In the thirteen years we lived in our first home, we dumped thousands of dollars and even more sweat and tears and prayers into it. A small, poorly constructed house, it was less a HGTV-type fixer-upper and more a money pit that had a real hard time passing inspection when we were finally able to sell it. Over the years, we had to pick our battles and often had to “make do” with less-than-ideal situations.
More than once, though, I became so comfortable with things that didn’t work that I lost sight of the fact that something was broken. Exhibit A: my refrigerator. At some point, it started leaking. My husband is pretty handy, and he tried to fix it. But nothing he did made a difference, and so we lived with a leaking refrigerator — for months. A towel or two on the floor of my kitchen became “normal” and something we just lived with until one day my friend finally said, “Why haven’t you fixed that yet?”
I sputtered and huffed and glared at her rude question. And then I wondered, “Wait, why haven’t I fixed that yet?” I told her I was waiting for my husband to figure something out. I told her we had to fix other things first. I told her it wasn’t that big of a deal . . . as she pointedly stared at the full-size bath towel soaking up water. The following week, I called a plumber who quickly diagnosed and fixed the problem, for a price that was much more reasonable than I’d expected. Hurting my handy husband’s feelings, dealing with the hassle of calling and scheduling a repair professional, finding the money to pay for it — all of these had convinced me to just make do. It was fine. Fine! Just a little water on the floor. Every day. Drip. Drip. Drip.
I’d like to say this was the first and last time I got so comfortable dealing with something broken that I forgot it was broken. But before that had been our dryer, which literally shocked me every single time I changed laundry. And since then, it’s been our twenty-one-year-old set of knives, so dull they were more dangerous (and far less useful) than the new set I finally bought. It’s been “just dealing with” family dynamics that hurt everyone but feel less scary than addressing the underlying issues. It’s been making do with threadbare towels and feeling guilty every single time my dentists asks if I’ve been flossing.
Am I writing all this to encourage you to fix your fridge and tell your dentist to put “does not floss” in your chart so he quits asking? No. (Although, obviously, if these pieces of advice apply, go for it!) Why am I telling you any of this then?
I’m telling you about my refrigerator because I’m learning that God doesn’t expect us to become so complacent that we ignore brokenness and pain or deny its existence or, possibly worse, find a bit of comfort in it. It’s just the way it is. Fixing it would be too hard, too costly. I’ll just make do . . .
I’m telling you because I recently read a Bible story that I’ve read many times, even recently. But this time, I read it with friends and discussed the confusing part I’d skimmed over every other time. And it’s changing how I look at making do.
In the book of Mark, Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem and, as He’s passing a crowd, hears a man calling His name. A blind man is shouting for Jesus, asking for help, and Jesus stops. He calls the man to come to Him and says, “What do you want me to do for you?” The man says he wants to see, and Jesus restores his sight (Mark 10:46-52).
What do you want Me to do for you?
I’d love to share the unexpected Truth I learned through this story and remembering my old house. Join me at (in)courage for the rest of this article.