A few months ago I moved into a new house. Well, I guess I should say it was new to ME but definitely not new. All houses have their quirks, I’m sure, and this 60+ year old house was no exception.
As I was cleaning the kitchen preparing to move in, I found myself replacing some of the shelf paper that was old and torn. Looking in the corner cabinet, I discovered the lazy susan was also covered in shelf paper. I can only imagine how long it took the previous owner to cover this item. Square shelf paper doesn’t cover round objects well. Pieces and strips were put this way and that to get it covered.
I’m sure it served its purpose but this hodgepodge of now SUPER sticky paper became quite the task to get off. It also rarely came off in pieces bigger than a couple inches at a time.
In the 40 minutes I was working on this (before giving up and deciding it was fine the way it was) God taught me a lot about my heart. You see, underneath the red checked paper was a fun, lime green lazy susan. I loved it! It was bright and beautiful. While there were a couple little scratches, I’m not sure why someone would have covered it.
But that’s how it goes with our imperfections. We see a few little things that don’t live up to what someone else sees as perfect. We notice a stain on that part of our heart. We desire something new. And so we find things to cover up our heart. At first, it looks so nice and neat. It looks crisp and clean and SO much better than what was there before. But as time goes on, the covering begins to chip … starting at the edges and working closer and closer to our hearts. Finally, it gets to a point where we realize that we should have never covered up the real us in the first place, but all we’ve ever let anyone see is the fake us and we’re scared to let them see what’s underneath… will they accept me? One glance at our imperfections and we convince ourselves they won’t.
Sometimes, (like other cabinets in my house) when we see the paper beginning to tear, instead of taking off the covering we’ve placed around our lives we just cover it up again. Layer after layer after layer get applied in efforts to cover up what’s really going on deep inside. As long as it looks okay on the outside, that’s all that matters right?
But eventually we get to a point where we finally let ourselves hear God’s pursuing, his asking, his pursuing, “Will you let me take it all off? I don’t want to cover up the bad stuff in you, I want to restore and renew the REAL you, the one I created you to be.”
So the process begins, the layers MUST come off. And it is quite a process! It’s a lot harder to take off than it was to put on… it’s stickier now … it’s become a part of us. But it must happen, no matter what the cost.
Piece by piece it comes off…
“Let me take away your pride,” God says, “and now maybe a little bit of that selfishness.”
“That relationship could use a little healing, too, don’t ya think?”
And the process isn’t pleasant for us OR God. It’s hard to forgive. It’s hard to admit we were wrong. It’s hard to walk back through the pain in our lives that we just swept under the rug or ignored.
“You never let yourself see My grace for that incident… can you accept it now?”
Another chunk is torn loose.
“I need you to depend on Me, and me alone. I’m going to have to take some things away, and it might hurt, but it’s better for you. Can you trust Me? PLEASE trust ME?”
Ever so often a bigger piece breaks loose and our heart feels like it can breathe again!
We begin, slowly, to see our true selves shine through. And we like what we see! That alone is what keeps us moving forward even when we’d rather just stop the process and put another layer over our hearts.
Who knows how long the process will take… and sometimes we DO find some other mask to cover up imperfections. But God, the Master Renovator never gives up on us like I did on my cabinet. He sees the beauty that’s underneath… beauty in the midst of imperfections and as tenderly as he possibly can, daily strips away more and more of what’s not me to restore me to His perfect image in which I was created.
And because of that promise of re-creation, we have hope for today.
“Put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:10)