By Candace Cortez
Happy Saturday! My husband and I just returned from our 10 year anniversary trip to Italy! On one of our tours, they explained a part of the restoration process on some of the art and buildings. The Colosseum, for example, has recently been cleaned, which you can tell the drastic difference between cleaned and uncleaned portions by looking at the layer of walls on the inside compared to the outside walls. It was shocking to see what pollution can do to stone.
I believe many of us are like those buildings. We feel like we have our lives together for the most part. We feel strong and capable. When we don’t feel those things, we have a hope we can get there eventually with enough hard work. Especially living in this culture, our independence is a trophy in itself. This feeling of self-security makes it difficult to depend on God. When we do get brave or desperate enough to surrender a part of ourselves to the Creator’s hands, we begin to see the difference between the old us, and the restored us.
My parents were dumpster divers, always finding old unwanted pieces of furniture and bringing them back to beauty and purpose. This sounds awesome, but the process was difficult. There was sanding, scraping, chemical treatments, ripping off old upholstery, and sometimes replacing parts completely. When we surrender ourselves to God, He begins to do work in and through us. The process is not always fun. Most of us live our lives feeling fine. Choosing to be fine. It is not comfortable to realize you’ve been worn out and broken this whole time. We get used to and sometimes fall in love with the things that are broken in us, and shy away from the idea of being restored.
I have missed many areas in my life that still needed work, because of this feeling of being restored enough. After years of working and surrendering the parts of me that appeared the most dysfunctional, I have noticed a slowing down of the restoration process. I do not believe this is because God has deemed me “back to new”, but because I have lost sight of the inside layers that are still filthy. Yes, the outside seems restored, but just like the inner layer of the Colosseum, the comparison from inside to outside is kind of shocking.
If we are not careful, Christians can stop at the outer layer. We can say, “ok thanks God, I look better, and I’m all ready to do whatever You want. You’ve taken away those addictions and helped me get better at using my resources wisely, I’m good to go from here.” If we get here, another scary thing can often happen. We can start to point the finger at other people who are not as shiny on the outside and determine that they need more work than we do. This is where the Pharisee’s found themselves. This is where I have found myself so many times. But God works in a way that’s complete, comprehensive and all consuming. He doesn’t want to just make our life appear better. He wants to restore every layer back to His original design of relationship with Him.
Some of us have been working with God a long time letting Him restore our hearts. Some of us are just getting started. Some of us don’t even realize that we need any work. But the truth is, we’re all broken. No matter what stage of the renewing process you are in, God is still wanting to do more and the results are incredible. If you’re feeling finished today, let God reveal another layer and do His thing.