Whether we like it or not, we’re not going to be right about what we think are the best options and solutions in our lives all of the time.
Even if the best option is a hammer with a pink handle.
I went on my first mission trip to Mexico over the weekend to help build some additions to a church down there. Everyone who went had received an email earlier in the week with reminders and whatnot, and the email included a tidbit about bringing a hammer if you have one. I got really excited about that part because I have the perfect pink-handled hammer.
Or so I thought.
When we got to the worksite, I stepped out with my hammer all ready to go. Pastor Daniel, who is responsible for the building of more than 30 churches in the Tijuana area, chuckled and asked me what I was going to use my hammer for that day. When I told him it was to build the rest of the church, he laughed again and told me (in nicer words) that my hammer would be pretty useless.
I tried to convince him that my brute strength was all I really needed, but he still seemed pretty amused and skeptical and said that it would be better to go with one of the hammers they had there, but the choice was mine to make.
As it turns out, that Pastor Daniel is a pretty smart guy. My hammer was barely bigger than the nails we were pounding, and it was very ineffective in that situation. I tried the pink hammer once and hit and hit and hit, and nothing really happened. But when I used the more powerful hammer on the exact same nail, there was a drastic difference in the outcome.
It’s never fun to be wrong.
I think that it’s easy to get caught up in the things that we think are best for us to the point where we have a bit of tunnel vision. I’m guilty of it—especially when it comes to guys. I always think I know for sure which ones are perfect for me, but I’ve clearly been wrong each time. Sometimes it’s ended in a guy I truly care about breaking my heart, and sometimes it’s ended in seeing a new crush walking hand-in-hand with someone who’s not me.
Years ago, I was convinced that this one fella was the right one for me (spoiler alert: he wasn’t). I had this idea in my head of what I thought he was really like—or maybe it was what I thought he should be like—but he wasn’t actually the guy I hoped he was. Instead of acknowledging and accepting the fact that he wasn’t my lobster, I kept using my pink-handled hammer tactic and tried, anyway. I remember one time I asked him if he wanted to go to a football game, and he told me that he had to clean his place. On a Friday night. As an adult with no mandatory chores.
That’s a worse excuse than “I have to wash my hair.”
And that’s only one example. There are far too many of those—times when I knew guys weren’t the guys I was meant to be with forever (or at all), yet I still tried to make it happen. I ignored the signs and red flags and, instead, kept hoping and praying that each one would be the one who would finally love me forever. I kept letting false hopes and hollow prayers take the place of what should have been patient endurance and trust that God will bring the right man into my life when He deems it best.
All because I was so convinced that the hammer with the pink handle was the best option.
I know that God’s plan for my life is so much better than anything I could ever imagine or create myself, so I don’t know why I don’t always live like that’s true. I keep taking these silly pink-handled hammers that look really good to me and trying to build big buildings on my own. You’d think that I would know better by now.
I certainly can’t guarantee that I won’t opt for the wrong choice of a hammer again (mess of a human over here), but I am going to make more concerted efforts to practice that whole patience thing that’s part of that other whole faith thing.
And maybe the next situation I face in which I could opt for a hammer with a pink handle when it’s the less effective option, I can look back in reflection and say, “nailed it!”