We’re more than halfway through our series about life as a work in progress! Thanks so much for hanging in with me this week. If you’re new here, welcome! I’m enjoying the new faces and feedback and appreciate your taking the time to come visit my little blog! If you’d like to check out the series from the beginning, feel free to check out the sidebar to find the posts in order (or see the links below).
This week we’ve been looking at life change and transformation from a designer’s perspective, and how similar it is to the home remodeling process.
Phase IV: Progress
There are 3 important things to know about progress:
1. Progress uncovers problems
It’s exciting to begin the construction process and natural to want to plow ahead and get to the part where things are beautiful again. But so often once the layers of old stuff begin to come away, we find a problem that needs to be dealt with.
Sometimes, it’s an underlying issue we kind of knew about but hoped really wasn’t that bad. Once it gets exposed, though, it’s evident we can’t just cover it back up. It needs to be addressed so it won’t cause problems down the road. Imagine you install new flooring over dry rot. Two things can become problematic: 1) the dry rot may cause weakness in the floor that will be more costly to repair later, and 2) the problem is going to get worse if the cause of the dry rot is not identified and corrected.
When problems creep in like a fungus they have a bad habit of not going away on their own. We have to deal with them intentionally if we are going to move on! There are times when the problem is so severe the area has to be gutted.
Sometimes what needs to be gutted are poor decisions or behaviors that aren’t in line with God’s plan for our lives. Not too long ago I killed an orange tree in our backyard. Or it looked that way anyway! I cut it back so drastically that by the time I was done with it, I was sure it would die. What happened was that I removed the dead branches to give it room to thrive. The following year I watched it fill back in, and the next year we had oranges. Like a healthy tree, our lives must be pruned so we can grow optimally.
2. Improvement illuminates the ugly
After the demo, repairs and reframing are complete, we finally get to see the project take shape. The project starts looking less and less like a construction zone and more like a new room. It’s exciting to watch it come together!
As new fixtures and surfaces get added, an interesting phenomenon happens: we begin to notice how old, outdated and shabby other things in the area look by contrast.
In our own lives it often works the same way, especially in the areas of health and spiritual growth. As we adopt healthy changes in one area, we begin to more easily identify (and desire to change) other areas in our lives that could be healthier. And as we begin to draw closer to God and grow in our faith, He shows us areas we need to be more disciplined in.
“My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.” Hebrews 12:6, 10-11 (MSG)
3. Good work takes time.
At the beginning of the project there is a certain level of excitement that comes from seeing changes on a daily basis. But after a while, progress slows down. Sometimes the changes are happening so slowly, we don’t see any noticeable change when we see it every day. We get frustrated and feel like nothing is happening.
Part of my work involves visiting the jobsite to check in with the client and see how things are coming along. It’s always a delight to walk in and see how much progress has taken place since my last visit. But from the client’s perspective it looks about the same today as it did yesterday. When we live through a transformation, it’s hard for us to notice the progress. It isn’t until we see it from another perspective that we recognize how far we have come.
Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of the series, when we’ll talk about the BIG reveal!