Everybody loves a makeover story because we love to see the change from a broken down house or poorly coiffed individual into a home with curb appeal and a person glowing with confidence.
What we don’t enjoy nearly as much is the process. Or maybe I’m just talking about how I feel and assuming others feel the same. I never watch home renovation shows all the way through. I watch the beginning and skip to the end. I want to see the beauty, but I often like to skip what it takes to get there.
At this moment, we are in the middle of updating our kitchen. I live in chaos.
Our outdated kitchen was livable, but it needed a facelift as well as some functional repairs. My husband took down two walls, ripped up the flooring, removed the appliances, took out the sink, removed sections of cabinets, and even emptied every shelf when he took the cabinet doors off.
Everything had to be broken down and/or exposed in order to make the repairs and updates necessary. It’s a messy and uncomfortable process that I wish we could fast forward through. But there are no shortcuts.
When we first began to seek counseling, my husband was told, “People stay the same until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of the change.” We didn’t like the kitchen very much from the moment we moved first saw our home, but we could live with it. So we did.
But eventually, we became fed up with the burner that was impossible to adjust the heat on correctly, the dishwasher that ran for hours, the backsplash peeling off the wall, and the water damage under the sink. We needed change because the tools we had weren’t holding up to the demands of daily life.
This is how most of us live. We have coping skills and patterns that we know aren’t exactly healthy, but they are good enough to get us by most days. Eventually though, the demands of daily life become greater than our capacity to meet them well, and we have two choices: we can continue trying to use our outdated and somewhat broken down systems, or we can go through the work of personal renovation.
The problem is that renovation is messy and sometimes painful. It never happens as fast as we would like, and going through the process is difficult. We want to jump ahead to the end product. But there are no shortcuts.
In his book Changes That Heal, Dr. Henry Cloud says that we need three ingredients to become healthy: grace, truth, and TIME. I emphasize time because that is the hardest part for me.
I want to fast forward through the part where everything is laid bare and the rebuilding of each section one at a time. I struggle to sit in the discomfort required to own my flaws. I forget to open myself to grace when I find an area of my life is not fixed yet. I want to jump ahead to the finished product.
So to practice the art of giving time. Today’s post does not end resolved. Instead, it ends in the middle of the process. There are no shortcuts. If we want updated, beautiful kitchens or healthy emotional systems, we need to practice walking through the process, no matter how long it takes.
Please help us to uncover the areas where we can grow, and teach us to be patient and loving to ourselves in the mess. Help us to look to you for our hope and our healing. Teach us to do what we can and to surrender the rest to you and your timing.