God loves you and has a plan for your life. The problem is, other people who don’t love you also have a plan for your life. It’s pretty tough being what God designed you to be — especially among people who seem to think God made all of us as divine duplicates.
When my wife and I were first dating, we would often eat with her parents. Her father is one of those serious type guys — you know, the ones with the plastic pocket protector with all the pencils in order. He would ask scientific questions at the dinner table, which made me nervous. I was a preacher’s kid. I was used to knock-knock jokes at the dinner table.
When Penny and I got married, he visited our house. He just walked around taking notes. Finally he said, “Charles, you have some things that need to be fixed. Get your toolbox.” Well, I didn’t have a toolbox. I had superglue, duct tape, and WD-40. If I couldn’t tape it, glue it or spray it, then I figured God didn’t want it fixed. I wouldn’t know what to do with a toolbox. I had a mechanical bypass very early in life. I don’t remember the surgery, but I have no mechanical ability. I went to the school for the mechanically challenged, but that didn’t help.
What to do? I’ll fake it so my father-in-law will approve of me. I told him I’d get my toolbox and be right back. I borrowed a neighbor’s toolbox. He said, “Let’s get to work. I’ll crawl under there and you hand me the tools.” He hollered out, “Crescent.” All I could find was a Craftsman, so I handed him a Craftsman. He laughed, crawled out, and got a crescent. He hollered out, “Phillips.” All I could find was a Craftsman, so I handed him a Craftsman. He laughed, crawled out, and got a Phillips. It was a very long day, pretending to be somebody I wasn’t just to get my father-in-law’s approval.
Later, I realized that he was trying to be somebody he’s not just to get my approval. You see, I was always telling him jokes and one-liners, and so he felt as if he had to be a funny guy as well. Unfortunately, he didn’t know any jokes, so he memorized “Humor in Uniform” out of the Readers Digest. They were awful. As you can imagine, our relationship was quite stressful. Remember this: Good relationships are about to end when you have to pretend.
After a while I just couldn’t take it anymore. I sat Pop down and told him about my mechanical bypass. He said, “Those jokes I tell aren’t very funny, are they?” I said, “They are some of the worst I’ve heard.”
What a relief — it’s out. We’re different, and that’s okay. Matter of fact, we have a great relationship. When he comes to our house, he brings his own toolbox, and I have a list of things for him to fix. He goes around and fixes everything in the house, and all I do is walk around with him and tell him funny stories.
God made me unique. From reading this story, you know that I’m different. I can pretend to try to be like you, or I can just accept myself as God made me. Maybe I can even use a little humor to share some of God’s truths. By the way, have you heard the one about … ?