Inviting the Messiness of Transformation

This post is part of a new project that I’m working on. Visit Jess Alston’s website to learn more about the Dig Deep Podcast.

A few years ago, I participated as an assistant (i.e., hand me that weird-shaped thing that looks like it might do something useful) for the world’s longest bathroom renovation project in my home. Isn’t it lovely how these home makeover shows cram days, weeks, even months of destruction into approximately 23 minutes of air time? I feel confident that I expected this same tidy and quick experience when my friend’s angel of a father agreed to help me turn a half bath into a full bath to accommodate my many long-haired roommates. Three women to one shower isn’t the ideal ratio.

We excavated concrete. (Read: I handed him water after he excavated concrete.) The remodel project took about a year, and I was ready to quit about 2.5 hours in. I only had eyes for the mess. Between the plumbing issues and the millions of decisions to make down to the color of the grout, I forgot why this project mattered so much in the first place.

Transformation. Let me tell you, I bet I’ll never feel prouder of a bathroom in my life. And I wasn’t even the one doing the dirty work! But I joined him in the mess. Bucket by bucket, we hauled out the mess to make room to pour the new concrete slab—a solid foundation.

My new roommate moved in recently, many years after the remodel. Sure, she likes the bathroom and appreciates the private shower. But she will never fully appreciate the transformation because she skipped the part of digging deep, the patiently waiting for all the digging to pile up to absolute beauty. It’s not her fault, she just wasn’t around for the part where we decided to build with quality, investing money and time for an end result that really gives that “WOW” factor. That bathroom looks nothing like it did before.

As Jess says, digging deep is kind of scary because you’re delving into dark places. It’s risky. There are a lot of unknowns.

So let’s link arms and risk it all together. Here are the nuggets I’m clinging to this week:

  1. It’s always worth the mess. It never feels like it in the building stage, the part where the demolition and the dirt and the dust overpower your vision for a beautiful future. And feeling stuck in the mess can certainly feel like being stalked by a bulldozer. Willingly entering a construction zone is not for the faint of heart. But it’s worth it, it’s worth it, it’s worth it. Let’s keep reminding each other of this truth.
  2. One will stand. And one will fall. There’s no room for debate—when the storm hits, the house built without a foundation will crumble. The house built on a solid foundation will not be shaken. We know all too well this week with Hurricane Florence that the storms can’t be avoided. They will come. And I want to be the one left standing because of my solid foundation. What about you?
  3. To dig deeper, you just do it again and again and again. There’s so much power in repetition, in going through the motions even in times when that burst of motivation escapes us. I’ve felt the joy in celebrating at the end of a group because of the power of showing up to the same place at the same time every single week.

So we have a choice to make: Will we put on our working clothes and commit to digging deep? Will we invite the mess, do the dirty work of transformation? Will we sign up for a project that won’t be a tidy and quick one-room renovation, but that will transform our entire lives?

And will we believe that our God is capable of more than we could ever dream up on our own?

Luke 6:46-49

6 thoughts on “Inviting the Messiness of Transformation

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