All DIY Lists Should Come With an Expiry Date

Ed, my neighbor next door, knows I have a long do-it-yourself list that keeps growing like a fungal infection. Ed cautioned me against ever starting a DIY list, as he claimed such a list is like a legal will. The whole world can see what you put on the list and once it gets written down, it is like a life sentence to complete the list.

I wish I had listened to Ed, as my DIY list has become a source of regret and shame for me. I regret admitting that so many jobs need to be done. Then, there are my recurring feelings of “shame on me” for putting those jobs off so deliberately. I can see what needs to be done, but I procrastinate instead of getting to the tasks and getting them done.

The handymen on television make all DIY jobs look so simple and easy. They never have to say, “What a mess I made.” I feel like Mike Holmes is watching me when I pound nails in crooked and measure a board twice and botch it both times. The only thing I have mastered so far is writing long DIY lists of what I should be doing.

Ed is pretty handy at repairs and DIY jobs, so when he gets around to them he makes quick work of them. He doesn’t understand how I can take weeks, months and more and still be working on the same project on the list. He has looked at my list and said that I’ll never get the list done unless I put an expiry date on it. “When the date is up, throw the list out,” Ed has instructed me.

Most of my DIY jobs are not exactly critical. Putting on some baseboards, putting in sinkers to hold loose screws, filling some cracks, painting the back-stair-way are needful and cosmetic, but not dire or needing to be dealt with immediately. Ed said it rightly that if I wanted to do my DIY jobs, I’d have them done. He also concluded that excuses never cover up lack of motivation. Everyone does pretty much what they want to.

The Bible makes it clear it is not just hearing what needs to be done but doing it. Jesus cautioned that the wise man puts what he (Jesus) has said into practice. He pictured the person who practices his words like a man who builds his house on the rock. The house is secure in rain and flood and wind. The foolish person hears the words of Jesus, but doesn’t follow or practice them. He is like a man building his house on the sand. The rain and flood and wind destroy it.

There is no point in me having a list and not doing what needs to be done on the list. Likewise, there is no point in making excuses for ignoring the words of Jesus. Jesus speaks of a man who invited people to a banquet. Those invited all made excuses why they couldn’t come. The man filled his banquet with other folks and those making excuses missed out. Each of us is challenged with doing what God says, rather than making excuses or ignoring Him.


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