Friday, I attended a children’s program at my church, and afterward, there were cupcakes in the fellowship hall. There aren’t very many opportunities to eat cupcakes as an adult, so I made my way back to the table of treats.

The friend who had invited me to the program was carrying out a baking pan, so I knew that the parents of the children performing had provided the cupcakes. I was surprised, then, to realize that many, if not most of them, were purchased from a bakery or supermarket. On a few were homemade.

“Hrrmmmphh,” I thought to myself, very curmudgeonly, “Doesn’t anybody even bake for church fellowships anymore?”

“If I had children in the program,” I went on to myself, as I am apt to do, “I would have made cupcakes from scratch.”

So, I grabbed a store-bought cupcake with tall, fluffy white frosting and candy sprinkles and enjoyed it in the car on my way home.

I didn’t even think about the cupcakes again until the next morning when I was trimming the shrubs in front of my house. “Trimming the shrubs” sounds far too elegant for what I was doing out there. With clippers just barely larger (and sharper) than scissors, I was essentially giving the bushes a really bad haircut. My bush trimming continued on into the time when I was also supposed to be mowing, and I ended up not getting the lawn cut on the only day dry enough to do it well. I threw my hands up in disgust.

“I should just hire someone to take care of my lawn,” I thought. “Someone who actually knows what they are doing.”

That’s when I thought about the cupcakes. That’s when I also thought about the vegetables I tried to grow in my garden last year and the smudges of paint on the baseboards throughout my house and my car which always seems to be rattling or screeching.

It dawned on me: I don’t have to be good at everything. In fact, I’m not. Sometimes, it’s better to hire someone who actually knows what they are doing. Which is probably why some moms chose to buy cupcakes rather than try to make them the night before. It’s why I would have been tempted to buy cupcakes myself, if I were honest enough, and humble enough, to admit I’m not as good of a baker as I’d like to be.

I’m not envisioning a life of indulgence in which I sit around doing nothing while others take care of my home. For one thing, I don’t have the income for that.

I am imagining, however, a life in which I know my limits. I can’t do it all. Even if I had the time, I’m just not good enough at everything to do it myself. If I do what I am called to, and let others follow their own leading, we can help each other.

The do-it-yourself industry in the United States, not to mention the whole reality television phenomenon that accompanies it, is nothing more than a boondoggle when you come down to it. Just because I own a hammer doesn’t mean I’m a carpenter; a laptop doesn’t make me a graphic designer. And just because I can sew certainly doesn’t mean I should start making my own clothes.

Admittedly, you wouldn’t have to read too far back on this very blog to find thoughts to the contrary. I’m all for putting in the elbow grease to save money and feel a sense of accomplishment. But sometimes, when I’m in over my head, I would do better to pull out my check book and hire a professional.

Know any good landscape professionals in the Indianapolis area?

Photo by sanchom from the Flickr collection, using with permission under the Creative Commons License.