Around a year ago my husband and I bought an 1890s villa. It has good bones but its background had left it with lots of decorative scrollwork…a little confused…and quite tired.
My own decorating style is more simple. Think straight lines…simple, classic. Calm colours and quiet moods. For this reason we have been slowly making changes since we moved in. The latest project has been painting in the dining room. We had some very plain wood panelling on the lower third of the walls which gave the room a very dark appearance. Not wanting to pull it all off and rejib it (and plaster, sand, plaster…..) I suggested to Peter that we try out paintable wallpaper, which just happens to come in a tongue and groove pattern. In reality the new jib and plastering would have been his job so he was open to giving it a go.
Having decided that we would need to paint the skirting boards and railing white too, we started to paint the panelling. That is when the domino effect kicked in. Having painted the wallpaper and skirting boards I really needed to paint the door frames. The doors were in a terrible mess. (Someone decided beautiful Victorian 4 panel doors needed to have a flat panel put over the inserts and then painted over it. Someone else had removed the panel but left the door with a white border and wooden middle. As I mentioned, a confused house.)
So…. We painted the doors. All this led to needing to paint another door frame and the French doors. I would like to do more drastic things but the threat of a much more serious game of dominoes is holding us back at this stage. (Think chimneys, removing fireplaces and totally replacing rooms of carpet.)
What, you may ask, has this to do with God’s work in my life? Well, aside from obvious lessons of learning patience and other wonderful Christian virtues, I have been pondering the analogy of this whole process to that of sanctification. I suspect that there will be more than one post written on this topic.
The thing that struck me this week was the ongoing process of change. Our dining room has been evolving and changing for the whole 15 months we have lived here. When the electrician was here, we asked him to remove unused plugs and to add a few. The original light fitting in the room decided to die at the same time and so another job for him was to move the chandelier from the hall to this room. Curtains were replaced. Later wallpaper was removed…and removed…and removed. A mural discovered and that too removed. Walls rejibbed, and painted. Decorative scroll bits removed (YAY!). Each thing happened when the time, people, or circumstances were right for it. None of them finished the job, but each thing brought us closer to the vision I have for the room. Even now I am scheming about dining room furniture and door hardware.
Becoming more like Jesus seems to me to be a very similar process. I know for sure that the big picture right now isn’t what I want it to be. I know I have so far to go. Over time though, I can see that God is working on and in me. He sends just the right people across my path and just the right circumstances. Some of them are welcomed and others seems to be a problem. He uses all of them to change and mould me. As He challenges me about an area, it becomes more obvious to me. I know that I need to deal with this now. Having spent time working on it, having depended on God’s grace and seen Him at work in me to change that area, I am then much more able to see the area next to it, which wasn’t quite so obvious before, but now stands out.
I am also aware that there are issues I feel that I have dealt with but that God will eventually bring me back to undergo Phase 2.
Finally, there are those areas which I know need to change but when I look at the investment required in my time, or more accurately usually, in humility and ongoing change, I just don’t want to go there. I decide I can live with those things. This is an area which is different to Home Improvement though. For us, given restraints in finances, expertise and time there is wisdom in “living with” some less than perfect elements of our house. As a Christian though, I am not faced with those constraints. God has promised me that
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
When God reveals to me an area where I need, by His grace, to change then I can be confident that He will provide that grace, and whatever else I may need along the way.
I find this hard. There is more than one reason for this. I don’t see the issue as big enough. I don’t want others to see that this is an issue for me. The change which is required may cost me more than I want to pay. However, mostly the thing which stops me grabbing onto that grace and taking hold of all that He has promised in this verse is pride.
” … “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ” James 4:6b
As I enjoy my vision for my little dining room emerging with each little change I am challenged and encouraged again to be open to the change God wants to bring about in me. Slowly but surely He is transforming me into the likeness of His son and one day I will be like Him.
I have linked up to be part of Monday Musing’s at What Joy Is Mine