I spent last weekend being Daddy’s Girl. It is one of my favorite roles in life. As we were working together, my father commented on a radio ad he had heard. The point of the advertisement had been that the company could take care of household repairs so that fathers could spend their weekends with their kids. My father scoffed and said that the fathers can do the repairs and have the kids help them. It would be time spent together, and the kids would learn something. At the time he said this, he and I were working on putting down laminate flooring. I have learned a lot of skills helping him with home repairs and maintenance over the years. The most important things I have learned, though, are hard work and independence.
But we urge you, brothers. . .to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12
I don’t think independence was my parents’ goal for my sisters and me, so much as simply ensuring that we wouldn’t be dependent. The point wasn’t to shun the assistance of other people, but rather that we would not have to depend on help. They didn’t want to raise ‘damsels in distress.’ There is a lot I can do, thanks to watching my father. The key factor is not any particular skill, but the confidence to try. Recently, I completed a repair on my clothes dryer. It was actually the second repair in the ten years I’ve had the dryer. In the past, I’ve also repaired the washing machine. I don’t know how much money I have saved because I have no idea how much an appliance repair person would charge. It takes patience to research these problems. But this is 2019, and the internet is full of information and how-to videos on every conceivable task. People say time is money, but money is also money. In our culture, we are all too prone to wasting both. It is fulfilling for me to use my time productively and to keep my money in my bank account to use for better things.
In years past, when I had a decision to make, or I was faced with a challenge, I longed to have a husband to help carry the burden. An unexpected car repair, or an appliance breaking, and the stress of figuring out how to pay for it, wasn’t something I wanted to handle alone. Actually, I don’t think I wanted to deal with it at all. I sense that I have turned a corner; I’ve stopped thinking that way. And, surprisingly, the more I face the challenges head-on and embrace the responsibility, the happier I am. I have learned to do my research, consult people, make a plan, and move forward. I cannot deny that in many things, I have my sister as a partner in planning and decision making. But ultimately, while we share a lot of household expenses, we are each responsible for our own finances and lives.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Responsibility can feel like a burden, but there is a corresponding sense of freedom. As Christians, being independent allows us the freedom to follow God’s leading. Ultimately, we are accountable to God for how we use our talents and resources. If he has placed me here, single and only responsible for myself, it must be that He has things for me to do that are specific to this circumstance. Being able to help myself means that I am able to use my gifts and resources to help and serve others. Recently, I have realized how happy it makes me to be able to use the skills I have acquired to help others. If I weren’t able to manage any of my own problems, there would be little I could do to help others.
I am feeling a new sense of confidence. At the core, perhaps it is really just contentment. It has crept up on me, slowly. I am learning to trust God more and more. I have mentioned previously that this year I am working to build my savings so that I can be more financially stable. I have set myself a challenging, yet realistic, savings goal for the year. At the same time, I am also trying to swing a vacation in the fall and be prepared for all of the regular expenses of life. Recently, a car repair entered the equation. I had no idea how much it would cost, and I was beginning to fret about it. A voice inside reminded me that my trust needed to be in God and not in the balance of my savings account. This seems to be the recurring lesson for this year. Remembering that all I have is from God, and that He is trustworthy gave me peace. I got an estimate on the repair, earlier this week, and it was much less expensive than I imagined. God is good. Had it cost five times as much, God is still good. But I praise Him for each and every mercy. I thank Him for giving me peace and helping me to trust Him in the challenges, both big and small.