So, as my last post talked about, my family and I are working on a kitchen project the last few days (and will be the next few as well). Our cabinets needed some serious help. They were painted poorly the last time they were done (long before we moved in) and the white paint was starting to chip to reveal an “interesting” green underneath that was who knows how old. So, rather than just going the easy route and painting over it, we decided to strip them down to the bare wood, sand them down, prime them (which I did today), and repaint them (starting tomorrow). As we were working on it all , my wife and I got talking about how there are lots of metaphors about life in this project . One is the unsettledness of it – everything from the kitchen is moved into different rooms of the house, the dog is freaked out about it, we don’t have a place to really eat right now, we have a mini-kitchen set up in the basement, and so forth. In the unsettledness of the time of our life right now in discerning call and next steps, it seems to fit.
Another came out of the process of getting down to the bare wood. It took a LOT of work to get the layers of paint off. It took several coats of paint stripping gel, lots of scraping, lots of mess (peels of layers of paint, paper towels, etc), some more scraping, realizing when we thought we were done that we had forgotten to scrape on section, and the list goes on. I reflected on the dee process of personal growth that I have been on the last 4-5 years. It is not easy to dig deep into emotions, experiences, memories, families of origin, personality, expectations, highs, lows, stories, etc etc etc. Sometimes it is easy to go into those places while others take a LOT of difficult and sometimes painful work. But it is worth it. It is worth every bit of it and I wouldn’t trade the last 4-5 years with everything that has transpired for anything because I am a different person today. If anyone ever tells you that personal growth is easy, they haven’t grown themselves. But true transformation and renewal is so worth every bit of scraping, getting into every layer, and realizing that there is something beautiful not just that will come out of it, but something beautiful ultimately that is underneath it all. And when the project is finished, we will not only celebrate what it looks like but also remember the process it took to get there.
Maybe that’s why I love the story of Peter in the New Testament. Peter is rarely portrayed in the Gospels as having everything figured out. He does some amazing and beautiful things but he also really messes up. I am grateful for Paul who understood his own brokenness even as he boldly proclaimed his faith in Jesus. I am grateful for the layers I have come to see in myself and the ways that I have seen a deeper picture of the person God created me to be.
And one last metaphor to this…the work is never done. Even as I was priming a few areas today, I saw other things that probably “should be” done but what I felt in that moment was to focus on the work at hand and there will come a time for the next. But that is not for right now.