Remodeling jobs can be amazing, frustrating, surprising, and agonizing all at the same time. My husband is a model remodeler! He has the ability to “see” what something will look like even before he begins. Whether it is his idea or mine he first will sit and imagine what something will look like at completion and then begin drawing it. Once he sees it in his mind’s eye his creative juices start to flow and he will often describe to me. This is usually pointless because no matter how hard I try to “see” what he describes I can’t, any better than I understood the diagrams he used to draw me for directions when I was going somewhere. I would look at the paper and be completely turned around from what he was communicating. Praise the Lord for cell phones and the GPS so I can hear words directing me left and right. Words I get! Pictures, diagrams, and using my imagination present more of a struggle.
This can be frustrating for both of us and even after over thirty years together he keeps describing things to me the same way hoping I will finally “get it” while I keep trying to “see” what he “sees”, hoping the light bulb will go off and I can envision, to no avail. However, when any project or remodeling is done and I am finally looking at what he saw from Day One in his head, I am impressed beyond words because he always creates something useful, beautiful, unique, and awe-inspiring. His ability to see and create is a huge gift which blesses me and others as well as keeps our home ever-changing.
In his latest remodeling adventure he recreated a living space in the basement by transforming two rooms, a former office/music room and a bedroom/family room, into one large and up-to-date family room. The first thing he did was knock out the wall between the two rooms and finish off the ceiling and walls with sheet rock and wood. What a difference that made in the whole “feel” of the basement. Then he removed the molding, painted, ripped up the old carpet and laid the new, and lots of other small tasks. After a mere two weeks, my husband had renovated our basement into a wonderful new living and play area.
Once his job was done it is my turn to make it “homey”. Because I cannot “picture” the end result before actually “seeing” it, this process can take weeks or even months because I have to move things around so many times it can get ridiculous. My family knows when I get that “look” as I scan a room so they disappear knowing Mom is going to ask for help moving furniture around, and around, and around. For most people it isn’t an issue but I might want the same piece of furniture moved five times in one session, setting it in different places and positions before I am satisfied (for the moment) because I can’t “see” it until I “see” it. Even then I will probably move it again the next day. My family also knows I am rarely open to their suggestions (since I can’t “see” it anyway) therefore they feel no obligation to help with my rearrangement adventures.
So when it came to making our new room just right, I was ecstatic as we brought everything back in and the process of arranging began – well at least I was excited in the beginning! It didn’t take more than a few minutes though for my ecstasy to turn into frustration when it became apparent the old things didn’t fit into the new. How could this be? After all, we were just returning what fit nicely in our two smaller rooms to this large one. Then it hit me! (I know – you already figured this one out). By removing the wall we had “opened” things up but we had also eliminated sixteen feet of wall space, where my antique children’s desk, shelves, antique sewing machine, and miscellaneous totes of supplies (junk) were previously set up.
Now what was I to do? My husband and I sat looking at each other and I immediately knew by his expression without a word being spoke what HE wanted to do – get rid of things. It is at these times I choose denial instead of reality so I quickly went through the pixels of my brain to find another solution other than the obvious. There had to be a way to keep and fit everything into this room. Denial never solves anything so I moved into reality as my husband continued to simply sit, look, and wait for me to come to the same conclusion he was at from the get go. The Lord also reminded me in that moment what He taught me years earlier “Less is more” so I quickly inventoried and agreed to part with my beautiful high back seat along with the high desk my husband made especially for me, an antique children’s desk and chair, a file cabinet, a homemade bookshelf, along with lots of small things. Most of it went to our children, and though I willingly gave it away, I’m not saying it made me overly happy. Oh – and lest anyone think I am left with nothing, here is a picture of some of my husband’s handiwork. He has more than amply provided and even let me fulfill a lifelong dream of being a librarian in my own personal library!
After we got rid of some things and I continued working in the room I couldn’t stop thinking about the effects of taking down one wall. The open space and fresh look is amazing! At the same time we had to part with some special things. This is true for most remodeling projects – some of the old has to go in order for the new to come even if the old isn’t bad. It just doesn’t fit into the new.
