You Are A Fixer Upper

I spent the morning filling bags with clothing that other people could wear. My closet had grown too full of things that I have enjoyed but no longer need. (My friends would tell you I tend to hang on to things a few seasons longer than I should!) It felt great to hand bags to Goodwill and drive home knowing my closet was a little easier to navigate in the days ahead.

As the seasons change, there is something fulfilling about bringing some of that change into our surroundings as well. Soon I’ll pull out the fall decorations, the sweaters, and the winter shoes. I’ll put away the summer things and look forward to the time I pull them back out of the cabinet. I actually like most changes because they give me a chance to renew and refine life just a bit.

A few years ago we remodeled our master bath. I have to admit I got tired of the mess before the job was finished. But, every day I walk into my remodeled surroundings and I’m glad we went to the expense and effort to get it done. Some changes are easy and quick ways to improve life. Others can be tough and require a little more patience and endurance. Occasionally change is drastic and painful to endure. One thing is certain: change is going to happen for our entire lives.

As you know, I’m a big fan of Fixer Upper on HGTV. In fact, I enjoy a lot of the programs on that network. It amazes me to watch an old, smelly, rundown home become new again in just one hour. In reality it takes months, but on television it only takes moments. I think that is how God views our lives from his perspective. We see our lives in seasons, or one room at a time. God sees the entirety of our lives as the finished product. They might look like a torn up mess, but he already sees the full remodel revealed. I recently found a quote by C. S. Lewis that painted a picture of change I hope to remember. Lewis wrote:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Each of us is a fixer upper and God purchased us anyway. Some lives need more work than others, but all of us need more work than we realized. Our master “remodeler” is the perfect contractor who brings in the right workers at the right time. Sometimes the job is just a “cosmetic fix” as they like to say on that show. But other times there is a sledgehammer necessary because a wall needs to come down. Lewis was right when he said we thought we were “a decent little cottage.” I think most of us would settle for being less than who God wants us to be.

But God purchased us with the intention of doing a full remodeling job. We would like for our lives to be a “quick fix” but most of the time it will take a lifetime to turn us into the final product God has in mind. So, the next time change comes our way, let’s try to see it from God’s point of view. He is building us into a palace because, after all, Jesus lives within.

I think Paul and C. S. Lewis must enjoy hanging out together in heaven. From what I can tell, they were similar personalities. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

God was compassionate enough to purchase our lives even though he knew we would take a lot of remodeling. I know there are some awful rooms he looks at and determines are “total gut jobs.” Other rooms he chooses to refine and redecorate. Joyfully, he continues to refresh and update our lives, as long as we live. Change doesn’t seem as difficult if we realize it is just part of a larger remodeling job. We might be cottages now, but our final blueprint is for that palace!

I think I’ll tackle another closet before lunch! I’m sure I have a lot more stuff around here that I should give away. I hope it will be a blessing to someone else. Change is good, necessary, and always for a greater purpose. Look around your home. Do you have any closets, rooms or even floor plans that need some remodeling? Invite the “Contractor” into your life . . . even if He is carrying a sledgehammer. It will be worth it in the end.

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: How do you manage the level of your child’s participation in extra-curricular activities?