|The bathroom reno, down 'to the studs'|
Have you ever experienced the equal parts of joy and terror that come with starting a renovation project? The thrill of the sledgehammer demolishing that ugly, leaky, old shower and the sleepless nights of wondering if you can actually put this thing back together. The excitement of picking out new fixtures and the horror of hearing a toilet flushing after you’ve cut away the drain. The feeling of accomplishment as you check tasks of the list and the sinking feeling you’ll never get your house clean again… seriously, living in the same space you’re renovating is the worst!
This summer I set out to renovate our Master bathroom and bedroom - it was a project that was not for the faint of heart. You see, it wasn’t just a new coat of paint but a full, “to the studs”, gut job. It took most of summer to complete. Actually, if I’m honest, I still have some finishing touches left before its really done but I figure once you are nailing up the crown molding and touching up nail holes, you’re basically done, right?!?
The funny thing is that isn’t the only renovation I’ve taken on this summer. I’ve found myself on a spiritual renovation through my Arrow Leadership class. It hasn’t just been a fresh coat of paint either. At times, I’ve felt stripped to the studs. Oh sure, it was exciting at first, but then I started wondering if I was ever going to be put back together. Months later and I find the terror creeping in that perhaps Jesus and I haven’t gotten any further along in this project than that fun day with the sledgehammer. To be honest I don’t really have a sense of where I am in this project. Am I closer to the beginning than the end? I wish I knew. What I do know is that we were sent home from our first week of classes with this advice: “You need to give yourselves 3 things—grace, truth and time. Take only two home and you’ll end up in trouble.”
Truth & Time without Grace lead to Legalism (Following the rules to earn your salvation)
Grace & Time without Truth lead to License (God’s grace is unlimited so do whatever you want)
Truth & Grace without Time lead to Discouragement (Why haven’t I got this all figured out yet?)
As I have tried to live out this advice I’ve realized how hard it is for me to give myself time. Grace and truth seem much easier for me than patience. I want it to be finished. As I find my frustration building about why this project is taking so long, I come back to Jesus and thank him for his grace, his truth and especially his time.
I hope in the midst of the ever-present construction dust in our lives, perhaps you, too, can take a break from renovating to sit back on the porch with Jesus and enjoy the final days of summer.