Upgrading our houses isn’t a foreign concept, but what about ourselves? Our traits and bad habits which frustrate us and recur are like the troubled parts of a house in need of replacement or renovation.
But just thinking of the trouble “renovation” would bring often discourages us from fixing the “house”, until the painful disrepair and dysfunction of life finally outweigh the discomfort and inertia of making a change.
Many of us ultimately reach a point where we need to make life-saving changes that aren’t just cosmetic or quick fixes. Instead I’m talking about structural overhauls – demolishing and rebuilding.
YOU DON’T NEED PERMISSION TO IMPROVE
Think back to the times you found weaknesses in your “house”.
Perhaps you realised how bad you are at apologising, or that you argue incessantly with your loved ones because fighting is easier than saying how you really feel. Maybe you finally saw how loud your inadequacies voice themselves through a petty word hurled in hurtful retaliation.
These discoveries about ourselves happen whether we are 15, in our 30s or middle-aged. They should happen as we walk and commune with God, who then reveals our impurities and refines us for His glory.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
So we should never stop growing as people just because we’re “old enough”, have proper jobs and should know how to “adult”. There isn’t an age for perfection because we’ll never “arrive” on this side of eternity. In that vein of things the door to our “house” must remain open for God’s repairs and renovations.
When we treat ourselves like a rental house, we hold back on the most important renovations.
So it’s worthwhile to pause and consider today, wherever in life we’re at: Do we treat ourselves like a rental house or a real home?
If you take ownership – responsibility – of the house, this is probably how you live: I’m going to give these walls a new coat of paint. I’m spending the money to replace the cracked beams. And I’m replacing the entire foundations of the house because I’m building something bigger.
These are things you don’t do if you live in a rental house because (1) You’ll need permission from the owner to do these things and (2) Why would you spend the time and effort on a place that doesn’t belong to you?
When we treat ourselves like a rental house, we don’t live as we should. We hold back on the most important renovations. I’d like to think that it is kinder and wiser to treat ourselves like a real home – one we have responsibility for.
YOU ARE WORTH THE WORK
Is there something or someone holding you back from living a changed life that would honour God? Say this aloud: “I will do whatever it takes to fulfil God’s purpose for my life.”
That was all the permission you need. Sign off on the permits to build and rebuild, and hand that piece of paper to God. To knock down walls and demolish shaky foundations – that’s a work of rebuilding only the very best carpenter can do (Mark 6:3).
And sure, some renovations are more complex than others. Some won’t be easy, they’ll be inconvenient and messy … But it’ll be worth it.
With God on our side the renovations He makes will produce life. We’ll see victory over addictions and bad habits. He’ll rip out unhealthy thought patterns and ungodly beliefs – and replace them with new life (Ezekiel 36:26)!
We’ve all been created wonderfully, we’re just not yet who we’re meant to be.
As long as we’re alive, we haven’t missed the train for change. If you feel trapped by your age, or fear what you think people think of you … Just remember that you don’t need their permission to step into your destiny. Take the permission back from whoever you’ve given it to – and give it to God.
You’re not an accident – your blueprints have been drawn up by a perfect God. We’ve all been created wonderfully, we’re just not yet who we’re meant to be. And there’s beauty in that.
There’s excitement in that. Our Lord, who is both carpenter and king is waiting for the work to begin! He is not daunted by the disrepair. No, He’s looking forward to the restoration.
I’m leaving you with a quote from CS Lewis. I think he gets it, and I hope you will too:
“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 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 going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace.
He intends to come and live in it Himself.”