DIY Fail…

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“Waterworks,” © 2019 Lynn Abbott Studios

© 2019 Lynn Abbott

My husband and I enthusiastically tackle DIY projects.  And over the years, we have saved a lot of money doing home projects ourselves instead of hiring someone else to complete those improvements.

We make a good team.

But periodically, our projects don’t work out the way we envision.

Maybe you can relate.

Indeed. Such has been the case with the garden located in the side yard,  behind our driveway.

Oh, it is truly a beautiful space.  No arguments ’bout that.  However, its location can sometimes present unique challenges.

You see, our home sits below street level.  Thus, a tremendous amount of run off rushes down our driveway and into the garden during the inevitable east coast, summer thunderstorms.

Swampy puddles tend to form.  For this reason, my husband and I decided to tackle a DIY engineering project this past summer.  Our goal?  We aimed to redirect the water run-off with a drainage system.

After much digging and placing of drainage pipes, we eagerly awaited the next storm… anticipating a test run of our drainage fix.

Yup.  You guessed it.  Epic fail.

The water rushed down the hill and around our garden shed.  Although we certainly redirected the drainage, we did not achieve our objective.

Unfortunately, our DIY attempt simply replaced our old concerns with new puddles and boggy spaces closer to the house.

Uh, huh. Some projects require expertise that your typical DIY-er does not possess.  We were no exception.

Obviously, we were in over our heads.

Oh, sure… We worked hard.

However, our abilities fell short.   Despite our American spirit of ingenuity and independence, we discovered that experts can often accomplish tasks with less expense and pain than we can.

I guess we learned the hard way:  our engineering is only successful if we follow time-tested principles and wisdom.

We were in over our heads.

I suspect such stories are not uncommon among people. Our fiercely independent natures want to give a task our best shot.

What a lot of grief we could avoid if we were only to ask for help in the first place!

I guess that’s why I love the Old Testament so much; the saints of old struggled in much the same way I do.

Although the details of their daily lives differ from mine,  human nature remains much the same.   It’s pretty predictable, in fact.

As I studied the book of Deuteronomy recently, I read God’s commands for Israel’s life in the Promised Land.  God gave detailed principles for daily personal life, worship and government to His people.

But what caught my attention were the commands that anticipated His people’s demanding second best.  You see, God intended to directly lead His people and promised to speak to His people through a prophet like Moses,(Deuteronomy 18:14-20).

Yet, our omniscient Savior also knew that the day would come when His people would demand a human king.

My husband and I learned the hard way.  Our work is only successful if we follow time-tested principles and wisdom.

They would wish to “DIY” their government.  Understanding humanity’s sinful and rebellious nature, God thus made provision for their eventual demands in Deuteronomy 17.

God’s people were not to approach their government or choose their leader in a willy-nilly sort of way.  You betcha. If you are going to tackle life, it is crucial to follow the directions of our Divine Creator.

As I think of my own failed DIY life-projects, I recall Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake for nothing.”

Unless the LORD builds the house…

Without our Creator’s expert guidance, you and I will likely find ourselves in a boggy mess.

Unfortunately, Israel’s kings often failed to follow God’s directions.  And this proved true from the very outset.

Israel’s first king, Saul, was a populist choice.  Tall, handsome and seemingly humble, Saul’s selection made human sense.

Yet, Saul did not base his reign on the counsel of God.  Again and again, we read that he impatiently followed his own wisdom rather than waiting on God.  He repeatedly disobeyed God’s commands.

Demonstrating a general lack of faith in God, Saul regularly acted upon his own understanding.  On one occasion, rather than waiting for the prophet Samuel to arrive, Saul disobeyed God and arrogantly offered up the burnt offering before battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 13:8-10; 13).

Later, after victory in battle against the Amalekites, he failed to destroy the spoils as God had commanded him; instead, he allowed his men to loot the enemy’s camp.  And rather than repent, Saul simply made excuses.

