Surprise. Drama. Conflict. Community. Compassion. Generosity. Construction. Tools. Creativity. Teary-Endings. Can you connect the dots? Any guesses as to what these words are describing? If you guessed Spring training – you’d only be partly right. (As a life long Mariners fan – Spring Training’s end always brings tears – knowing there’s 162 games of painfully constructed lineups and uncreative ball playing ahead!) What I was actually describing is the host of emotions and qualities found in the TV show Extreme Home Makeover.
I was reminded of this show last night when we had nearly 150 high school students gathering in our church building for their first team time to prepare for our annual Spring Break trip to build homes with Amor Ministries in Mexico. As they came flooding into the sanctuary I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the impact that this group of friends and strangers were going to have on the lives of 13 different families, as well as in the lives of each other.
One episode I remember watching was on well over a year ago. This particular episode highlighted a family whose home was full of mildew, dust, and other arial garbage that their children were having a severe reaction to. For years the family stayed in the home that was stealing the lives of their children because they had no other financial option, as all their extra money went to medical bills. They were stuck trying to heal their children in the very environment that had made them sick! The Extreme Home Makeover Team tore the home down to the foundation and started over from scratch. They had to build a completely new environment for this family to live in.
In the book Follow Me to Freedom, written by John Perkins and Shane Claiborne, Shane Claiborne says something that mirrored what I was watching on TV with the condition of my own spiritual and social condition. Shane said:
“Sometimes folks ask,’What about the poor in spirit? Rich folks need Jesus too.’ That’s true, but too often we pretend that we can heal in the very environment that made us sick.”
So now I am asking myself: What condition is the life I’ve built around me now in? How willing am I to hand God the hammers and the nails to build me a new home to restore my health? The intention is never to live in a place that perpetuates our own hurt, but over time we often find ourselves in a place that keeps contributing to our brokenness, blind spots and often times, ignorance. I see this so often with teenagers but also within us adults who are trying to help. We like to patch the walls instead of tear down and allow God to remodel.
In Christ all we have to do is bring our honest mess to him. He’ll begin the remodeling process. In the show there’s a whole crew that works on building the new home in seven days. Our own transformation must be rooted also in community who desires to see us live more fully into the image bearers of God that we are. This won’t happen in seven days, seven years, or seven decades. Transformation is a life long process of building on Christ’s foundation. By allowing Christ to draw the blueprints of our life, we begin to see much more than just a house; we begin to live into our full inheritance that is His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.