Ok. I admit it. I am an obsessive DIYer.
And I’m also very intense about it. Therefore, I am educating my children myself, making my own toothpaste, and last week I painted my kitchen cabinets (with the help of my very sweet daddy!).
I reach a point, however, where the intensity runs out. And then I am left feeling completely deplete. I feel like a failure. I start thinking, “What was I thinking?”
People will say to me “Wow! You make your own laundry detergent? That’s awesome/weird/interesting.” Yes. It is. And last week I really wanted to just buy regular laundry detergent so that my clothes would smell like cotton candy instead of like the dirty shoes in my closet. So in my estimation, I am failing because I am, at this time, not loving what I am doing. Yet these are the choices I have made, for good reason, so I shouldn’t be unhappy with them. Right?
It is a confusing process.
And, yes, I was starting to wonder where I was going with this, too.
I dive into just about everything with a tremendous amount of intensity. I have vision of what could be. I can feel my way through a project, and that tells me if I’m on the right track or not. It is intense emotionally, mentally and physically.
So when I feel that I’m off, the guilt/shame/disappointment is also intense. I start to question the very core of who I am, because I put all of myself into what I do. So if what I’ve done is off, then I am off. My very personhood is shaken. I start to question everything.
Enter the gospel.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing.” Ephesians 2:8
I cannot DIY the saving of my soul. I also cannot transform my heart myself. I did not create myself, therefore, there is no chance of me making things right in my world on my own.
I have to call in a professional. I have to go ahead, and admit that I’m not going to find a cheaper way to get it done by doing it myself.
Here is the awesome thing. After calling in the only One who is qualified to completely transform my soul, it still costs me nothing. He paid for it all.
That is utterly astounding. This is not something my intense little personality can wrap itself around. And so I keep trying to find a way to save myself. I keep making lists of the things I need to do to be right with God and then dive into self-help projects only to end up devastated that I couldn’t change me…again.
Why do I do that?
Partly, because I have a fair amount of pride that makes me think I have what it takes to be righteous, and partly, I sometimes lack faith in what Jesus has already done.
Enter the gift of God.
“…it (salvation) is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:9
Receiving gifts is humbling. Every baby shower I had felt awkward because I had to allow everyone to watch me open the gifts they brought. I was so thankful to be so loved, and so humiliated at the same time.
Sometimes, I feel very humiliated to be so in need of God’s grace. It is because I am deeply prideful. I can accept God’s grace sometimes, and sometimes I think, “Well, I used a lot of grace yesterday, so today I’d better try harder to do better on my own.” The intense DIYer kicks in and off I go. Only to end the day intensely disappointed with all the ways I failed.
The result is that my family and friends suffer. Because I have not received grace, I have no grace to give. They bear the brunt of my self-righteous doings and wilt under my ungracious attitude.
We must allow God’s work to take the forefront EVERYDAY. Not just on our worst days, or our extra spiritual days, but also the everyday’s that we feel we have the skill to handle on our own.
I’ll be painfully honest. There are days when God’s grace gives me a fantastic photo opp to post on Instagram, but that’s all I use it for. Jesus help me!
My prayer for you today, is that you will humble yourself enough to receive God’s grace. I pray that your knack at self-sufficiency will not keep you from the salvation you desperately need from yourself, and that you cannot DIY. May today be a day that you ask God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:1-6 ESV