Yes, as we build our lives, it is vital to read the Manufacturer’s directions; to listen to the Master Builder, our Creator-God.

Samuel, God’s prophet, had to remind Saul that “to obey is better than sacrifice,” (1 Samuel 15:22).

But Saul’s life demonstrated a pattern of wilful disobedience and more closely aligned with the modern proverb, “Better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.”

God replies, “Not so.”    He places parameters to insure our success.

Yet, again and again, Saul chose to ignore God’s principles.  I can almost hear Saul singing with Sinatra, “I did it my way…”

Thus, just as God promised, when Saul’s reign closed, his son did not rise to the throne (1 Sam 15:28).

As a matter of fact, the house of Saul crumbled.    The once popular leader spent the remainder of his reign mired in mud.

Saul persisted in following his own counsel rather than God’s time-tested principles.

The result? A predictable, Epic Fail.

God’s Word, in fact, gives a variety of commands that are designed to protect us from our propensity to stray from His wisdom and Truth.

If we will only heed His Word, its principles will yield success, (Joshua 1:8).

Fortunately for you and me, when we do stray, God has graciously provided for our restored relationship with Him through Christ’s work on the cross (1 John 1:9).

As did the Prodigal Son, we have only to acknowledge our rebellious self-direction and return home to our Heavenly Father.

Without our Creator’s expert guidance, you and I will likely find ourselves in a boggy mess.

The story of Israel’s DIY government would be the ultimate tragedy if it ended with Saul.  However, Grace redeemed the heartbreak of Israel’s history.  God is always faithful even though His people may wander, (2 Timothy 2:13).

And through the line of an imperfect but God-honoring shepherd boy, God not only provided for the redemption of His people but for all  those who place their trust in Christ.

That’s right. Where human DIY fails, God’s Grace wins every time.  God waits for you and me.

It is true that at times we all go astray (Isaiah 53: 6). Yet, through Christ, we may humbly return and walk with our God (1 John 1:9).

And once more, Abba guides and directs our lives–the engineering of our water works–and crowns us with success, (Psalm 103:1-5).

The Master Builder offers us His perfect blueprint: In His Word, we will discover his plan for ultimate success, (Joshua 1:8).

And when it really comes down to it, I would rather learn from the Master than stumble through life the hard way.  Yes, experience has taught me that “doing it myself” frequently lands me in a muddy mess.

For this reason, I choose to follow Joshua’s example and boldly claim, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” (Joshua 24:15b).

“‘Therefore, every one who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock,'” ~Matthew 7:24

“Those who love Thy law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble,” ~Psalm 119:165

 

Yes, I’m back… albeit only part-time. See explanation at conclusion of my immediately previous post, here.  So delighted to “see” you again! Warmly, Lynn

65 Replies to “DIY Fail…”

  1. My DIY projects while not as ambitious produce similar results. 🙂
    So much better to follow God’s plan in life, but even if we divert, He is there to pick up the pieces however painful the process might be

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  2. Hilarious and oh how I can relate because I am married to a man who is all about doing it himself despite my observations that perhaps this project is actually beyond our capabilities— yet I’ll give it to him-he usually surpasses my expectations— and yet we do have the Master planner and builder who despite any trepidation on our parts is always successful 😇

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  3. I haven’t read one of your posts in a while Lynn. I’m glad to be back. I really enjoyed reading this especially when you said, “You see, God intended to directly lead His people and promised to speak to His people through a prophet like Moses…”

    I agree with you about how God intended to lead Hos people. One of my favorite quotes from you post is: “If you are going to tackle life, it is crucial to follow the directions of our Divine Creator.” We as Christians and as human beings love to do our own thing but if we are to follow God; we MUST first follow His directions.

    Some of the other quotes I liked from your post include but not limited to:

    1). “Without our Creator’s expert guidance, you and I will likely find ourselves in a boggy mess.”

    2). “Yes, as we build our lives, it is vital to read the Manufacturer’s directions; to listen to the Master Builder, our Creator-God.”

