Change Takes Longer Than You Think

And so the renovation begins.... It has taken longer than I thought!

Lessons From The Renovation

I am finally beginning to resurface to my regular life after it turned upside down and inside out.

What caused such a havoc?

A renovation. And not just any renovation- a kitchen renovation. There are dishes in the closets and a microwave in the living room.

The answer to the question, “Where is the …?” receives the immediate answer, “I. Don’t. Know.” It doesn’t matter what it is. Even as the Mom, I am no longer the encyclopedic index on the location of each piece of minutia in our home. I don’t know where anything is anymore.

And I am pretty sure that is what renovations always do. The whole “out with the old, in with the new” process is just a mess. Going through a remodel has taught me a lot. Besides learning that I have too many glasses and 9x13 pans, I have also learned some things about the whole Romans 12 passage.

Romans 12:1-2- “…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NIV)

To “be transformed” - a personal renovation. A renovation of the heart.

I want to “be transformed.” I have wanted that since the day I started following Christ. I want to be less of me and more of Him. I look at the processes of sanctification in the lives of the saints and think, “I want that.”

But I don’t think I ever accounted for how… honestly…painful it would be.

As I have seen parallels between my kitchen renovation and my personal remodel I started calling them my “Lessons From the Renovation.” But, since I can’t ever learn something without desiring to share it with someone, I am sharing my lessons here.

Lesson One: It Takes Longer Than You Think It Will

Any change takes time, and often a lot of time. Home renovations are notorious for stretching past their prospective completion date. We started ours the week after Thanksgiving. Two and a half months later we are finally close to done, but that is much longer than we thought it would take. The timeline kept getting delayed as walls were removed to reveal problems lurking underneath. Or there have been more mundane delays like trying to configure the creative financing of a big remodel on a limited budget.

Even now that we are closing in on completion, there are still minor and some major details that are not finished.

Transformation takes a long time, whether a kitchen or a heart.

I started walking with the Lord over 30 years ago. There have been starts and stops. There have been hot and cold periods. There have been times of rapture and times of despair.

Each experience has transformed me in different ways. They have wrenched me away from the “world’s pattern” which kept drawing me in. But I have to be very honest here: I am not near as “transformed” as I think I should be or could be. Those pesky, besetting sins are still around. I still struggle with being impatient, moody, frustrated. I easily get hangry (if I am in a bad mood it is almost always a good idea to eat something and see if that improves the situation.) I say yes to too many opportunities and then get frustrated that there does not seem to be enough time for all my commitments. I fall into ingratitude as I compare my situations with other ones which seem easier or better.

I believe God is transforming me, but after three decades I think I should be further down the road than I am.

My heart renovation is taking exponentially longer than my kitchen renovation.

How Do I Keep Going?

One of my other besetting sins is to get easily discouraged. But when I do, God reminds me of a truth from parenting. When my kids were little and we would need to walk for a long time, they would become weary and start to lag and whine, so I would often just take their hand.

There was something about taking their hand that added my strength to theirs.

As I get weary with the lengthy heart renovation process, and begin to lag and whine, my best bet is to reach up and take the Lord’s hand. Because as God’s unlimited strength gets added to my minimal supply I am able to keep going.

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24