One of our goals for this year as a family was remodeling our bathrooms. We have a great friend who works in the remodeling business, and in preparation for our project, we sat down with him and planned out what we wanted to see in our new bathrooms. New colors. New tile. New vanities, tubs, fixtures. As we sat planning, it was so exciting! We looked at our calendar and decided on the date we’d like to start the remodel and what we projected as a date to finish. Get the work done before the holidays. That was the plan.
First step: Budget for, and order all the necessary tile, fixtures, trim, paint, mirrors. Man, there’s a lot of stuff that goes into a new bathroom. And we were doing TWO. Twice as much stuff. And yes, twice as much cost! Who knew a faucet handle cost more than my first car? We were confronted with the cold hard cash reality of the cost for our renovation. The Lord Jesus cautioned in Luke 14 that you shouldn’t start a project unless you know you have enough money to complete it. And my wife was somehow convinced she didn’t want to settle for a bathroom sink with no handles. We checked and re-checked our budget. And then, we ordered the tile, the tub, the fixtures, the trim, the paint, the mirrors. The puzzle called renovation has a lot of pieces.
Step Two: Demolition of the old stuff. I started with the guest bath. Better to destroy one bath at a time, we thought. Wow, what a mess. Dust. Noise. Chaos. Disconnecting water supplies. Removing the old toilet. Tearing out sheet rock, pulling up the old tile. We had to have a huge trailer just to throw away all the rubble. It made a bigger mess than I had anticipated, to tell you the truth.
Step Three: Replace every single thing we spent nearly three days ripping out with brand new elements. New tile. New toilet. New tub/shower. New vanity. New fixtures so we could actually turn the hot and cold water off and on. We even budgeted for a new bathroom window to let more light in.
I am pleased to report that, after nearly nearly five weeks (it’s been a very slow process) bathroom number one is just about finished. And before we start on bathroom number two, I have some observations:
- Renovation of a bathroom costs a lot, but it didn’t take every penny I’ve got. The renovation of my life? The renovation God is producing in my life cost Jesus HIS life, and the ongoing daily work in me demands that I die … daily.
- Renovation of a bathroom demands demolition. No room for the new stuff unless the old stuff is trashed. The demolition of my old ‘self’ is a noisy, messy, chaotic … reality. If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. Old things passed away; behold all things have come new.
- Renovation of a bathroom, thankfully, finally comes to an end. Our new bathroom is beautiful. My wife loves it. The demolition and renovation of me? Well, let’s just say I’m still under construction, but my wife loves me anyway.
One of the biggest mistakes a follower of Jesus can make is underestimating how costly dying to self can be. Why is it that the ‘trashy old things’ in life are so easy to hang on to? Why is it such a challenge to understand that to have true renovation of heart, I have to allow God to rid me of old ways in order to make way for the newness of His life in me? And perhaps most difficult of all to comprehend?
The construction project on my bathrooms will come to an end in a few weeks. But God’s messy renovation of the space call “me” … continues to be a work in progress. And it will last for a lifetime.