Recently our home has been chaotic. Honestly chaotic. Like, I want to run to …. Somewhere. I have visions of lying on the beach in my beach chair, reading a non-thinking book (you know, those sappy Christian romances or mysteries – I am not talking heavy, spiritual growth here). Sipping on a frozen lemonade complete with fashionable shades, sun hat and cute bathing suit. Well, let us not get carried away – it looks more like me in my “disguise what you can,” bathing suit, Walmart shades and ball cap – cute is not something I can really pull off in real life because I am real for heaven’s sake! Let us go with it because it is my vision of course. Truth is I will not get my escape until the current journey is complete, or at least close!
I digress…back to chaos central. We have been remodeling our home, which just happened to coincide with COVID-19. Working from home, two dogs, living and dining rooms full of “stuff” from every corner of our main floor living areas: bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and “office.” Stuff is everywhere…we have a path, and that is about it. After a few weeks of this paradise, my contractor calls and says, we have a small problem. Sir, I live in a house that’s almost, if not, 100 years old – there is always a small problem.
This one; however, will take some real work. It turns out that while replacing our backdoor unit they uncovered rotten wood – the exterior band of our home in that area. I am not exactly sure of all the repercussions of this “problem,” but the pictures are ugly, ugly. Now of course you cannot have rotten wood underneath the laundry room floor, or as a support for your backdoor, so I immediately said, “fix it!”
That is when God began to speak to me, right through that ugly, rotten wood they had shown me.
I want to be like Christ. My heart cries after Him, and my desire is to be the woman that He has called me to be, but I am not, not yet. Before I can become the beautiful masterpiece, He has designed me to be, I must first face the ugly in me. Like building a new floor over rotten wood is a disastrous mistake, so is trying to become the vision of all God has for me without getting rid of the rot.
Sometimes I must be willing to uncover ugly, get rid of it and then build the new. Seeing the truth of who we are is not always fun. It can be discouraging, depressing and steal our joy. Or, it can be the place of replenishment and beauty, real and genuine beauty. I would have been incredibly disappointed if my contractor had never said anything and just built that floor and door unit over the rotten wood. Eventually it would have come to light through some future bigger problem. I certainly do not want that half of the house to collapse!
When I glaze over or hide the ugly and try to just build on top of it, eventually all that rot will show up again. It will likely bring much bigger and much harder consequence. Better to let the master builder get rid of that weak, diseased, and unreliable wood so he can build His vision upon a solid foundation. The foundation is likely connected to and necessary for things we do not anticipate or see immediately. You see, the rotten wood did not just affect the immediate area of my laundry room and backdoor, but it is connected to other areas as are all foundations. It would have eventually affected the new half bath, the deck, and on it goes. The weak areas of my foundation affect more than I can see as well.
When I choose to neglect the ‘cleaning out of the rotten,’ I am likely choosing the failure of much more. Maybe God had begun the restoration, and I did not take care of it and allow Him to continue to build in that area. Whatever the reason, it affects not only what I see immediately, but might affect others as well because we are connected.
For me, it was anger. I had long ago conquered quick and verbally abusive anger which had held me hostage for years, but it later began to be accomplished through holding it all in. I had conquered the bad behavior; however, when emotions that seemingly have nothing to do with anger but are solid frustration that is full of unspoken hurt feelings, perceived neglect, and fear of not being important have had all they can handle, there is an explosion! An explosion clothed in anger. Explosions have fallout, and I made excuses: it was not a prevalent behavior any longer, and it is not wrong to have feelings; they are valuable and important. True, but how I express them is important too. The repercussions of an explosion leave an impact, and that is what I had to face. I had to uncover the ugly and allow the master builder to clean it out so he can build on a new, secure, and healthy foundation.
There was more work to be done.
Building can take a while. We are still in the throes of remodeling. I know that someday; hopefully soon, I will have a working sink, range, and countertop, and I will be so pleased and excited! I am looking forward to it being “perfect.” I will not even use the new microwave range hood until it is all installed…crazy, I know.
I cannot use that same logic as Christ rebuilds the method of handling my frustrations. I need to utilize the areas he has restored, as he restores. When I do this, I learn building block by building block how to react well. I learn how to value my feelings while I also value others and learn to say something before I hit the place of no return. It does not mean I just bury those feelings. It means I deal with the feelings immediately, and not allow them to simmer to a boil.
Perhaps we have misunderstood, “be angry and sin not.” Perhaps we stuff instead of managing. Perhaps we have decided our feelings do not warrant discussion. They do, but neither are they more important than others. It is a balance, and it is one I am learning even this late in the game. God is always tearing out the rotten wood and installing the strong. He is a good builder.
Now, when I look at my laundry room and backdoor, it is beautiful to me, and there is no doubt of the now strong underlying foundation that could have caused disaster had it not been addressed. It is fully restored, and I will be too. Is it too cheesy to sing, “he’s still working on me?” Some of you are just too young to remember, so look it up.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, NSV)