what’s in your toolbox?

 

yes…yes, I do indeed have a toolbox
with tools! (actual picture above)

the toolbox is metal – a sort of olive-green color
and it’s old.
it was my Uncle Jim’s
he and his sister – Aunt Hazel – raised my dad
so Uncle Jim was the closest thing I had to a grandpa
he died when I was 7

I’m pretty sure he used this as a toolbox –
and maybe he used it to hold many similar tools in it

let’s see…
I have a tape measure
a hammer
various screwdrivers
some jute twine
a wrench
small nails
a box opener
several IKEA tools
pliers
scissors…

all necessary and useful tools

as a counselor, I refer to a toolbox often

professionally, to indicate those interventions that could be used in a session
or the knowledge that I have about treatment
or information that would be useful for a client

in a session, I might refer to a toolbox
as a place to keep “coping skills” – what we do to minimize the negative impact of something on our lives (stress)
so maybe we use our senses as a way to soothe – something to touch, hear, see, taste or smell
or maybe we do something to distract our minds
maybe we read or mediate on something affirming and inspiring
maybe we journal or practice mindfulness (tools for centering and grounding ourselves in the present moment)

a toolbox…
carries
holds
protects
organizes

what if…
(a great counselor segue)
a toolbox is more that a place to
put things that “fix”
things that are used to repair

but also a place where
our skills are kept
our abilities
our approaches to life
our motives
our perspectives
our gifts
our talents…

would the contents of your toolbox be seen differently?
can your “tools” change?

for example….

as a single, Jesus-loving, white woman
I have certain things in my toolbox
that might not be the same as
say
my married, Jesus-loving, mother of 2, best friend
or
the not-yet-married, Jesus-knowing, co-worker
or
the marriage-on-the-rocks, not.sure.where.Jesus.fits, acquaintance
or
the divorced, Jesus who?, individual I just met…

our toolboxes are different
because our lives are different
our experiences are different
therefore our tools are different.

when we know better
we can do better
and be better

and even though we have the tools in our toolbox
we sometimes try to use the wrong one
kind of like the square peg in a round hole analogy

for me,
I have faith and trust (skills) in my toolbox
but when faced with circumstances
I don’t grab those tools…
maybe I grab the sturdy, reliable, comfortable and familiar
self-doubt or anxiety or fear

in my “toolbox”
faith and trust are not always on the top
at the ready
waiting

sometimes
I have to sift and sort through
the doubt and the fear
and the anxiousness
to grab ahold of
those tools that are

tried and true
easy (not simple)
light
that really do fit to the shape of my hand (or my heart)

I think that every time I sort and sift
faith and trust and such skills
don’t get buried quite as deeply in the toolbox

and sometimes
I think that I need an additional
tool for the problem, situation, issue
when I really don’t

so…
what’s in my toolbox?

faith
fear
grace
self-doubt
mercy
discouragement
hurt
love
rejection
trust

it’s all there.
I don’t always choose the right tool
but I know it’s there
I also know that some of those tools
are out-of-place in my toolbox — they serve no purpose
at least no constructive purpose

have you ever tried tighten a screw with a hammer?
or tried to secure a nail with a wrench?

inefficient
dangerous

what if…
we cleaned out our toolboxes?
we removed tools that we have found to be destructive?
what if…
when we grabbed a tool from the box
we knew it would be useful?
maybe we can commit to at least attempting this…

it isn’t simple —
the comfortable, the familiar
the predictable “tools…we make them work.
but, maybe they are even tools at all.

maybe they are not fresh and good…
maybe they are keeping me in chains…
maybe they have become weapons…

the instrument of grace…

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. karocks836
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 21:46:53

    A thousand times yes.

    Reply

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