Several years ago we bought a house. This was the first house we owned. It was a pretty big deal for us. There were some changes we wanted to make to it. The beautiful thing about owning your own house is that you don’t really need to ask for permission, you can just do it. When we purchased the house, there was carpet throughout the living room and hallway. We didn’t really love the carpet and wanted it removed. One day, one of our friends, Aimee, was over. We were discussing the carpet and she reached over in the corner and pulled up part of the carpet. She was amazed at what was underneath. Beautiful hardwood floors were covered by this dull boring carpet.
We immediately started doing research on how to remove the carpet and how to refinish the hardwood floors. After doing the research, we decided to move forward with doing this project on our own. I rented the sander, sandpaper and all the other necessary items.
Now both Heather and I knew what to do. We had watched several youtube videos. The guy at the rental store even told us what to expect. That makes us experts, right? Well, even if we both understood what should happen, it didn’t prepare us for what happened next. We removed all the carpet, tarped all the hallways and doorways etc. The rooms were empty. The house was prepared and there we stood waiting for the next move. We prepared the machines and I stood in the middle of the living room ready to begin. As I started the sander and began the process, I looked over in time to watch my wife walk out of the house. Even though we both expected it to be loud and messy, she needed a few moments to brace herself.
As we started this process, sawdust flew everywhere. The old layers of stain and polyurethane were removed, revealing the true beauty of the floors.
Even though we knew it was going to be loud and messy, we had no idea to what expect. It was shocking to both of us.
Sometimes as a follower of Jesus, I know what to expect as Jesus begins working in my life. I know that parts of my life will need to be modified. I shouldn’t return to sinful ways of living. I shouldn’t click on that website. I shouldn’t rely on substances to get me through the day. As Jesus begins the process of removing my old ways of living, it’s painful. I don’t like it. I sometimes want to stop the process.
Some of us have done that in the past. We’ve stopped the process of maturity and renewal that Jesus wants to do in us. The process of removing the old is just the beginning. The process of revealing our potential and beauty isn’t easy. It isn’t fun. It’s actually messy, but it’s so worth it.
Once the process of removing the old is complete, we can begin to put on the new. There would be no point in putting on the new until the old is gone.
I am reminded of a time when I foolishly tried to cover up a huge mistake I made with a tractor while on the job. I accidentally ran the tractor into a concrete structure that scratched the paint right off of a decent sized area. In order to not get fired, I decided to find the same color of paint in the barn and repaint the damaged area. My boss, the farmer, came into the barn the next morning and didn’t say anything. The paint job wasn’t perfect but it was good enough to fool him… that time. I took the tractor out again to get some work done. When I returned it; however, the new paint had worn off. It looked so bad. It was obvious that something had happened. I returned the tractor to the barn hoping my boss wouldn’t notice. This time my boss asked me what happened. I was caught. He mentioned to me that he thought the tractor had looked a bit odd in the morning.
I really tried to think of some excuse that would cover my butt. In my 14 year-old-life, I had never really had to deal with something like this before. When I admitted what I had done, he laughed. He knew the whole time. He had watched me run into the concrete structure the other day.
He taught me the proper way to fix a major screw up like that. The area needed sanding and I had to remove all of the other dust and debris before repainting.
That day I learned a difficult lesson. In order to truly repair the affected area, the old had to be removed.
There are so many kinds of lessons like this, whether it’s painting a tractor or refinishing floors to reveal their true potential. There are times when we need to realize this lesson in our own lives. This is called discipline. When we encounter discipline, we can either avoid it or embrace it. I’d encourage each of us to embrace it. Learn from it and mature through it. Avoiding discipline may allow us to ‘feel’ good, but in the long run, we are only going to repeat our foolishness.
What area of your life are you avoiding discipline? What area of your life, if you practiced discipline, would improve by simply embracing discipline? Don’t avoid it. Don’t cover it up. Embrace the whole process! Your true potential will be revealed as you do!