There's a fine layer of white sheetrock dust on the furniture and a gas fireplace sitting in the dining room. We're making some renovations on the new to us home that we moved into last month. I just want the whole list of renovations to be done yesterday! I'm feeling restless to have life back to normal after living in some sort of chaos related to moving for three months now.
The Webster's Dictionary definition of renovation is "to make changes or repairs so that it is back in good condition". That's what we're trying to do to this twenty three year old home we bought, and that's what God is continually doing within me. He's wise enough to use things like upheaval and chaos to expose the things in me that are in need of His supernatural renovation. He's kind enough that He doesn't just take a sledgehammer and start demolition. He exposes the trouble spots and waits for me to acknowledge that I see them, too. He shows me the image of His Son so that I see the beauty of what could be. Then He waits for me to willingly open to His knock, let Him in, and allow Him to begin His good work.
There are some things that I've learned from renovations in the past, and the one we're living in right now, that have spiritual lessons as well. Here are a few.
It gets worse before it gets better.
The first step of renovation is demolition, or removing the old. In our case, it meant opening up the wall between the dining room and living room to move the gas fireplace. After that is completed, all of the flooring in the entry, hall, living room, dining room and kitchen will be removed. In order for beautiful new hardwood floors to be installed, the old has to go. When God is wanting to do a beautiful new work in us, it can get pretty ugly and messy while He's dealing with the old stuff that we've hung on to for far too long. This is an important thing to remember when you're praying for or discipling someone else. Sometimes it looks like things are getting worse than ever. It's possible that God is just doing some of the necessary divine demolition work that has to take place before the new thing He wants to do can happen.
It takes longer than you'd like.
I don't think I've ever known anyone who had a remodel or renovation get completed ahead of schedule. Most often things take longer than you'd like. God is never hurried or rushed. He's always right on time. His time. Just like our home renovation, we want God's work in us to happen yesterday. We get frustrated that it's taking so long. The good news is this promise from Philippians 1:6, "... has begun in you will [continue to] perfect nd complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]" and this one from 2 Corinthians 3:18, "And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] [even more] , which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit." The bad news is, we will be under continual renovation, the renewing of our mind and restoring of our soul, until the time of His return! Then we will be fully, completely, perfectly restored. The best news is, God sees us as already completed even while He's still at work in us.
It costs more than you expected.
This thing costs more than you expected it to. (Seven new light fixtures, cha-ching!) You forgot about needing to buy that. (New floors mean new floor molding in all of the main living area of the house!) Spiritual renovation costs more than you expect it to as well. The flesh likes to be pampered. The work of God in you is uncomfortable and costly to the flesh.
It takes the help of others.
My husband is gifted and talented in many areas, but being a handyman is not one of them. I'm crafty and creative, but I'm not one of those DIY divas that can build cabinets and install flooring. So, we've had God-given help with our home renovation. My handyman son-in-law and nephew, a good engineer friend and an electrician friend, to name a few. We are so blessed and we couldn't do this work without them. Similarly, God gives us others to help us where we are weak, to guide us, teach us, encourage us and pray for us as He is doing His good work in us. All of the wonderful people who have helped us on our renovation didn't just barge in one day and start working. We had to admit our need and ask for help. We need to humble ourselves and admit our need for spiritual help and support as well.
It's worth it in the end.
I couldn't believe the difference new paint, new flooring, and other cosmetic changes made in our former home. I loved it! The time, cost and inconvenience involved in the renovations faded in my memory when I saw the finished product. I know that I'm going to love the changes in our current home as well. When God works in us and we see the result of His renovations, for example living in peace instead of in fear and worry, or walking in victory in an area in which we used to be in bondage, we won't regret for a moment the process it took to get us there. It truly is worth it in the end.