When I first lived on my own, like really on my own—no roommates, I moved into a pretty old duplex with some hideous wallpaper. Fortunately , I knew the landlord and got the okay to paint should I desire. I desired. I couldn’t manage it all my own. A few friends came by and of course my loving mother pitched in. Some of it just wouldn’t give. Instead of trying every possible avenue to get all the nooks and crannies that were impossible to get off, we cheated and painted over some places in my bathroom. My public apologies to who ever moved in after me. I gave it a go.
Sometimes life can feel like a series of pulling off ugly 90’s wallpaper only to find another layer underneath. If you’ve ever lived in an older home or your parents still live in the same one since you were a child, chances are you’ve dealt with the madness that is taking down old wallpaper.
Through seasons of change and rearranging, discovering and growing, we often find as we peel back one layer of ugliness to discard , we simply find another. It’s wearisome and disheartening at times. Most of us, if we get real honest, will admit it’s easy to look around to see that other’s have shed that pesky layer long ago. The truth my friend? We all have some layer of ugly 90’s wallpaper hiding beneath the surface. A piece of us we either can’t scrape away or won’t let go of. Many times we slap some paint on it, try to cover up what’s underneath. No amount of paint will change the fact that there’s always going to be something in us that just doesn’t look like Christ. On the flip side, if we seek and desire to look like Him, there will always be a part that does.
I’m finding the more I get discouraged about the work that’s yet to be done I miss out on all the possibilities in what I can do now. We aren’t all Joanna and Chip Gaines. We can’t remodel our rundown “house” in a week. What we can do is focus on the layers of us that are there with purpose. The stories they might tell and what we can figuratively pull away as we peel it back. The time spent can be agonizing at times, down right painful and uncomfortable, but from what I’ve experienced, always worth it. All the ways we try to make ourselves appear more put together on the outside will never make us feel the way He already calls us. You my sister and brother are a new creation. Bought with the color red. Washed and re washed time and time again. And though you’re exhausted, there is nothing more beautiful then genuinely discovering every day how to be the person He designed you to be. The awkward quirk you view as a problem, might just be relatable.
If we don’t cheat and paint over our messes, after some hard work we have a chance to start fresh. Sometimes the wall will still need patching up after you’ve ripped off some of the dry wall. It’s okay, they have stuff for that. It’d be nice if in its similarity to life that we could simply go to the store to pick up what we need for the patch job. Chances are if you’re willing, there’s a community out there willing to help you with that. They surely can’t do it for you, but they can lend a hand.
If you’ve read this far I’d like you to know that I’d like to lend a hand. I certainly don’t have all the answers and I fall short daily. However, there is a passion that burns deep within that longs for me the share the words He’s given and to seek every outlet of love He deems fit. I’m reminded of a passage I read recently. In all of Paul’s letters to the church he always notes that he is in prayer for those he is writing. In Philippians 1:8-11 he writes:
“For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
As I peel back yet another layer of my own, I’m challenging myself to pray over these words and the eyes that happen upon them before I hit send. Like Paul, I long for myself and others to abound more and more in love. To do so there is wisdom and discernment needed in the in between of now and glory. If you aren’t where you thought you’d be and your going through a rough season of ripping sin from your life with teeth gritted than know that I am with you. The rewards you will find in being real with yourself and others will far outweigh the pain it will take to make your home new.
Already But Not Yet,