Over the last almost 19 years of my life I have had a lot of projects to work on here at my house. We have renovated, repainted, resurfaced, and replaced a lot of stuff. Some of it was fun to do, and some of it was a royal pain, but at the end of the projects I have always been able to look at it and say that it was worth it. Sometimes just barely, but worth it nonetheless.
In reality, I love doing construction and restoration projects. It gives a sense of pride in a job well done, and I usually learn something along the way. I’m currently working on finishing a breezeway for my in-laws, and this has given me an opportunity to play with some wiring I have not done before. It also gave me an opportunity to deal with a big frustration that I have. WASTING TIME
There is nothing more frustrating for me when I am working on a project than when I realize that what I have been doing is wrong and needs to be re-done. That happened on this project last weekend as I had to go back over wiring that was not working properly. I’m not an electrician, but I have done this stuff before and now it isn’t working! It took me about 30 minutes to find that a wire had gotten disconnected as I pushed things back into a box. No harm done, no materials wasted, but time and effort that I can never get back is gone for good.
In building you always lose time with a mistake. You lose the energy that you put into doing something wrong the first time. You often lose materials that were cut to the “right size” for the job. These things each carry their own type of expense. Some of that expense is felt more in one person than it would be in another. The time and effort lost are my biggest frustrations because I tend to take my mistakes apart and try to use them in the future when I have another project, but that still leads to spending more money that I don’t always have.
Avoiding these mistakes requires planning. If I know what I am supposed to do and have thought it out it should go better. I will have a clear vision of what I am going to do and what the finished product should be, and that will minimize a lot of errors. Another thing is to have everyone on the same page. When building with someone else you have to keep those lines of communication open so you don’t end up finding out that one of you was building a treehouse and the other was building an outhouse!
Psalm 127:1 – Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
This verse is not referring to the physical house, but to the household. One is just a shell that holds the other. We get so wrapped up in working on our houses, but how much focus do we put on what we are building inside them? I get so angry when I have to tear out wiring or replace drywall, but do I get equally upset at the wasted time, or efforts (usually a lack of effort) in building into my family?
Sadly, not as angry as I should be, and not often enough. I get wrapped up on something else, and I miss the important things and opportunities. Not as much as I used to, but I still need to improve. I am angry at myself for missing things, for not taking time to talk about important things. I am making changes to try to better use my time and my energy for building into my marriage and my kids.
I’ve started by looking more at the Plan. The time I spend in God’s Word has really opened my eyes to see things that I would have missed before. I’m learning better tools for dealing with my shortcomings, and this will allow me to be a better Dad and Husband. God wants me to build a family that honors Him and brings Him glory. He wants me to raise His children and teach them to love and serve Him with the gifts that He has given them. He wants me to teach them to seek Him in all aspects of their lives by showing them that He is in all aspects of mine! I have about 18 years to do this. Am I wasting time?
I’m looking at other “builders” too. It is good to have friends that are willing to talk about their struggle balancingcareer, marriage,and parenthood. They will share their highs and lows. They give tips on how to achieve similar good results and warnings on how to avoid their failures. This is how God wants us to work! Look to those who have been there and seek the wisdom of those who have been through similar situations.
I only have two kids to work with. (That’s enough!) I have made some mistakes with them, and I won’t be able to fix all of that. No parent can. What I can do though is be honest with them and show them where I have been wrong. I can work with them to repair some of that and give them ideas on how to avoid making that some mistake with their own kids one day. The only waste is in not acknowledging that a mistake was made. We can still learn!
I can’t allow the frustrations over my shortcomings to blind me to the grace God shows me every day. Even when I miss an opportunity to do the right thing as a husband, God has been good to give me a sweet wife who forgives and allows me another opportunity to show her I love her and want to be God’s man for her. My kids are forgiving and see that their Dad loves them in spite of the mistakes he makes, and that he is trying to get better.
I hate working for no reason. God has given me purpose in my life. He has given me a family to lead. I want to lead them to a close relationship with Him. I want God to be the lead builder in my home because I am working with very precious materials here. The margin for error needs to be slim. I’m building with God and His people to build a legacy that honors Him through the family He has given me..