A Loose Screw

Sharon JaynesForgiveness, Identity in Christ, Listening to God, Living Free 18 Comments

It was the incompetent and the inexperienced being led by the inept, the day our Sunday School Class worked on the habitat for humanity house for an unsuspecting, extremely grateful family. Among the crew were two dentists, an investment banker, a lawyer, an engineer, two pastors, a receptionist, several homemakers, and a marriage counselor. It’s always good to have a marriage counselor on hand when a home improvement project is taking place.

The one-thousand-square foot, vinyl-siding house had already been framed by a team the week before. Today was sheetrock, or drywall day. The site supervisor’s name was T.A.

T.A. was a country carpenter who had hammered more nails for Jesus than Noah and his sons combined, and he got us somewhat organized.

Palmer was part of the sheetrock team. Like Rambo, he wielded his screw gun and popped those babies in the sheetrock like a hot knife through butter. After several hours of neck craning, screw popping, dust in your eyes labor, Palmer took a fifteen-minute break.

Re-energized, Rambo picked up his gun and once again attacked the ceiling. A lot of forgetting can go on in a fifteen-minute break and for some reason the screws forgot how they were supposed to spin out of the gun and magically implant flush with the ceiling.

“That’s strange,” Palmer thought as he examined the screw protruding one inch from the ceiling.

He moved the gun over a couple of inches and tried again. “Maybe I just need to push harder.” So, with all the force of a trained counselor, Palmer pressed the gun into the ceiling and pulled the trigger. Once again, the screw hung down one inch from the ceiling.

“Something is definitely wrong with this gun,” he mumbled. Palmer set his jaw, clinched the gun, and again firmly pressed the screw gun into the ceiling. After the third attempt, Palmer stared at a neatly placed row of three taunting screws protruding from the ceiling.

About that time, T.A. bounced through the room and casually commented, “Hey Buddy, you might want to take that gun out of reverse.”

A flush of embarrassment rose from the tip of Palmer’s dusty shoes to the top of his sandy blond head. He nonchalantly flipped the switch to forward and proceeded to shoot flush screws efficiently and effectively like nothing had ever happened.

Later, Palmer laughingly said, “I wonder how many rows of protruding screws I would have shot into that ceiling before I stopped and even considered that the problem might be me?”

OK, sisters, stop the cameras. Suddenly I saw myself staring up at those protruding screws with my baffled friend.

“What’s wrong with her,” I complain about a friend who’s let me down.

“What’s wrong with him,” I complain about my husband who’s not acting according to my plan.

“What’s wrong with them,” I mumble about family members who are not living up to my expectations.”

Never once stopping to think the problem might be…me.

Whether it’s a string of jobs where you’re always treated unfairly, a pileup of relationships that seem to repeatedly end poorly, or a series of marriages with spouses who’ve let you down…could the problem be…dare I say…you? Could it be me? We push harder. Press more firmly. Repeat the same ineffective behavior again and again.

May I quote T.A.?  “Hey Buddy. It might help if you take it out of reverse.”

May I translate T.A. the way I heard it? “Hey Buddy. Turn and go in the opposite direction.”

And you know what?  That is the definition of repentance. To turn and go in the opposite direction.

In one of his sermons, Peter said, “Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19 NLT).

The Amplified translation says it this way: “So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to God—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased], so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord [restoring you like a cool wind on a hot day]…”

Oh, friend, when it comes to a life that is not working, we can try harder, push harder, and even pound with emotional hammers to try and make it work. With a fresh coat of pretend—a smiling face, spit-shined kids, and a well-marked Bible, we might look OK—even downright good. But underneath, the construction remains shaky at best.

But when trying harder is replaced with repentance, shaky is replaced by secure. If life isn’t working for you, trying harder might not be the answer. Repeating the same ineffective behavior will only leave you frustrated. But repenting—turning and going in the opposite direction of sin and toward the Savior—will always put you on the right path.

Heavenly Father, show me when I need to turn from sin and go in the opposite direction, and give me the courage to do so. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Is there any behavior in your life that you keep repeating that keeps giving you negative results? If so, what do you need to do?

What do you think when you hear the word repent? Leave a comment, and let’s compare notes.

I was on Kirk Cameron’s program Takeaways a few weeks ago. Click here to watch. I am in the second segment of the program, so you can fast forward to Part 2.