As I pondered this, God said the same dilemma exists in our spiritual lives. Use your imagination here! We have walls that divide and keep His blessings in our lives organized. These walls represent our thoughts, emotions, theologies, and the like. Along these walls we store, stack or display blessings, many of which we don’t use or give attention to very often. These blessings can include such things as new revelations from the Word, visions, dreams, signs and wonders, healings, miracles, and increased intimacy with God to name a few. We like “having” the blessings and don’t necessarily want to give them away even though we might just “shelve” them or stack them in our thoughts or theologies (walls), rarely if ever looking at them or displaying them to others. Then God says it is time to remodel and we need to knock down a wall or two. We like His idea because we get a sense of freshness thinking of new things plus we know there will be more open space to explore the depths of God. All of this is very enticing.
So we go ahead and knock down a wall or two (a theology or way of thinking) and though it is hard work, it is very satisfying when we can “see” new potential. We feel God’s presence and His remodeling work in our lives is great UNTIL we try to put the old stuff back into the newly refurbished area. It is only then that we discover it doesn’t all fit anymore. We were open to the remodeling job but without even knowing it, we expected He was going to let us keep all the old stuff along with the new. After all, the old stuff wasn’t bad, right?
And this is the marvelous truth the Lord gave me and wants to convey to us. Very often our “old things” have a hold on us and in that case we must break away from those mindsets or strongholds. But in this remodeling scenario, God would say the old things are blessings not curses and they do not have a hold on us but we are holding on to them in love, admiration, perhaps even thankfulness to God. But…we still need to let go. The truth is we will always have the memories of what God has done in our lives and can build upon those things while embracing the new He is presently doing. So instead of keeping our minds, hearts, and lives filled with the old while trying to fit them into the new, we are to simply give our blessings to others as they recreate and remodel their lives. In this way, though we may not actually “possess” the blessings anymore they will be used by someone else in a fresh, new, open way instead of sitting in the damp corners of our lives. We might as well stop trying to fit all the old into the new, since there is simply not enough room for what God wants to do in our new, freshly remodeled lives.
God took me to an interesting place in His Word to confirm this truth. Leviticus 26:2-9 tells how God rewards His people who diligently seek Him, who obey, and who keep the Sabbath day holy. He sends rain in due season, gives an increased bountiful harvest, provides more than enough to eat, lets us dwell in safety, assigns peace in the land where we have no fear of our enemy, bestows on us fruitfulness and multiplication, and covenants with us. As a result “You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new.” (v.10). This reveals the old harvest was so plentiful when the new came in the people would not only still be able to enjoy the old but have enough to give away to make room for the new. Now that is great news isn’t it?
How does this all fit with our remodeling job? It is simple! The “old” is not bad! And giving old things away, especially those items we treasure, is a good thing. God was bountiful then and He is bountiful now. He encourages us both to enjoy and give away some of our “old” stuff to make room for the new He wants to pour out on us. I suppose we could say there are two options when God opens the floodgates and gushes forth with blessing. A. Give some away to make room for more. B. Build bigger houses. But I would suggest we go with Plan A as our only option otherwise we may end up losing our souls like the rich fool did in Luke 12 who built bigger barns to hoard the harvest so he could eat, drink, and be merry.
We should give away as abundantly as God has spilled over into us so we can receive more so we can give more away so we can receive more so we can give more away. I trust you see the cycle here! Malachi 3:10 reads “Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing there will not be room enough to receive it.” Perhaps many of us are not experiencing the more because we aren’t making room for the new! There won’t be room enough t o receive it all but that doesn’t stop God from flooding us. Make room people! We do that by moving the blessings along!
It might take some time to remodel and give things away but let’s be serious about clearing out so we can flow in the new. Remodeling is a never-ending process and it is good! Just remember: Out with the old; in with the new! Not because the old is bad but everyone gets to remodel and everyone needs some new old things or some old new things. Eat of the old and clear it out because the new is coming!