When the zipper pull for the cotton cover on our living-room futon broke, I didn’t know what to do. It was a minor problem. The rest of the cover was in good shape, but without a zipper, the cover bulged and flapped and slipped off the couch. It looked awful.

Sewing on a new zipper wasn’t an option. For one, where do you buy a zipper that long? For another, replacing zippers is above my expertise. I considered gluing on a giant Velcro strip but settled on snaps. About 40. It took several hours to sew them all on. Some didn’t quite match. But with a little tugging and tucking, I got the cover back in place and it looked good. Until I sat down.

Pop! Pop! Pop! Both sides of the cover came apart from the pressure. Still, the bottom held. Good enough, I figured. And it was. For about a year. Sure, the gaping sides where the ugly mattress peeked through made the living room look shabby. But what else was I to do?

Recently, I dropped off a pair of pants to be hemmed by a local tailor. She did a wonderful job. Did she also fix zippers? She did! Last week, two little boys in tow, I dropped off my futon cover. With nimble fingers, the tailor checked out the zipper. Then she raised her eyebrows.

“Now, what did you do?” she frowned.

Laughing to hide my embarrassment, I explained my ill-fated attempts to fix the zipper on my own.

“You should have brought it to me,” the tailor said. “It’s simple.”

Sure, for someone with the right tools and expertise, I thought. Recognizing my own inadequacy, I gratefully thanked her and walked back to my car, two little boys trailing after me. I couldn’t believe how simple the solution was or how long I’d waited to ask the right person for help. Then I thought about how often in life I do the same thing – trying to fix my problems on my own – with make-do solutions – rather than bringing them to the One with the right tools and expertise.

“And I am certain that God, who began a good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns,” the apostle Paul writes in Philippians 1:6 (NLT).

Were I a broken futon cover, no amount of snaps or tugging and tucking, would hide my gaping sides – the places where I have failed or caused harm to another or let the ugly parts of my character peek through. Yet, Paul’s words assure me that I don’t have to succumb to a shabby, worn out life. The One who has begun a good work in me will continue working on me until the day when the work is done.

But first I must recognize my inadequacy to fix myself and bring myself to God for repair through faith in Christ Jesus. It is that simple.

Meadow Rue Merrill, author of the award-winning memoir, Redeeming Ruth, writes for children and adults from a little house in the big woods of midcoast Maine. Her Lantern Hill Farm picture-book series releases this fall with The Christmas Cradle.