Men like to build things. We like to use our hands to create. I believe God put this desire inside of us. It’s in our blood and deeply coded in our DNA. Looking at directions…for some of us, not so much. We would rather wing it and go with our gut. Sometimes that makes the project last much longer than it needed. This can be frustrating, but with the right attitude we usually have fun along the way. Minus all of the cursing under your breath, the dried paint that seems impossible to get off, and the splinters from flying shards of wood. I however am not one of those people who wing it. I am a planner.
I happen to be a perfectionist and this quality drives me insane when doing a project. I plan things out, obsess over details, and expect things to run a certain way. When they don’t, I get frustrated with myself and those around me which sometimes leads to discouragement. I know in my mind what I want it to look like and the plans written out on paper. Why in the world does it not work out?! I mean don’t you sometimes think to yourself, “Why can’t this just be easy?!”. Now apply building something, to life itself.
How many times have you asked yourself, or God, “Why are things so hard right now?”. I feel like I have been saying that a lot lately with my current project that is still incomplete after months of work. I think the reason we go through difficulties is so God can show us things about ourselves that we need to work on. We want the finished product so much, that we forget to enjoy the process along the way. We lack grace with ourselves and with others. Here are some tips to help you remember that we are all under construction.
Your call is the right call
The project that I am in the middle of is building a batting cage in our back yard. When we bought our home five years ago, I had the side yard mapped out for this exact purpose. It wasn’t a need, so we spent our money on other projects over the years, but I constantly thought about it. After the coronavirus shut our baseball business down for a couple of months, my wife came to me and said we need to build a cage. Guys, you know when your wife says something like that you just smile and say, “Yes dear.” It’s like her saying that we really need a man cave in the house. You don’t ask questions. You just get to work on it.
Our budget was tight, so I had to shop around. This took at least a month in itself. Once we started the work the problems started. The area wasn’t graded properly, some products were hard to find, and dates kept getting pushed back. I hemmed and hawed over the smallest details to the point where I felt stuck and discouraged. It was classic paralysis by analysis. I got to the point where I could not make decisions. Then one day things started to fall in place. However, for it to happen I had to act on something. I was so focused on everything being perfect, that it kept me from making final decisions. It was time for me to stop deliberating, make a choice, and believe it’s the right one. When it comes down to it this is my project, so whatever call I make is the right call. It’s on me.
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”– Philippians 4:6-7 ESV
Shoot for the moon and live with being a star
Momma Horton used to always tell me, “Billy if you shoot for the moon and miss, you will still end up in the stars.” This was her way of reminding me to GO BIG, but if I didn’t reach my big goal that I would still be a success. My overanalytical perfectionism usually got in the way and I still think about things I wish would have gone better, like my playing career. However, the more we look in the rearview mirror of life, we lose sight of what is right in front of us. That my friend is right where Satan wants us to live; in the past. It’s his way of distracting us so we don’t achieve the greatness that God put in us. Sometimes we have to be ok with good for right now because great is right down the road.
One thing that drives me crazy is when coaches give players a “textbook” phrase, like “Give me 110%!”. Ok first off, I get what you mean. You want me to work extra hard. However, it is an unattainable number, so get a new line to motivate people. The deeper problem is that when we always strive for perfection and can’t live with a result that is less than perfect, we beat the crap out of ourselves. It is unhealthy and can lead to physical and mental problems. Yes, expect excellence and strive for your very best. That is important and the sign of a leader. You also need to practice grace with yourself and be ok with the result. You can always learn from a less than perfect outcome to make yourself better the next time.
Another thing to consider is when you are doing a project with your kids to expect it to take a LOT longer than if you did it with other adults or on your own. Spending time together with them during the project is more important than the outcome. Remember that they are under construction as well and we want to give them a solid foundation to build on. Some of the cement in that foundation will be good memories spending time with you. Now go out and be the ROCK STAR that God created you to be. You are HIS greatest creation.
Here are some things to think about this week and consider applying to your life:
- When planning out a project get advice from a small circle of informed individuals you trust.
- Give yourself margin for error with time and cost. This will save you stress when things don’t go as planned.
- Delegate tasks to qualified people who can help you achieve your goal.
- Have grace with yourself and everyone around you during the project and in life.
- Practice kindness.
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