Things I’m Not Good At (or Why I Decorate With Books)

        “So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” Romans 12:5, The Message Bible

* * * *

My sister Laurie got all the creative genes in our family. She can watch a how-to show on HGTV and then shop at Home Depot for plywood, staples and vinyl covering, go home and five hours later, voila–she’s got a way cool headboard for her bedroom. She was a do-it-yourselfer before DIY was part of our current vocabulary.

I’ve seen her re-fashion fabric pieces into throw pillows, make a shower curtain out of a bedspread, design, sand and paint a picture frame, recover chairs. The list goes on.

Me, I decorate with things that make me happy--books, photos in small frames, fresh flowers from our yard, rocks I collect from the beach. There is no ‘decorating’ scheme in my home, simply moving things around in the seasons. Oh, and candles. I do like candles.

But imagining something out of almost-thin air then creating it to go in my home? Not me.

So not me.


There is a great deal of freedom in knowing what things you don’t do, what you’re not good at. Being aware of what you can say “no” to so you can say “yes” to the truest part of who you are.

It’s often easy to buy into the lie that says we should be like all those “other people” who have remarkable gardens, super-original clothes, the ones that knit or cook, bake, sew, decorate, craft, fill-in-the-blank. The enemy of our souls would like us to think we should be able to do it all, whatever that all is.

If we buy into that argument, then the “this” that we should be doing, which is often the one thing we were made to do, gets lost.

We’re spread too thin trying to be something we’re not, trying to fit in where we shouldn’t be, trying to look like everyone else.

* * * * *

Life is a constant decision to redefine our boundaries again and again, making them tighter and smaller, not so that we can live in a hidey-hole kind of place, ignoring the world and staying safe, but so that we can live in the freedom of being who we were created to be, where we are, doing what we have been gifted to do.

Sometimes the hardest yes comes when we say no to what’s not working, no matter who it disappoints, no matter how much it cost or what we feel we “should” do.

As the writer of Romans declares in the opening quote, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be.”

Maybe you’re a remarkable photographer that captures a world some of us miss, adding to our lives by showing us what you see. But you definitely don’t do windows.

Maybe you like to run. For fun. Because you sense God’s presence when it’s just you and He together, pounding the pavement. But cooking is so not your thing.

Maybe you enjoy setting a beautiful table, creating a welcoming piece of art for others to enjoy while their souls and bodies are fed. But you haven’t weeded your garden for six months. And you’re probably not going to.

In my seventh decade on this planet I’m becoming more comfortable with knowing who I am, what I want and what I need. As a Jesus follower I’m discovering the closer I get to Him the more I find out who I am.

And it’s constantly changing.

So go ahead, make your list and write down “The Things I Don’t (or won’t) Do” and listen to what you hear in the spaces.

Surrender with your hands empty and open, trusting God to lead you.

And be ready to make a new list when the time comes.

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7 thoughts on “Things I’m Not Good At (or Why I Decorate With Books)

  1. Thanks for the permission & opportunity! Well, I don’t like to live way down the road of a well-planned calendar. Truth is, I’ve tried & failed enough now to realize that ‘it’s just not me’. I know there are benefits to living that way, but now accept that they are benefits I need to relinquish for others more important for me today — sort of opportunity cost! Glad for a chance to think that through, Jody. Fondly,

  2. For starters: I don’t worry about dust bunnies until I have to, don’t cook (because my husband is way better at it than I am–and he LIKES it!), don’t knit, don’t particularly care for long phone conversations, don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. Funny, reading Laurie’s list above I noted she doesn’t do nursery volunteering. Steve and I do, and love interacting with the toddlers. On the other hand, I remember how Laurie transformed the color scheme of her family room to include a blue recliner, with just a few creative changes. You’d think she had started from scratch at Home Goods! I COULDN’T do that!! You are so right, Jody. We need to live into who God created us to be. That’s where freedom, satisfaction, fulfillment and joy can be found.

    1. Oh, Nancy, I’m with you on the dust bunnies. And lucky you in the cooking department! I have a feeling you prefer face-to-face conversations with people instead of those long phone calls, eh? I remember your gracious smile when we had time together and that is definitely one of your gifts–your graciousness.

      1. Yes, I much prefer face-to-face conversation! Your comment about graciousness made me smile for two reasons: 1) Praise God that’s what you remember, and 2) Nancy means “grace,” as does my middle name, Ann. So I am Grace Grace. 🙂 Now grace-FULL I don’t do. Can’t! But grac-IOUS I CAN do, when I depend on my gracious God. In fact, he gives me great joy in being gracious!

    2. Nancy, YES! I mean NO, to dust bunnies. And daily dog hair too. I’m with the “Fur is an accessory” folks.

      Thank you for your kind words about my decor. 🙂

  3. What a freeing idea. I’m glad you shared this with us. The No-Can-Do Llst will be a first for me, and a timely one, Jody. But then, most everything you write here proves relevant—no wonder I keep coming back.

    Off the top: I don’t do appliance research, dog kennel drop-offs, Thanksgiving turkeys, car washes, dead mouse removal, taxes, home repairs, trip planning, or nursery volunteering.

    1. Ah, Laurie, I’m glad you find my posts timely and speak to your heart. (Your table setting is the work of art I had in mind, by the way.) Such a gift you have.
      Thank you for your support.

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