Monday, August 15, 2011

renovation.

  “A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.” 
– Joan Didion

Sometimes I wonder why spiritual growth is painful, why it comes and goes like waves, why my awareness of the presence of an all-knowing Creator and loving Father is so often determined by the people and places that surround me.

My heart both bursts full and quietly hurts, and I wonder: Why?

Imagine my surprise, then, when the answer came, not out of Scripture, but out of an obscure quote -- undoubtedly taken out of context -- placed in Country Living magazine.

Don't get me wrong: I love Joan Didion and Country Living magazine (though, hey, I never expected to reference the two in the same sentence). I just never thought they would remind me of an oft-forgotten theological truth.

The spiritual growth process is painful because it's not always what the heart wants.

If my heart belonged to me, I'm sorry to say I would have turned in the towel a long time ago.

Instead, through this process of wrenching and shaping, loving and remaking, my heart is someone else's. 

Just like an old home belongs to whoever takes the time to mold it and cherish it, refurbish it and love it, my heart belongs to the one who treats me the same way, who takes me on as His own personal labor of love.

And I withhold and clench my fists and stubbornly shake my head, insistent that my way is better, that I know the plans I have for myself, and that, at the very least, I am comfortable right where I am.

It's an interesting concept, that my heart, like a dilapidated old shack, needs serious help before it can become a hospitable host for the Spirit that belongs there.

And I'm reminded that with all the hearts out there to care for, to shape, and to love, He chose mine.

He chose me.

When Jordan and I one day plunk down the cash for our first home, it will be because we searched and we traveled and we thought and we calculated and we knew: This is the one for us.

I think sometimes that must be the most appealing part of reformed theology, the idea that God hand-selected and chose you out of the crowd. There was a song, popular on Christian radio when I was in high school, that talked about being one in a million faces. And I love this idea that God may have picked me out of the masses, designed and created me for a unique purpose, then saved me from myself.

Some days, it's a painful process. But I'm comforted by the fact that He loves me. He remembers me most obsessively. And His goal, every day, is to transform me into a more beautiful creation, a unique soul designed in His image.

* image of Caitlin's home, via DesignSponge

11 comments:

sherri lynn said...

Great post! It is such a painful process at times but I'm so thankful for the patience of the Lord!

Sugar Mama said...

Funny how things come to us in the most unusual forms. Who I choose to spend my time with greatly determines the condition of my spiritual growth; being either the teacher or the student (usually the student).

The symbolism of the home to our heart that you use is awesome and very, very true!

Leslie said...

I don't always know what to say, but your blog touches me deeply even when I'm not commenting. Actually, probably most when I don't leave a comment. It's just so heartfelt and real. The content is shining star in a sea of superficial and unnecessary.

Chelsea said...

"why my awareness of the presence of an all-knowing Creator and loving Father is so often determined by the people and places that surround me."

I feel like this SO often, but never really been able to put it into words. This post is great, and much needed!

Elizabeth Dean said...

Thanks Annie- these words really got my day started in a great way.

Jennifer said...

Wow. That is a beautiful analogy! This was exactly what I needed to read today. I've had some painful "renovations" lately and I wonder why...but He is just renovating and making my heart more like His. Thanks for this!

chet said...

“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.”

Until the white man comes and takes it from you.

<3

your brother.

rach. said...

it'll be over in no time! no worries!

love, rach.
www.so--hi.blogspot.com

Krysten @ After 'I Do' said...

Wow, first time on your blog and this is incredibly touching.

Annie said...

amen. i love this. the pruning and refining is difficult, and i often seek to shy away, but it is His promise that He will work until the appointed day to perfect us, and that He will walk us through any fire that stands between now and then.

Kristen said...

wow - what a moving introduction into your blog. i love this post. (i also love that pillow)
xx kristen
mikie and kristen