Renovation of the Heart

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.  But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  Philippians 3:12 NLT

I had been tearing pictures from design magazines for years, and had quite a portfolio of ideas collected in anticipation of building my dream home. There were lovely images of warm, elegant bedrooms, functional, inviting kitchens, efficient, well designed offices and fun-filled family rooms. I even had a bag of stones in the colors I love: red, green, yellow, brown, gold, and copper.

We purchased our home two and a half years ago. I still remember the mixed emotions I had the first time I drove up to, parked my car and gazed at the possibilities. I had no trouble seeing beyond the dreary color of paint and the pitiful shrubbery. When I stepped through the front doors, the immediate potential of the structure was staggering. Without question, the task was monumental- far bigger than I had imagined.  In truth, I felt overwhelmed at the magnitude of the job I had chosen to undertake.  Where to begin?

The bathrooms and kitchen were full of outdated cabinetry, and, were finished with a white, shiny-type coating that didn’t match my decorating plans. The tubs and showers were leaking; the kitchen looked like aliens had designed the cooking area, and the carpeting showed years of cigar-induced burns and other unpleasant mishaps. Some of the doors were warped and in need of replacing, the stairwell carpeting was unraveling in places to the point that you could see the bare, unfinished wood beneath.

The entire house, floor to ceiling was beige—not a speck of color anywhere—and I’m a girl who loves color. The plastic chandeliers had that 80’s disco feel—very groovy. All I needed to complete the scene was a mirrored disco ball hanging from the ceiling in my living room and Andy Gibb piped in on the stereo.

I enjoy a challenge, but I was beginning to think that I had bitten off more than I could chew. The look of absolute delight on the contractor’s face as he took a gander told me the rest of the story—this was going to be expensive. Cha-ching.

With every change we made, a new problem surfaced.  Sometimes it was a plumbing issue, sometimes an electrical glitch…but it didn’t take long to realize we were in over our heads, financially and emotionally.  We wanted this house, but could we afford it? Renovations that we thought would take us four months, ended up taking nearly a year and costing us three times our original budget.

In spite of the fact that the whole project was beyond exhausting, the glad day arrived when we packed up our belongings from the cramped little condo we’d been living in for months, grabbed the dog and cat, and made the exciting trip to our newly renovated dream home.

We were amazed at the finished product. It was all I had ever hoped for and more. Down to the last detail of the artistic touches on the kitchen cabinets and the faux paint on the entry pillars; everything was just as I had imagined, only better.

Jordan’s room is painted with wall murals of trees, grass and lions, and offers the illusion of stepping into a jungle. Meagan’s room is finished in European flair with embellished touches of gold and orange.  The living room has angels painted on the entryway ceiling, an inviting welcome to any guests who enter our home.

As I stood looking at the vast transformation, remembering what the house looked like originally, I marvelled at the majesty of its conversion, and I began to think about our journey with God.

When first we ask Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, He must see the monumental task of all that needs to happen. And yet, we are His dream home, the place where His Sprit desires to abide.

Jesus moves through the rooms of our hearts, one by one, with careful examination. When He’s taken a full inventory, He begins cleaning out the unnecessary burden of false expectation, erroneous beliefs and human imperfections. He sweeps all of our mistakes into a heap and washes them away by the power of His Word. He never remembers those errors in judgment again. He heals the wounds of our hearts and strips all the old wallpaper and paint from our fractured souls.  And only when He’s completed the cleansing of the old, does He begin the development of the new. Jesus knows our potential. He is patient as He changes us bit by bit, knowing it is a life-long journey.

I renovated my dream home in months. Jesus transforms us over a lifetime. He’s in no hurry, because He’s interested in our journey and already sees the finished product before we take even the first step.

Budgets and cost over-runs are no issue for our Savior.  Jesus pre-paid it all. He had the perfect plan for the price of our spiritual renovations. He gave His life, the flawless, sinless sacrifice for all our mistakes. Our reconstruction cost Him everything and He gladly gave it, so that we may become that complete and finished creation He knew we would one day be.

I can agree with the great Apostle Paul as he said, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.”

I now understand that the perfection is in the journey.  How grateful I am that the Lord has a vision for me—one He’s painstakingly pursued from the day I invited Him into the rooms of my heart, and will continue to pursue until He’s finished the good work He began in me. I’m glad Jesus doesn’t get exhausted or frustrated with the process, then throw up his hands and quit!  Because of His patient endurance, I’m on my way to becoming His dream house; the perfect work of His hands that continually shapes me into the glorious image of Christ.

©2008, Tamra Nashman

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