Feeling Like a Tool
December 7, 2006

I once was assembling some TV trays in my basement. To women, TV trays are one of those mysteriously unpopular items that keep coming back year after year, no matter how you try to prevent them. Kind of like a virus. Everyone wants to kill them, but they keep coming back. To a man, TV trays represent hours of endless ecstasy watching football, eating, AND sitting in a favorite chair — all at the same time.

Anyway, as I dreamed of the hours of bliss ahead of me, there was a Phillips head screw I needed to screw in. My cordless drill was too big to fit into the tight space. Fortunately, I had a Phillips head screwdriver I could use instead of the drill, but the screwdriver head was too big for the hole.

Every guy knows the thought I had next – “I’ll make it work.” Maybe it’s the same odd, ancient, masculine impulse that compels us to carry every single grocery bag in from the car into the kitchen in one trip, but somehow the thought of going to the garage toolbox for a proper size screwdriver seemed like climbing Mt. Everest. To my great relief, I found the screwdriver would just barely fit the Phillips head screw – I just had to push down really hard for it to grip the grooves. So I started pushing. The screw was turning! I had saved myself a trip to the toolbox in the garage.

To my frustration, I discovered that the deeper the screw got, the harder it was to turn. I pushed the screwdriver harder. The screw was turning slower. Finally, the grooves stripped and there was nothing left to grip the screw.

I was angry with my screwdriver. It had not met my expectations.

The problem, of course, is I was using the wrong tool for a specific job that needed to be done. The screwdriver wasn’t designed to work in that size screw head.

Thus, I had to make the painful trek up my basement stairs and out to the garage toolbox to implement the tedious (and humbling) rescue operation of unscrewing the screw millimeter by millimeter using a pair of pliers. Not something pliers were designed for either. But that’s what happens when tools are used for the wrong job; other tools have to adjust to try to bail them out.

How has God designed you? What makes your heart come alive? I often hear people ask, “What is God’s will for my life?”

I have started responding with three questions for them to answer:
“What about the world do you really, really not like?”
“What makes your heart come alive?”
“If you could do anything, knowing that you could not fail, what would it be?”

Looking at the deepest desires of our heart often gives us clues to the specific function God uniquely designed us to do. Think about how viewing things this way reflects on the character of God. Could God actually be SO big that he creates us with the unique ability to dream and create in ways that are deeply fulfilling to us? Can we actually become co-creators with God in His redemptive plan to bring healing to a broken world?

I believe so.

Many people “force” their way into doing a job they are only partially suited for because they think it’s their job, or they can’t see any other option. The result? Burnout, frustration, and feeling like a tool.

Are you doing what God designed you for?

The world needs more people who aren’t just waiting for the mystical will of God to drop in their lap, but rather dare to dream with God and co-create with their Father to see the light of heaven fill the earth.


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