I think all those house projects can actually help illustrate something that I've experienced personally but have at times found it hard to explain: and that concept is BROKENNESS.
Before my mom and I started applying the new upholstery to the footstool, we took off the old legs, ripped out a bunch of old staples, and vacuumed the heck out of the original upholstery which was super gross and dusty. (I wanted to take it off completely until I realized it was GLUED on... very disappointing). The first thing I did in the guest bathroom before adding anything new was begging Cory to take down the original boring mirror so that I could instead put up the cute one from Hobby Lobby. And you can guess our first course of action in improving the front yard: attacking the weeds. When it comes to houses, we can pretty simply understand the idea that to make something better, most of the time you have to get rid of something first. Anyone ever stripped or sanded something before you added that fresh coat of paint?
When it comes to our lives though and our spirituality, we almost always forget that there's a good chance of some old paint that needs stripping. Sometimes it's pride. Sometimes it's the hurt we've been carrying with us for years. It can simply be the weight of this world - the pressure and cares that we've been holding on to and bearing on our own pre-Christ. But letting go of all that junk is just as important as taking up all the great things that God has for us - it's what makes us able to fully ENJOY those great things from God rather than wavering distractedly between the two.
Below is a song I wrote when I was 18. I can hardly believe that almost ten years have passed since then ... but amazingly enough, this song still ministers to me and puts me back in a place of brokenness each time I hear it. My favorite line says this:
"I'm waiting. I'll stay as long as You are here. I'm not in a hurry to go."
Over the course of two weeks, Cory and I spent most evenings after work in our yard pulling those weeds. It took way longer than I would have bargained for and I'm already seeing the need for some touch up but we had to put in the time to see the result we wanted. I believe salvation is an instant thing. The moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and welcome Him into your life, your spirit is made new and your sins are forgiven and your new eternal destination becomes heaven. (Praise God for this!) But salvation is only the beginning of the story - there is renewing of the mind and emotional wholeness to be had here on earth... and those things come from spending time in God's presence. I stole the next few sentences from a random article online but I think it's well spoken so here you go: Some think brokenness means you have to be sad and gloomy, walking around with a frown on your face. Many imagine that broken people never smile or laugh. In reality though, brokenness brings a release, which produces a profound sense of joy and peace in our lives. True brokenness is not a feeling or an emotion. It is a choice- an act of the will. It is daily agreeing with God about the true condition of your heart. Who are you REALLY? Only you and God know. Many of us never go this deep with God, but brokenness is a shattering of my self-will. The total exposure and surrender of my will to God. It is saying, “I cannot do this anymore on my own. Yes, Lord, here I am.” Brokenness is the stripping of self-reliance and the acknowledgment of our total dependence upon God.