I moved into a new house this year, and it has a lot of quirks. Whenever someone asks one of us that lives there if we like it, we usually respond with “It has character.”
This house is old. Like 1940’s old. And it’s held up by some shaky columns of bricks. I know this because there is a door that goes underneath our house. Comforting, I know.
It doesn’t have a single right angle. The door frames are crooked and if you drop something on the floor, it is likely to roll to the other side of the room on its own. Along with being uneven, the floorboards on the top floor of the house move and creak so much when you walk on them, you feel as though there is a trap door somewhere. Or that you’re just going to fall through the ceiling into the living room.
One day my roommate Allyson was getting ready in her room, and she noticed a bright light coming from the floor. Upon closer inspection she realized that it was actually the sun shining off the rocks on the ground beneath our house through a hole in her floor. Again, comforting.
We have lots of roach friends. LOTS. I’m thinking about starting to name them. And we have fireplaces that don’t light.
Our house has a lot of flaws.
But there’s one thing that I love about our house. In the evening, as the sun is setting in the front of our house, we have this amazing view.
And there is a small window at the top of our front door that normally I don’t like because when people are standing there they can see you in the house, but since I’m short…I can’t see a thing. But as the sun sets in front of the house, light pours in this small little window and the patterns of the glass make striking patterns on the wall in the living room.
It’s like seeing a wall-sized kaleidoscope right in front of you. And it is beautiful.
I think that’s what we need to see about ourselves sometimes.
Cause I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a LOT of flaws.
I’ve got partially webbed-toes, first off. I mean, what’s the deal with that?
I’m opinionated, sometimes self-loathing, many times brutally honest. I drink diet coke like I’ve discovered the fountain of youth. I get stressed. A lot. I weigh more than I want to weigh. I laugh louder than some police sirens. I absolutely hate cats.
Yes, hate is definitely the right word there.
I don’t brush my hair. Ever.
I am sometimes judgmental, many times prideful. I gossip even though I wish I didn’t. I complain. I don’t trust.
This list could go on forever…
I many times say that I don’t like these things about myself. I don’t want to be this way anymore.
I mean, I can’t even count how many times I’ve prayed: Dear God, please help me love cats.
Well, actually I can. I have never spoken those words. I am fine with hating cats.
But regarding other character flaws I really can’t count how many times I have said the words I want to change.
I should know that every time I start a life-changing statement with “I” that I should just quit while I’m behind.
Life change doesn’t begin with me. It never has.
Also, there is the word want. And here is what I know about my wants. Oftentimes, my wants are self-serving and self-glorifying. Maybe not always, but a lot of the times. My wants are fleeting, simple, often sinful, and worldly.
Lastly, there is the change. What I need is not change. I have plenty of that. And what changes can often change back. My changes are physical, temporary, and unreliable.
What I really need to remember is that it starts with Jesus. Always. From the beginning of time to eternity. Jesus is the do-er. The healer. The redeemer.
Secondly, it’s not what I want. It is what I need. God knows your deepest needs, and he supplies them. He is the provider.
Also, I don’t need change. I need transformation. A chemical, permanent, from the inside-out kind of transformation.
I think when we live the “I need to change” lifestyle, it brings us to a hollow and angry place. A place that’s filled with apathy or maybe frustration. It’s a trap, and I think it’s just what Satan wants from us. He wants us to think that we have to do it alone. That it’s our problem and we need to figure it out before we can move forward.
But I think when we rest in the gospel, in the truth that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, that we are freed from this trap. When we let Him work in and through us to bring about the transformation we need. To be more like Him.
He shines His light through us, just as the sun shines through the window in my house, and He makes us into something beautiful. And despite all the things that are wrong with us, God uses our weaknesses to show His strength.
Because that is what God does. He takes people that are broken, that are sinful, that are rebellious.
He takes people that are flawed, and He uses them for His glory.