by Joanie Butman
I’m currently in the middle of two renovation projects – one intentional, the other by default. Project A was carefully thought out. Project B was born out of necessity and began unexpectedly without thought or direction. As you might expect, the designed one with blueprints went smoothly and efficiently with a general contractor managing all the moving parts. Conversely, Project B began with no advanced warning, no planning, and no one supervising the various workmen involved with installing a new bathroom, which is why we now have to climb over the toilet to enter the shower. There are exceptions, but for the most part plumbers aren’t known for their design sense. This small bathroom is predictably taking longer and costing more with less than ideal results. Who knew installing a 5x8 bathroom could take longer than building a pyramid?
The reason I even bore you with a home improvement tale of woe, which are a dime a dozen, is its glaring analogy to my spiritual life. Here’s a universal truth: when no one’s driving the bus, you get nowhere – FAST. Your choice of driver, also known as a general contractor in this case, is probably the most important decision you’ll make in life. God is the ultimate GC, meticulously overseeing all the details of our lives. What's more, He’s left us a blueprint for life through scripture. Even so, He rarely reveals His plan for each of us in its entirety. He only gives us enough information for the step we’re on – much like the plumber only gets plumbing plans, the electrician gets electrical plans and so on, none of them knowing or even seeing the end result. It's this element of mystery that makes life such an adventure, taking all kinds of surprising twists and turns. However, despite not knowing all the details or what the end product will look like, when we allow Christ to manage our lives, we will get to where and who He wants us to be sooner.
True, we may not know the plan, but we do know:
1. God is good.
2. He knows what He’s doing.
3. He is always trustworthy
That’s more than I can say for most of the general contractors I’ve worked with. Does that mean we always agree with His plan? Hardly, but I’ve paid dearly for veering from His original design for me. He has no Plan B. It’s just a matter of how long it takes us to get on board with Plan A. We’re the only ones intent on implementing our own alternatives. Trust me, and I speak from experience, it DOESN’T work.
Furthermore, trying to manage a project (or a life) long distance is even a bigger challenge. You need to be intimately involved in every stage of the process if you expect to achieve the desired outcome or to fulfill God’s plan for you. In other words, you need to be in His presence continually. He is always available whenever we seek His wisdom and guidance. Sadly, that decision isn't always my default, but I’ve learned over the years life is so much easier and less costly when you yield to His direction in the first place by choosing Him as your supervisor.
During any makeover it's essential to employ someone trustworthy who can handle any situation that crops up; and believe me, there are plenty of surprises during any restoration – especially those of a spiritual nature. Let’s face it, a spiritual home improvement project is a life-long endeavor and one that needs a loving, patient, reliable, unfailing General Contractor. Attempting life as a D.I.Y. project is always costly, just like many of my do-it-yourself projects at home, because inevitably, I eventually have to call in a professional to fix the mess I created. Sounds eerily familiar to my spiritual life.
Why not choose to rely on the One who planned the BIG picture to help you stay true to His original design created uniquely for you? Whether you’re building a house or renovating an existing one, you can probably relate. Regardless, we’re all building a life. The quality of that life depends on how we go about it and who we trust to guide us through the process.