Thursday, April 17, 2014

What Do You Want Most?

There's always a point in my decorating endeavors when I look at what I've done and think that I've ruined it and all is lost. "What was I thinking? I should have just left it alone."

There are sometimes tears shed while sitting in the floor amid the destruction I've wrought. 

The sanding, uncovering, cutting, painting, ripping apart seem drastic. Painful. More than I'll be able to fix when the time comes for restoration. I look at the mess I've created and wonder if I'll ever be able to put it back together again. Why wasn't I satisfied? It was good enough the way it was. The chipped paint, scratches, ugly color or fabric weren't really all that bad. It was functional if not beautiful.

But I want beautiful. Restored. A treasure.

I want the beautiful lines of the original design to be revealed. There is a work of craftsmanship under the ugly fabric and worn surfaces. The deep gashes left by previous encounters can be sanded away. In the end all can be made new.

But the process...the process is painful.

God often reminds me during these projects that he is up to much the same thing. The original design is under there somewhere if only I could be less resistant to the uncovering, sanding, oiling.

Revealing. Forgiving. Anointing.

I recently upholstered a chair and chose to cover over the original ugly fabric because I was afraid. The cushion was beyond salvation however, with broken down springs and ancient cigar burns. I replaced it with a new piece of foam. Then covered it with a bold new print.

New. Clean. Cheerful. Brave. Beautiful from the inside out. Sometimes the best course of action is to take things down to the core and start over.

A frequent prayer of mine is for God to make me the woman he made me to be. Every time I pray it I think it sounds dangerous. New. Clean. Cheerful. Brave. Imprinted with boldness. How much pain might be involved in getting there is something I've learned after years of walking with him. But when the lesson is learned and I'm another step closer to full restoration I'm glad of all the sanding and scraping. It always looks disastrous at the time while pieces of what I once was lie about waiting to be cleaned up. Remnant dust of the old me.

The process sometimes feels like taking away, removing, dissolving. How much of this can I endure? And then age old cracks get filled in, gouges buffed smooth, the residue of the past is blown away. When I'm bare he stains with his blood, covers with his grace, fills with his love. He never leaves us bare and vulnerable, but this is no cosmetic restoration. It's cosmic. Vast and deep. He cares little about how things look.

He cares what is. With him the depth of the restoration is the thing.

He is interested in nothing but full. Complete. Whole. Reclaimed. Cured. Remade.

There is an intimacy in the bareness and exposure. For all the pain involved, I am thankful that The Restorer isn't satisfied with window dressing. That for the treasure he's working on he will not be satisfied with less than complete restoration. We may want him to haphazardly slap paint on so we can look whole to the outside world quickly as possible. Those coverings quickly chip away to expose shoddy work. That is the kind of work we do on ourselves. Covering. Glossing. Hiding.

We are too happy with the good enough. The good enough life, marriage, parenting, work, friendships, spiritual life. We gladly spot clean and slipcover. We sell ourselves short.

God, however, is about refined beauty and strength. He's more than happy to adorn and decorate a life in order for it to look beautiful from the outside. But before he does that he is looking to reclaim his original design. Unlike me he is the restorer who never thinks things would have been better off in their original state. He never fears he may not be able to complete the task or restore the hidden promise in his project. He is the Master Craftsman from beginning to end.

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