The other day, as I wrapped up a weekend filled to the brim with painting and projects and tried unsuccessfully to get all of the paint off my skin and out of my hair, I enjoyed a moment of satisfaction as I reflected on all that I had accomplished in a few days. But it was a fleeting moment as I began to compose a new mental list of all the things that still needed to be done and the things I didn’t have time to do. A quick walk around my home soon had me kicking myself for the lack of rugs, the messy carport, the disastrous garage space, the blank, artless walls, the undressed windows, the unfolded laundry, and the overgrown lawn. A quick assessment of the rest of my life had me soon doubting my worth as I quickly racked up the ways that I fall short, and I began to feel like my house: a seemingly hopeless work in progress.
I sometimes fear that by occupying this pretty little blog space, I will deceive people into thinking that my life stays wrapped up in a tidy bow. I brag on my husband (rightfully so) and show pictures of positive progress and talk about eating healthy and having a lovely wedding. It is both my biggest fear and my guilty secret hope that people will think I am more impressive than I actually am. You see, all those things are true, but they are only a part of the big picture. They are the shiny things amidst a storage locker filled with dirty old messes.
As I have fallen in love with DIY, I have come to see so many correlations between making a home and life/my relationship with Jesus. Perhaps one of the biggest examples of that is the fact that a home is never truly “finished”; it is constantly a work in progress. As soon as you say it’s done, your pipe breaks and floods your bathroom or you realize that things would be that much better if you could just find a different couch. And every improvement reveals a few more things that need to be fixed.
I feel that way today. I feel that way every day. As soon as I feel that I’ve mastered one area of life, tackled one bad habit, or accomplished something to be proud of, I find a handful of other things that need attention. As soon as I lay down after a hard day’s work and allow myself to feel satisfied, I scroll through Instagram and see a dozen other “friends” who had a much more glamorous day than I did. Then I think of the music I didn’t write and the future that seems so unclear, and my meager accomplishments fade into the background.
Paul says in Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message), “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
The NIV says it this way, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
That is a perfect way to summarize my thoughts. Not only do I think that you are worth more than you think and that you have accomplished more than you give yourself credit, but I think it’s ok to admit that you are still a screw up working toward a goal.
My home is a work in progress. I post the pretty photos, but oh if you could see the closets today. If only you had experienced the bugs before we started extermination treatment, you may have chosen never to come visit me again. I, too, am a work in progress. My life isn’t perfect, and although the internet may say otherwise, your life isn’t perfect either. But there is beauty in the progress. My life is a string of “before and after” because the Lord is refining me day by day. And every time I begin to “master” an area of life, He gently reminds me that I have so much work to do, and it is work that can only be done through Him. It is in that work that He is glorified and that I am refined to become the person He wants me to be.
So, don’t be discouraged today by your work in progress. And don’t allow me or anyone else to make you feel “less than.” Everyone can put on a nice front, but everyone has cobwebs in their closet. It’s in the clean up that we find peace and realize our need for a beautiful, wonderful Savior.