named Miles who work with tiles (no kidding) to come and save the day.   In a sickeningly short amount of time, Miles came over and did a perfect job.  I both loved him and despised him. 

Mainly, I loved him.  What a relief to have it done and done right.

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, and you 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. 

The Bible says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builder labor in vain . . . He grants sleep to those He loves.”  In other words, life is much better with God doing the heavy lifting instead of me making a lame attempt on my own. 

Whether I’m working at my job, on my friendships, or on my home life, there are moments when I genuinely take the time to let God lead me.  I carve out time to ask Him, “What next?” and trust His timing.  I actually let Him empower me to do life His way. 

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.

The Official Guide to Magic Moments

I was so excited about our trip to Walt Disney World that as soon as we’d scheduled it, I ran right out and bought a travel guide to help me plan our trip.  I’d never been to Disney so I wanted to make the most of every second we were there.  When you go to the bookstore, though, you’ll find about five million guidebooks to the Disney parks, official, unofficial and everything in between.  I think it took more time to pick the book than we actually spent at the Magic Kingdom.

But, finally, my diligent search paid off.  I found a guidebook that had this incredible touring schedule that would allow me take advantage of traffic patterns and hit the attractions in just the right order to wait in the shortest lines.  It was a masterpiece of efficiency. 
Unlike the uneducated masses, I now had in my possession valuable insider information that would maximize every precious minute in Orlando. 
I’m not going to lie to you.  It wouldn’t be easy.  I told my wife that we’d have to minimize time-wasters like bathroom breaks and meals.  But if were committed, if we stayed on schedule, we would be pack in about three weeks worth of magical memories into five days. 
Isn’t that what vacations are all about?