© 2023 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

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Comments 18

  1. Thank you so much. God spoke directly to me through this post.
    I’m in love with a man I have spent 9.5 years with. When I met him, I knew he didn’t share my love for Jesus but I was scared that it I waited for God to send me that kind of man it may never happens, so I took charge and did it MY way and it has had many negative consequences. This man who loves me so much can’t understand why I continue to struggle spiritually with our relationship. I’ve chosen to step away and put God first. I am feeling what an addict must experience when they are trying to come clean. My flesh wants to run back to this man I love so much, but my spirit wants me to trust in the Lord with ALL my strength and not lean on MY understanding. I would appreciate your prayers for both of us. He can’t understand any of my spiritual struggle so none of this makes sense to him.

    1. I admire your strength. I’ve been there in the past and am ther now with a man who loves God but has trouble with commitment.
      I have released it to God and have a sense of peace. If it works out it’s good but if it doesn’t it is also good.. either way God walks it with me.. He doesn’t leave me no matter what and that knowledge is enough..

    2. Dear Stacy,
      Stay strong. I know these words may not mean much but i know how it is like for you. I have been there. Just trust (rely fully) God and have a support system to go through this phase.
      It will hurt but God doesn’t waste any pain. It will be beautiful in the end.
      I have prayed for you both. It is working out for your good. Be blessed sis

    3. Stacy, as hard as it is, you did the right thing. I married a man I adored, even after the strongest check in my spirit THREE WEEKS before the wedding to not go through with it. I felt such pressure. All the invitations had been sent and we’d already been getting gifts. I had my dress and all the bridesmaids’ dresses done. And what would people THINK? On top of all that, what if nobody else ever asked me? After five years, the last year of which he only spoke to me for two WEEKS, we finally got divorced.
      If this fellow is truly the one Jesus has chosen for you, it will work out. If he isn’t, trust me – no trust Jesus – you will be much better off. Much better.

    4. Post
    5. Stacy, I am walking the same walk you are but I have not left him. I have the same prayer every day. I trust the Lord and I want peace. I will pray for you. Please pray for me. I’ve been walking this path for 6 years.

  2. Like drops of water on the dry sponge of my soul!
    My recent conviction of a particular area of sin – pride – and having confessed to God and a sister in Christ has yielded a deeper peace, less anxiety and stronger stand against the enemy’s tactics in my circumstances. Thank you

  3. I am turning around with tears in my eyes and walking the opposite direction. God spoke lovingly and corrected me of my sin through your blog Sharon. I have been grumbling about a friend and my husband. I must even confess my misguided pride of looking at my Bible’s worn cover and somehow thinking I am more spiritual. God is so good! He loves me despite my sin and refuses to leave me where I’m at.

  4. I will prayer. Thank you for share. I am requesting prayer. Throughout my life I endured so much abuse, rejection, abandonment. God please bring my children, relatives. Friends back into my life. I am a senior living alone but my kids dont even visit me at hospital or home. I prayer for changes.. please 🙏 with me for God miracles and mercies .

    1. Rada
      I am so sorry for your loneliness. Please feel a hug from Jesus and know that I am praying for some one to appear in your life to give you some of their time. Physical hugs are so wonderful but Heaven will be wonderful.
      When you’re hurting it’s hard to think of others but I pray you heal enough that when you are sad you can pray for Believers in hostile countries who are in prison or even solitary just because of their faith.
      So take this as a two part message. One is a hug from Jesus and prayers from me. And later, (because when you’re hurt you don’t want to be told what to do you just want the pain to go away – I get that) you can use your pain to pray for others. But for today – just a hug from Jesus and a prayer from me. The nature of comments is that I have to embrace and also encourage new behavior in the same reply.
      I’m putting your name on my list to remember as I go through my day.

    2. Hi Rafa, just seeing your post. The God of more than Enough (EL Shaddi) sees you and is with you. In spite of it all, keep praying, trusting and thanking God that he’s turnings hearts on your behalf.🙏🏾🙏🏾 I too understand parts of your journey..
      Luke 2:52
      Psalm 56:3
      Psalm 5:12
      Isaiah 41:10
      Isaiah 51:10

  5. When I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. A weight that I never knew I had. It was sin. As I have walked with the Lord for the pass 44 years, it is during my devotional time that the Holy Spirit will reveal areas in my life that I need to repent or make changes. I do. I never want to take up that weight again. Sin is too much work. I have tasted and seen the Goodness of the Lord. Now that is a freedom! Amen!

  6. Ouch! This message hurts. Lord, please forgive me of my sins and help me to turn in the opposite direction. Improve my marriage, beginning with me

  7. Real lasting behavior change doesn’t happen until our minds change. The key ingredient to repentance starts with turning on the inside. Change the direction of thoughts and actions will follow.

  8. I really enjoyed all the sharing from my sister’s in Christ since I have been through so much of the same hurtful stuff and I had a hard time realizing that I needed to turn around and look at my own self and not just blame the other person Thanks for your words

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