So, did I tell you that we are renovating our home? It’s been a huge pain. We started making plans almost 2 years ago, and then marching through the actions necessary: decisions, contracts, decisions, movers, decisions, temporary quarters, decisions - did I mention how many decisions there are that need to be made? Nightmare.
Anyway, we’re coming near to completion, and as I was walking through our condo complex today; I noticed something. From the outside of each unit - you can’t tell who has renovated their original 1980 Formica, linoleum & layout - and who hasn’t. They all look the same as you pass by.
And it hit me - that’s just like us.
We all have these bodies we’ve been given. And in these bodies are the souls we’ve been given. You can’t see into a soul; and so, it’s hard to tell who has updated theirs - or not.
Because updating a soul takes as much, if not more, work as updating a home. There’s the decision at the beginning, of course, to get the work done. Am I going to work on this soul - or is the Formica-crust of irritation, impatience, anger, fakeness, etc. not that big of a deal to ME?
(I say ‘to me’ because I can guarantee; it IS a big deal to those who have to live with you. Trust me on this one.)
So, you make the decision, sure - I’ll give it a shot. Well then comes the contract. WHO are you going to listen to? If you’re going to work on your soul, you’re going to be working WITH someone to get the job done.
For ‘there is only ONE Lord, and He does NOT share power!’ (Wisely spoke Gandalf in Lord of the Rings).
So, you need to determine whether you are going to have a Contract with the Only One who can REALLY do the job well - or if you’re going to rely on yourself and your ‘spirituality’… (which, quite frankly is, well… still just yourself).
Stop for a moment and envision how great your house remodeling job would be if you were the one knocking down walls, rerouting plumbing, installing electricity, laying down flooring, tubs, showers, tiling…. And on and on and on.
The mess that you would create at the end would most likely be similar to the mess you make trying to redo your soul using your own ‘spirituality’. We hire experts for a reason. And what works in the natural world, works in the spiritual - and vice versa. God is pretty simple - He doesn’t try to reinvent the world to achieve similar ends - he already has a pretty solid system in place.
But once the ‘contract’ is signed; you need to step up and do your part. Each day there are new decisions: do I read God’s word to determine how to respond to these situations, and to gain the actual power to do so - or just let the world control how I react? Do I learn as much as I can about getting better at living this life - or just bounce along hoping somehow that wisdom will just ‘come' to me? Do I reassess how I’ve been contributing to this mess I call my life, and try to make changes - or just keep throwing the trash on the ground and wondering why I’ve got mice in my kitchen?
Changing a soul for the better takes work; that’s why it’s known as a ‘Renovation’ of the Heart. Let’s face it; I scrubbed that old 1980 Formica and Linoleum as best I could - but it was never going to look new. I even laid some fake looking wax on the floor - but it still looked like linoleum. I was fooling no one; let alone myself.
So, we called in the experts; and now we are days away from walking into a sparkling, bright, beautiful new home. It’s kind of, well… heavenly.
I was in a Christian Zoom class the other day when someone shocked me. It was a woman I had met through the class, and we were discussing our faith walk. She came out with some insane comment like: “Well, Susan, I was never as good as you obviously were when you were young; I just didn’t have any faith like you!”
It was like hearing a person tell you, honestly, that they thought the world was flat. Where ever do you begin?!
But it made me realize that, after 35 years of working on my soul’s renovation - people actually CAN see the difference. Because if they ever gave a description of me now to someone who knew me then - they would both assume they were thinking of 2 completely different people.
And none of the credit is mine - it all goes to my Contractor. Who really does do amazing things with the most pitiful of places - and souls.
So, I ask you, when people ‘open’ the door to your soul - what do they see? Is it the same old thing with a fake veneer of polish that fools no one - or is it sparkling clean with the fingerprints of the only One who can make it, well… perfect?
YOU, and you alone - make the choice.
Ashley and Susan
Two women asking the world to not just hope, but to Hope in Love.