What I Learned From Bob The Builder

What I Learned From Bob The Builder

We are not houses, we are homes.
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Remember Bob the Builder? When was the last time you thought about this little cartoon character who wore an adorable yellow hard hat, overalls and an orange/yellow checkered shirt?

There's always the chance that you might have never heard of Bob the Builder, which would mean that the last time you thought about him was never.

Regardless, if you are or are not familiar with Bob, the concept of "fixing" is not something that is unfamiliar to any of us. Whether the item being fixed is a leaky faucet, a burnt out light or a broken heart, we all have the tendency to try and fix things to make them new again so that we can cover up or replace the brokenness.

As bizarre as it is, Bob the Builder has been on my mind a lot lately (hence this article).

Bob and his co-characters had a theme song that they would launch into when a problem or construction project arose. The song went something along the lines of: "Can we fix it? Yes, we can!" The purpose of Bob and his theme song is to teach children how to problem solve with a positive attitude.

At our core, we tend to become a version of Bob, or for those of us who not under the age of 6, we become the "fixer-uppers" we often see on a channel like HGTV. The problem with this is that we ignore the fact that we are not houses, we are homes: we embody emotions, memories, good times and bad times, lessons learned, hopes, desires, regrets, relationships and the list could go on...

A house doesn't become a home until it has been built with love, withstood the test of time and experienced genuine care and patience.

We should strive to treat ourselves like homes, not houses. Just like actual homes, we too require love, time, patience and care.

The individuals on HGTV flip houses and turn them into homes. They fix what's wrong with the house and then provide the time and effort to make the house into a loveable home. This way, a buyer will come along and accept the home into their lives to continue providing it with love and care.

Again, we aren't houses, we are homes. We try and fix ourselves without realizing that we aren't the same as some creaky floors and peeling walls: we can't just be fixed with a "can-do attitude" and some elbow grease.

Bob the Builder can't just swoop in with his team and fix the things that we see are wrong with us and within our lives. We require healing, not fixing. "Fixing" buries the brokenness with band-aids and solutions while healing takes brokenness, loves and nurtures it with a patient spirit so that the brokenness becomes a part of us that we are able to grow from, not suppress and ignore.

When we treat ourselves like a house and try to patch up our brokenness with substances, spending sprees, eating away feelings or other forms of distractions, we make the brokenness worse.

After all, duct tape, band-aids, and improvement projects can only work for so long. Eventually, the pressure of suppressing this brokenness will become too much and everything that's been building up since the first patch up duct tape was laid will be set free.

We require acceptance, not improvement and as I recently heard from a speaker the other day, no amount of self-improvement can make up for a lack of self-acceptance.

This is what got me thinking about Bob and his theme song. Bob the Builder specializes in improvements. He fixes things, just like me and you try to do. However, no amount of self-improvement will cover up our lack of accepting ourselves as the well worn-in and lived-in homes that we are.

A home is a loveable place. Resist from trying to fix it and work on accepting it. All the home-improvement jobs in the world can't go back in time and redo a faulty foundation. They can fix it and they can cover it up, but they can't heal it of its brokenness.

That's the difference between being a house and a home. In a home, we accept things and by practicing acceptance, we are able to heal whatever it is that originally felt broken. In a house, we cover up the brokenness with improvements or duct tape but the brokenness remains buried beneath these fixes.

We are not Bob the Builder and we are not fixer-uppers. I find that when we stop trying to "fix" things and start trying to "heal" things, our home becomes a much nicer place to live.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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7 Mental Notes We Should All Keep In Mind

You got today and every day.
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Some days we wake up with no motivation or reason. It is important to make notes for yourself so you continue to value each and every day. Making notes to yourself gives you reasons to wake up and start your day. Here are just a few to keep in mind when going through your day.

1. Today is another day you can improve yourself

2. Make sure to point out at least one positive thing from your day

It is easy to point out all the negatives and things that went wrong with your day, but always try to point out at least one good thing. It could be as simple as that good coffee you had this morning. Bring positivity to your days.

