“..if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”-Ephesians 4:21-24
Construction. Just seeing that word fills my stomach and mind with dread. Construction means things slow down, traffic gets jammed up and there is a mess going on around us. Construction also means that time is going to get slowed down and eaten up with work. Construction has an element of the unknown as well because we’ve all seen timelines get completed demolished because of something unforeseen. In general, while most of us want the outcome the new construction brings, we don’t want the hassle. We want instant gratification, not process. Except God.
God is a God of process. He’s all about the transformation process and the journey, not the outcome. He knows that if we’ll stick with Him, follow His blueprint for our lives, the outcome will be beyond what we could have imagined. And because He knows this, He becomes focused on the construction process. The challenge is us. Will we allow Him to do the work He so desperately wants to do in order to be the outcome He so desperately wants to show to the world?
In a few days, I’ll celebrate four years of giving my life to God in a deep way, deeper than I ever had in the past. At each step along the way to becoming a disciple of Jesus, I’ve felt like I was deep as I could get and then God invited me deeper. There has never been a time in this process when I didn’t experience pain and beauty. There is both pain and beauty in letting go of my old self and taking hold of my new self. The past four years have been filled with tears of joy and triumph as well as sadness and defeat. I’m finally realizing that this will be the rhythm of my entire life: letting God demolish the old and rebuild the new.
Here’s the deal though…God may blindside you. Very few people would be jumping up and down screaming for God to rip their lives apart. I believe God prompts to say a seemingly harmless prayer like “Lord, bring me deep water faith”, and by praying that lovely prayer, you invite God to drown you and bring you back to life. My prayer looked like this, “God, remove any barriers that keep me from being close to you”. This prayer unleashed God to move in my life in ways I had absolutely NO idea were even possible! The construction began immediately and hasn’t stopped yet.
Just today I realized a painful lie I have held about myself: my greatest value to the people around me is in what I can buy for them. As we enter into this holiday and gift-giving season and I have no income, my thoughts are all about what I can’t do for people now. Why will people like me when I can’t buy them a gift? How will I show my love when I can’t take them out to dinner? You see every year of my adult life until this year, I’ve had plenty of money and honestly, too much money. I didn’t see that I had translated my worth to the people around me into what I could buy for them. I didn’t realize that I had replaced my personal value with my financial value. Talk about a barrier that God is removing! And as I said above, God blindsided me to get me to this place. Had I known a year ago that leaving my career would bring me here, I would have absolutely said, “no thanks God”. And yet, now that I’m here, I feel so much more deeply God’s love for me and my own love for those around me. I’m getting a better grasp on how much a gift time is over some knick-knack or meal out.
Being under construction is beautifully painful and you don’t want to miss this process. You have no way on earth to pray for it other than to pray, “Open me up, Lord, and remove the barriers that keep me from You. Walk with me into deep water so that You can remove the old self and rebuild the new”. And then, sit back and watch what God does. He’ll do more than you can imagine, I promise. It will hurt and it will be a struggle, and it will be amazing! The only way to have a truly unchained life is to have unchained construction at the hands of the One who created you…Abba God.
If you need a prayer partner, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.