    3). ““Better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.”
    God replies, “Not so.”    He places parameters to insure our success.”

    4). “God’s Word, in fact, gives a variety of commands that are designed to protect us from our propensity to stray from His wisdom and Truth.”

    5). “… when we do stray, God has graciously provided for our restored relationship with Him through Christ’s work on the cross (1 John 1:9).”

    6). “Abba guides and directs our lives–the engineering of our water works–and crowns us with success, (Psalm 103:1-5).”

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    1. Oh, Josh… you are not only a superb blogger but you also leave the most thoughtful and encouraging comments! What a blessing to our entire community of blogging friends you are! I’m so glad that you are back…I know your studies are very demanding. We’re just happy to see you and read your wise posts whenever you have time to blog!! God bless you, my amazing and Spirit-filled friend!

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  4. Excellent! I especially love how you contrasted “to obey is better than sacrifice” with “Better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.” The human condition in a nutshell!

    On your DIY — maybe you guys could install a water feature! 🙂

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  5. Happy to find your post in my inbox! I fear I can relate all too well to this post! Great weaving of DIY lessons with those of Deuteronomy and Samuel! You are a master at more than painting, my friend! XO

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    1. Aww… you are way too good to me, dearest Vicki! I only write what God reveals to me during my daily readings in His Word. And He reveals a lot because I need much help! 😀 Thank you with all my heart for your kind words!! Your friendship has long been a treasured gift! I thank God for you! ❤ and hugs!!

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  6. Ah welcome back Lynn!!!! You’ve been missed. My impatient nature doesn’t allow me to do DIYs. My husband isn’t a handyman either except it’s something to do with IT which is his area of expertise. I wish i could use my hands more but the more i try the more i get frustrated. So well done to you and your husband.

    I have found myself drowning as i tried taking care of my cares instead of casting them on Him. I am learning daily to keep casting and never rely on my understanding because i truly don’t know as much as i think i know.

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    1. Ahhh… an IT expert! That is certainly a blessing for you! And quite frankly, it is probably more valuable in this world than handyman skills. So, I am in awe of you and your husband! 🙂

      And I can totally relate to your comments about trying to carry one’s own burdens… so thankful that God is patient with me and that He waits for me to remember to turn to Him with my cares and concerns. Thank you for always being so authentic, dear Efua! You continually inspire me! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh I’ve been seeing you Lynn, popping up here and there with your kind words of encouragement. Sometimes it’s almost like walking into a room and someone says, Oh, you just missed Lynn, she was just here! Just teasing ya. Excellent post, as always. Grace and blessings sis.

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    1. Hello, my wonderful friend and brother! Thank you for absolutely making my day! Your kind and thoughtful words always bring an enormous smile to my face! I pray that God will continue to bless you, your family and your blog! Your friendship, Bruce, is truly a blessing to me! 🙂

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  8. Lynn, you said: “And when it really comes down to it, I would rather learn from the Master than stumble through life the hard way.” Amen, and amen!

    I believe this summarizes well everything you shared here, which was excellent, as usual. It is good to have you back. Oh, and I love your “waterworks” painting – absolutely one of my favorites!! Sue

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  9. I sure hope your water flow situation is corrected now, Lynn. 🙂 I love that you and your husband make a great DIY team. 🙂 I think my hubby’s handyman gift has saved us lots over the years. But yes, sometimes we have to call the professionals. In life, like Israel and Saul, we so easily rely on our own understanding, don’t we? We forget about our Master Builder. I’m so grateful God is so patient with us and His grace wins every time! Love and blessings to you!

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  10. What a gorgeous painting! I take it that’s not your DIY fail. 🙂 On the bright side, you and hubby got to make a memory together. Not only that, but after you (no doubt) hired the contractors to complete the job, you didn’t second guess yourselves, wondering if you could have done it just as well and a whole lot cheaper! The way I see it, that’s not a fail, that’s a win-win! ❤

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