I’ve found myself in some pretty awkward positions but I think this one is my best yet.
I was given this beautiful Hawaiian wood table and although I couldn’t use it as a dining table, I had the brilliant idea to use it in my office. I thought it would make a wonderful combination art workstation and a computer desk. Accept that the table has a border that encircles the edge that blocks the use of a keyboard tray. I thought I could easily maneuver around this obstacle by adjusting my chair and placing the keyboard on the top of the table. Nope, that didn’t work and I have the shoulder pain to validate its failure.
And this is where the awkward position comes in. I found myself under the table, upside down, a small jigsaw in hand trying to cut a piece out of the table’s border to accommodate the bracket for my keyboard tray. I was rehearsing the instructions I thought my dad would provide, “Hold your saw straight but not too tight, cut in a straight line, and don’t force your saw blade.” Everything seemed to be going well until it wasn’t. The blade broke and I hadn’t made any progress in what I would later learn was some of the hardest wood known to trees. I placed a second blade in my saw and when that one also snapped, my Dad’s voice rang clear, “You need some help.” Laying on the ground, under the table, hands raised above me in a posture of surrender, I listened to Dad, crawled out from under the table, and whispered to the dog, “I can’t do this on my own.”
It’s so funny how our awkward situations help inform us about the condition of our hearts. I wanted to do this seemingly easy project to surprise my husband, and possibly prove to myself, that I am capable of facing hardwoods, in awkward places. But what I learned is that sometimes I need an extra set of hands, some stronger tools, and actual physical encouragement not a voice in my head.
My husband came home and inquired how my day had gone. I had to admit I ran into some struggles with a project I tried to conquer on my own. And as I walked him into my office, he noticed the tools lying on the rug, all covered in sawdust. He looked at me, then back at the rug, and said sweetly, “Right tool brings success.” It appears that my small jigsaw was not the right tool for hardwood, oh did I mention the saw was over 50 years old? It was my Dad’s and always brings childhood memories of him working in his shed. To this day I remember the smell of freshly cut wood, but I digress. My husband observed the cuts I had attempted to make and in his encouraging way offered, “Nice job, now let’s finish it.” After a few days’ delay, we had to purchase the right tool for the job, and after eating a few servings of humble pie, my office workstation was complete. The keyboard tray sits nicely affixed to the table top and my shoulders are making a slow and steady recovery. Dad would be proud!
But what about that heart condition? The one that causes me to attempt hard things on my own and that lands me in awkward positions – often sprawled out on the floor. I am slowly learning that at some time, or perhaps someone, in my life offered me a lie and I believed it. It went something like this, your value is built on what you achieve, so go after it – alone. Because achieving it alone demonstrates your strength and capabilities. I successfully built a career from this type of thinking. I forged a reputation on this belief. I grew exhausted from this type of pressure. And each time I’ve found myself upside down or inside out or stuck without a solution, a little voice needles me about my worth and value.
But it’s a lie!
And here is the culminating reality of all those life moments, I am not what I do, achieve, my physical strength, or the illusion I tried to create to fit in. I am my Father’s daughter and that reality allows me to walk free from the demands that shackled and entangled me. And even when I’m lying prone on the ground, that heart-felt lie trying to take hold, I hear my Father’s voice say, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5) And that truth gives me hope, a suite of heavenly tools to conquer the difficult, divine courage to face the hard our world offers. I can’t do it alone and neither can you.
So, where are you today? I hope you aren’t stuck under a table or under the weight of a lie that keeps you believing you must earn your value to maintain your worth. I would encourage you to listen for your Father’s voice, grab hold of his outstretched hand, and believe you are the valued, cherished, and beloved daughter he has designed you to be.
Remember, you don’t have to do this alone.