Devotions

When Things Get Worse Just Before They Get Better

October 13, 2020
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)

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Home renovations are so very similar to heart renovations.

This is something I’ve been learning over the last couple of years as I’ve watched my nearly 30-year-old home undergo several renovation projects. They are not for the faint of heart. These projects cause a mess, the results are sometimes slow to take shape, and the process can feel never-ending.

With each floor that’s torn up, wall that’s removed and plan that’s put in motion — I’m paying attention. As I’ve seen portions of our home demolished beyond recognition and put back together again, I’ve jotted down some important lessons I’ve learned. And I want to pass them along from my journal to yours.

1. You have to tear some things down before you can build back up in new and beautiful ways.

It’s impossible to see true transformation unless you remove the damaged and unhealthy portions first. Houses and people are alike in this way. Sometimes we have to remove what was so we can move on to what can be.

2. Working on the foundation isn’t the most appealing or attractive work, but it is some of the most important.

Jesus spoke of this truth in Matthew 7:24-25: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”

I especially love how Eugene Peterson paraphrases our key verses in the Message translation: “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit — but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.”

Building our lives on anything but God’s Truth will result in a shaky foundation — a detriment to any building project before it even begins. We must put in the necessary, hard work of building our lives and our faith on the solid ground of Scripture through the consistency of daily seeking God.

3. Not everyone is going to like what you’re doing.

Change invites both compliments and criticism. Sometimes people criticize what they don’t understand. My counselor, Jim, often tells me, “People are down on what they aren’t up on.” While change is good, people who don’t like change will be the last to call it good. Just remember what comes out of someone else’s mouth is a reflection of their heart, not yours.

People criticize what they don’t understand.

4. It’s good to stay humble enough to realize sometimes you need to get the professionals involved.

Some things you can do on your own, and some things you can’t. Many small repairs can be handled without the help of a professional, but most large renovations that require major work must be handled with care by those who are skilled and experienced. The same is true with the deeper emotional work in our lives. There are doctors, Christian counselors and therapists trained to bring renewed health and restoration to both body and soul. My family and I have benefited greatly by bringing in the professionals in seasons when it was necessary, and we’re so grateful we did.

5. Those who don’t lose sight of the progress being made will find joy in the process.

And it’s always a process. Renovations often make things worse during the tear out and early construction phases before things start to get better and more beautiful. The same is true with healing the human heart.

Heart renovations, like home renovations, take diligence, patience and a whole lot of prayer. But with God as our Master Carpenter, we can live assured in the process … we are a beautiful work in progress.

Renovations often make things worse before they get more beautiful. The same is true with the healing human heart.

Track the progress you do see. Be patient with the setbacks. Celebrate the wins, even the small ones. Stacks of small wins turn into big wins. And eventually, you’ll be so glad you pressed through the renovation when you see the beauty of all the hard work.

God, thank You for the work You are doing in my heart and life. Help me have patience in the midst of these renovations. And help me see the beauty that is taking shape and the joy that can be found even here in this season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES

Get honest about the relational hardships preventing you from being emotionally healthy with 12 questions to help you move toward healing now with the help of Lysa TerKeurst’s FREE resource, “Stop Dancing With Dysfunction: 3 Days to Setting Better Boundaries.” Sign up here today.

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What if forgiveness is the necessary step to finally experience the peace we desperately want? Discover what the Bible really says about forgiveness and the peace that comes from living it out with Lysa’s new book, Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. Preorder your copy now.

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REFLECT AND RESPOND

Which point from today’s devotion encouraged you the most in the midst of your own heart and life renovations? We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.


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