Not So Funny Noises

I don’t like funny noises at my house.

I don’t want to hear funny noises coming from a vehicle, the washer or dryer, the sink, the AC, or anything else. I like it when things are humming and working just fine.

My wife approached me recently and said, “Honey, the garbage disposal is making funny noises.” This was shortly after she informed me that one of our vehicles was also making strange noises. I’ve learned over the years that funny noises equal big checks, so it’s never music to my ears.

I said, “I got this, babe”, and before long I was uncomfortably positioned on my back peering up into the dark intestines of our sink.

I’ll admit that I’m a work in progress when it comes to fixing things around the house. I’m committed to learning and growing, but I often wonder if I’ll just end up making things worse. Nevertheless, I act as if I have it under control and begin tinkering.

My diagnosis was that we needed a new disposal, so I went to Lowe’s. I was standing in the garbage disposal aisle when an employee approached to offer some guidance. He started talking about electrical wiring, plumbing, and other things that seemed over my head. I nodded and played it cool, pretending to know exactly what he was saying.

I picked up the new disposal and started to walk away when he said, “We’ll come and install it for you for $100.” I quickly squashed his offer and made it clear that I was fine.

I was still working on it five hours later. With the assistance of a few You Tube videos, I had the disposal installed in a matter of no time, but I couldn’t get it to stop leaking.

I tried everything I knew to do, but my attempts were futile. With every drip, I became angrier and more defeated. I felt powerless to be able to find the solution, but I didn’t want to ask for help. I felt stuck.

My wife could see my frustration mounting, and she gently said, “I think you should just take a break and come back to it later.”

“No way,” I retorted. “I have to fix this now!”

I continued to try different things, but to no avail.

I finally decided that I should call my neighbor, Steve. He is the type of guy who can fix about anything—blindfolded.

I started to dial his number, but then I put the phone down. Something in me was seriously resisting making the call. I can’t say that I was praying or feeling even remotely spiritual, but I sensed God speak a simple phrase to my heart:

Gabe, I want to Father you through this.

 God was reminding me that He wanted to be involved in the process, that I didn’t have to figure this out alone. This is who He is as a Father. His heart is to be deeply engaged in the details of our lives, and one of the ways that He practically engages is often through others who come alongside us.

Realizing the need for humility, I eventually called Steve. He showed up with a smile and a genuine passion to help. After a few minutes of working on the pipes, the leak was a thing of the past.

Looking back, I realize that my opposition to receiving help was actually a hindrance to what God wanted to do. By resisting help from others, I was actually resisting help from God. My openness to help was the exact door through which God showed up, and I’m so glad He did. After all, I could have gone another 12 rounds with the contraption and still ended up flat on my back.

A similar story often plays out in ministry and counseling settings. The most common statement a person will make in my office is: “It took me a loooong time to get here, because I tried for so long to fix the issue myself.” Whether it’s a problem in a person’s marriage, sexual life, finances, relationships, work, etc., the common denominator is that we humans are often very slow to ask for help.

I also have the privilege of walking with these same courageous people as they get some traction, get unstuck, and begin to make serious progress. God shows up in the process over and over again, but it starts with simply being open—open to God and open to others.

It’s too easy to try and go at it alone. Let’s be men and women who choose a better way. May we possess the humility and courage to receive the help that God is passionate about providing, which typically requires us to be vulnerable with others.

Speaking of feeling vulnerable, my wife was feeling quite vulnerable just yesterday. She was stranded in the Target parking lot. Our brand new vehicle was making funny noises and wouldn’t start.

After she called, I dropped everything to go and help. I arrived on the scene, smiled, and said:

“Don’t worry, babe. I got this.”

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