It seems like a lifetime ago that Joe first took a sledge hammer to our 28-year old kitchen and, like a madman, tore the whole thing apart in a matter of days. Never having been through the remodeling process, we had a lot to learn. Every day brought the unexpected, twists and turns we couldn't have foreseen. To be honest, more than once we questioned our own sanity! More about that later, but with each day that passed, I saw in the remodel, metaphors for my spiritual life--the demolition, the debris, the delays, the development, and yes, eventually the joy of having a brand new room! I jotted my thoughts on scraps of paper here and there, and last Sunday at New Hope Church I shared a few of them, beginning with this question:
If you knew at the start, the kinds of heart and life renovation God was going to take you through, would you have said yes to following Jesus so readily?
I went on to encourage people not to rush past a question like this because their answers could reveal something about the kind of journey they were on. I ended up sharing four things that my kitchen remodel reminded me of from my own personally painful heart renovation some years back. You can listen to that message below.
If you knew at the start the kinds of heart and life renovation God was going to take you through, would you have said yes to following Jesus so readily?
There were so many lessons learned, and I can't do much more than mention several of them here, but I'll throw in some pics, including the moment when I would have given anything to go back to the start and forget the whole thing, but couldn't--the moment that made me consider the question above. I'll have the "reveal" at the end, even though you've probably already scrolled down! Here's some of the stuff I wrote on those scraps of paper--you'll have to unpack the underlying truths yourself.
Remodeling Kitchens and Renovating Hearts
This lesson was the most critical--the morning I woke up and there was nothing happening, but everywhere I looked there were messes I could do nothing about. All I could really do, was learn to sit with the deconstruction. After a few days of this, I found myself thinking about my old kitchen, even secretly wishing I had those funky tile counters with thick brown grout, or a full-sized refrigerator to put groceries in. I knew there was an end to the renovation out there on the horizon and that I'd love it when it finally happened, but in that moment, I wasn't sure it had been such a good idea to embark on this adventure.
In our spiritual lives, these are the moments where faith is forged, these episodes where we stop denying our doubts and try them on for size. In other words, these are the times when we just have to sit in the middle of our messy heart renovation. We may wish we could go back to some easier season, but we can't. Confused and anxious, we wonder if we could walk just away and forget we ever started this journey with Jesus. I've had a few times like these, moments when I would have left--if I could have. But frankly, I have always known that there is truly nowhere else to go. Like Peter, when Jesus asked if he would leave too, I could only eke out: "To whom shall I go Lord, you have words the of eternal life." (John 6:68)
In our spiritual lives, these are the moments where faith is forged, these episodes where we stop denying our doubts and try them on for size.
The beauty of heart renovation is that if we hang in there, God creates something so wondrous in us and through us, that we know beyond a doubt that the process, no matter how painful, has been worth it. I am as certain of this as I am my own name. This is perhaps the greatest lesson from my kitchen remodel:
VIDEO OF MY NEW KITCHEN!
So that's the story of our kitchen remodel and the lessons I learned about the renovation of our souls. If you want to know more of the backstory--like how much it cost us and what the original kitchen was worth, click here. I'll end with one final lesson:
LESSON TWELVE (AND COUNTING): There is always something more to do --in kitchen remodels and heart renovations!
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Tricia McCary Rhodes
Author of 7 books and a professor for Fuller Theological Seminary, Tricia specializes in helping others experience God’s presence through practicing soul-care.