Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Upgrade

"…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" -Phil. 3:13-14
I'm back! I realize I haven't posted anything to the blog in a few weeks, but life has been super crazy. Why? Because we decided to do a…. (insert organ music here) REMODEL of our kitchen, laundry room and downstairs bedroom and bathroom. We contracted out for some of it, but we also did a lot of the work. For several weeks, I came home from work and went back to work until bedtime. But the project is finished and the remodel looks great. It all came with a figurative and literal price. I work with people all day long choosing to move on through difficulty. I admire them so much because they're making the choice to grow and improve their lives. Most people don't make that choice. Why? Because most of us, and I do mean us, are content to live with out-of-date kitchens. We're okay (sort of) with our broken dishwasher and stained cabinets. As we should, we "count the cost" and decide it's not worth the change. It's wise to consider what it will take to make changes, but nearly always, the right choice is to pay the price. Consider what has to be paid to do an upgrade: We have to be honest about where things stand. Like someone said, "Denial isn't just a river in Egypt!" (If you don't get it, feel free to call me). How many times did Jeanie and I say, "I can't believe we lived with this messy kitchen." But it's so subtle. We miss the obvious. We don't realize the mess unless we allow others to speak truth to us. Those we love know us better than we know ourselves and if we listen, they will encourage us in ways to grow. We need to listen to them and be honest with ourselves. We have to be willing to tear out the old. That might be my favorite part of remodeling. I love tearing out the old stuff. Demolition is a blast! But it also hurts. I kept thinking, "I paid a lot of money for that appliance that I just sold for NOTHING!" But we have to let it go. There is no way to install new appliances if the old ones are still there. The company out of Springfield said as much when they instructed us," the old appliances need to be removed before we deliver the new ones- that is your responsibility." That was our job, not theirs. Change is always difficult, because we like what's familiar. We're used to it. But we have to let it go. We have to add the new. There's a huge home north of Fort Worth that we pass every time we drive to my mom's home. It's a large house that began to be remodeled nearly 30 years ago. Apparently, right in the middle of it all, the project was abandoned. Perhaps they ran out of cash or someone died. So the house sits today unfinished and deteriorating. The old was removed, but the new was never applied. In Ephesians chapter four, Paul challenges the church to "put away" a bunch of negative attitudes." But then he challenges the church to "put on" kindness, tender-heartedness and forgiveness. If we don't replace the old with the new, we leave a void that can quickly resume the old habits. Sure, upgrades and remodels always come with a cost, but it's worth the cost when the investment yields its reward. It's always best to "press on" and move forward. Be prayerful, ask God for the strength to make the change and move on. Pay the price and make the change. And enjoy the new kitchen. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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