Seven years ago my wife and I bought a fixer upper. Now when I say fixer upper, I mean it in the best possible way, a house with “good bones” that just needed some help. We have an amazing house, big enough for our rambunctious family of 6, a great yard for the kids to play, and space that gives the ability to host people in our house. It’s a great place, but it is still a fixer upper. We are constantly reminded of the work that needs to be done. Our project list is big and feels like it keeps growing. There are the floors that need to be addressed throughout the whole house, the bathrooms that need to be redone, kitchen cabinets that are breaking, the yard that needs to be reclaimed, etc. Not to mention repairing the things that get damaged from normal wear and tear. Living in a project house can be exhausting and sometimes discouraging.
Looking at the list of projects and knowing that we can’t even start to tackle them yet can sometimes leave us frustrated and overwhelmed. “What were we thinking?” “What are we even doing here?”
We have had those moments where the weight of it all seems to feel crushing and we are ready to call it quits.
Do you know what normally gets us out of those moments? Emily or I will remind each other of where we came from. A little shift in perspective goes a long way. Rather than focusing on all that we have yet to do, reminding ourselves of everything we’ve already done can turn things around. A reminder that our old house, as great as it was, was just too small for our family. Sure it was great to have all four kids share one room, but they were so small back then. Two of the kids are already taller than Emily - can you imagine us there now? Or we will pull out some pictures of what our house looked like when we got it. We have already done a ton of work! God has been faithful every step of the way. He has always provided what we need and carried us through all the tough times.
Those moments of perspective give us the momentum we need and enable us to move ahead.
Thinking about our house and the projects we are working on, the ultimate goal of turning this fixer upper into a dream house is a lot like our journey with Jesus. When we give our life over to Jesus we are the epitome of a fixer upper. The gospel makes it clear that our lives don’t measure up - we need an overhaul. So as we start to spend time with Jesus we build a project list; all of the things in our life that don't measure up. Each of those things needs to be addressed, surrendered and given over to Jesus for remodel and repair.
There are old habits (language, the things we watch, etc.) that need to be changed, new habits (reading the Bible, praying etc.) that need to be put in place. And all the while we can be discouraged and overwhelmed that with all the remodeling that has already been done there is still so much work that needs to happen. Not to mention that although God already taught me a lesson on being patient, I apparently need to go back and redo that one. It’s not surprising that we get frustrated and want to throw in the towel. We still don’t measure up.
At times like these, it’s important to have friends around us who, like Emily and I, can remind us how far we have come and to see the work that God is doing. Yes, we aren’t done yet, and there is lots of work to do. But God is faithfully working things out in us, transforming us to reflect His Son. See 2 Corinthians 3:18. Sometimes we need a shift in perspective, a reminder of what God has saved us from, and to be reminded of His faithfulness in our life. That reminder can give us what we need as we continue our pursuit of Jesus, and give Him control as He tackles our fixer upper lives.
Philippians 1:6: “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”