3. You're in control

You control if you will allow someone else to ruin your day. You are in control of your actions. The thing you don't control are the actions of others, but you can not let that affect you. You are in control of your happiness.

4. Don't forget to smile

5. Be kind to yourself

Some days will be harder than others and that's just that. You can not tear yourself down for mistakes you've made or pick at yourself for all the things that are wrong. Be kind to yourself and show yourself some mercy.

6. Don't live your day pleasing others

As a matter of fact, don't live your life that way. Please your damn self.

7. Choose YOU

Choose to live today. Choose to be yourself today. Choose all the things that make you happy. Choose to make this and everyday yours.

Cover Image Credit: Adriana Gil

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When The Helpers Learned To Help Themselves

Why helpers and leaders need to take care of themselves, too
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I've been a helper and a leader for as long as I can remember.

From kindergarten when I made my first friend by helping another kid up at recess, to being the person in high school that many friends came to with their problems, to leading the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and then helping lead a Bible study in my undergraduate years, that has been my station. With exceptions, of course, I would say it is a station in which I have performed well.

And yet, there are some ways in which I haven't.

I love to help other people, but sometimes I forget to help myself.

That statement is true for me, and I've known it to be true for many others in positions of leadership or with passion for care. So often our hearts are so big that we feel we can give endlessly, until nothing is left for ourselves.

It's an understandable predicament, and a common one at that. We become familiar with such phrases as "he needs help more than I do," or "I have to be the rock, I can't show weakness." It's not always so easy to deal with, either.

Both from personal experience and the stories of others, I know that leading and helping can leave us isolated. Sometimes we become close to the people for whom we are strong, but more often than not (and typically with good reason) we are a helper/leader more than a friend. We are the person contacted when someone is in crisis, when they need a major opinion, when they don't want to be alone.

I think I speak for most leaders and helpers when I say that our roles can become draining. By nature of our empathy and concern, we spend much of our time either being supportive or looking for someone who needs support.

Even so, many of us feel that we can and should be strong enough to carry on. Much of my life I spent without close friends, and late in high school/early in college I lived with some depression and even suicidal thoughts. But I was a helper and a leader, and I felt deep down that the difference I could make would be limited if I showed weakness.

But I was weak; we all are, really. I just wasn't willing to face it for fear that it would limit my ability to help.

I moved past my depression, but then I covered up my further struggles. Rather than looking at ways I could strengthen or care for myself, I dove into my role as a supporter, as a leader.

Some people say that if you don't take care of yourself you can't make a difference, but I beg to differ. It's not true for everyone, but there are many people (such as myself) that have the ability to cover up their feelings quite well. The thought is often that the pain of others is more important than our own.

Some give all of their time to help and to lead, and for those things they lose sleep, miss meals, and see their social life suffer.

Being so inclined to help and to sacrifice is not bad; on the contrary, it can be a beautiful thing. But there is danger in trying to lead people down paths we have not traveled. When we've faced our own issues, we have stories that we can share to not only give advice with people, but also to truly connect and relate with them.

And then there is the danger of hurting others from our own ignorance of self. As most car owners (hopefully) know, when the warning light comes on and we refuse to look under the hood we risk breaking down in the middle of the road and causing a wreck. If we don't look at our own negative feelings and struggles, they will eventually catch up with us no matter how powerful the engine. In our roles as helpers and leaders, there are many people on the road following us – if we don't check on ourselves and break down in the middle of the road, it's not that surprising to expect some fallout.

We help others, or at least I do, because we love it. I find it fulfilling. But if I tie my worth to other people and lose sight of my worth in Christ, as I sometimes do, I burn out quickly. When I trust in Him, find ways beyond just helping to have fun, and take care of myself physically (working out, eating, getting good sleep, etc.), that love is alive and well.

I still love helping people. But I also take the time to breathe, to enjoy my life, because it's something I hope to see others do too.

Cover Image Credit: Wilson R. Harvey

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