At the beginning of each New Year, we have a tendency to evaluate our lives and look to make resolutions. These resolutions are meant to remake ourselves into the person we feel we should be or to try and recapture the person we used to be. And so we look for ways to remodel ourselves like one might remodel one’s own home. However, there is always a challenge that comes with remodeling a home. How much of the old is torn down and how much is kept? Are these repairs on the surface, like patching a few holes in a wall, or something more involved, like window replacement or structural changes? As we draw up plans and designs, seeking to remain true to the original while making it better and more solid than before, we must balance our time, ability and resources.
I face this struggle myself as I seek to live my vocation in Christ. Remodeling my “home,” my life in Christ, has followed a similar course to remodeling a house. Making the required repairs to my life, while staying true to the man I am, is a challenge. The true struggle comes from the fact that I do not own this home I am remodeling, God does. His design for me has been laid out already in His Gospels. Now I have to use the materials available to me, those gifts and talents I have, to complete the job. Simple? Right.
The Gospels provide us with plans and blueprints to remodel our lives. They share concrete and not so concrete directions. My struggle in remodeling has been one of resource allocation. In my planning, I can overlook that the materials I have to work with come from the homeowner, God. Not only did He give me the internal resources I have but he also supplies to me others who bring their gifts to my project. And if these resources are not enough, God provides the essential construction material called Grace, to those with open hearts. We cannot stockpile grace until we need it. We must trust that our heavenly supplier will provide it when it is needed.
There is also a great challenge in working on a house while continuing to live in it. On our spiritual journey, we need to put focus and energy into reforming areas of our lives to more closely resonate Christ and His life as shown in Scripture. While we work on these areas, we might find another area in our life in disrepair requiring a reallocation of resources. And when you work on a foundation, the entire house is affected. Much effort is required to reinforce foundational supports as repairs and replacements are made.
When doing construction, especially on a foundation, there’s an adjustment period required for the home to settle under its own weight again. We need to find a comfort level in moving through new doors and pathways. Since the old habits and practices have a tendency to die hard, we may find ourselves walking into walls while looking for the old passageways. Remodeling and true spiritual growth do not require the complete demolition of the old to be replaced by the new. Balancing between the extremes of all or nothing is what we call life. When this balance is found and maintained throughout this continual work in progress, which is our life, we can then open our home to others and form the community we call Christ. May the Lord Bless you this New Year.
God Bless! Fr Timothy