Two months ago, we moved into our new house. Every wall was the same shade of off-white and the floor varied from grey carpets to white tiles. It was at best, clean and neutral, but it felt like it had no soul. We did our best to unpack and make our mark on it with varying degrees of success in all but one room: the living room. This room at the heart of our home and family life, needed more and it needed a carpet! And so, unlike the many boxes in the rest of the house that we have slowly been unpacking, the ones in the living room remained packed and piled in the corner in anticipation of the new carpet.
Fast forward a month, the room was measured, the carpet was ordered and Christmas was upon us! With a very excited 3-year-old in the house, the tree was erected and tinsel put up – finely draped over the boxes still stacked in the corner. That was until this weekend when the carpet was finally arriving.
We set to work taking down the tree and moving all our furniture and still-packed boxes out of the room. It was horrible! The room which was empty to begin with, looked even more bare and lifeless now that the tree and lights had also been removed. Where boxes had become a familiar, even comforting sight, now there was nothing but the plain walls and bare floor. I have to admit, I found it difficult to look at – it was not home, it was just a box.
But today, something amazing happened. Not only did the carpet arrive and the fitters do an amazing job, but our living room was suddenly transformed. I realised that these last two months I had mistakenly taken the familiarity of my room as being ‘homely’ when in fact, it was just boxes I had learned to live with. Yet with a carpet in, there was now so much more it could be, and everyone knew it. My eldest daughter so delighted with the change, was now twirling away on the new soft flooring, my youngest was rolling on the floor without us feeling anxious of her hurting herself and the addition of our furniture as we moved it back in, only added to the joy that we all felt. This was now our home!
And just like my living room, God wants to change what is familiar in our lives, even that which we have mistaken as ‘homely’, and instead, give us so much more. He doesn’t want us to live with a ‘make-do’ set up or have what is second best, but He wants to give us the very best there is for us, and it is right there for the taking!
In order for us to have it, the old has to be removed and the room cleared. Jesus came that we would have life and life in all its fullness, and that means that we must often go through a time of stretching and testing before we come out the other side. When Jesus was on the lake in Galilee, He didn’t make the disciples wait until there would be no storm, He made them get in the boat knowing there would be so that they would learn and grow! And the same is true for us. Just as our room needed to remain in boxes and then be cleared out before the new arrived, so too must we be prepared to box everything up and allow God to clear us out, making way for the new. It isn’t always easy and we will often hate the process; but if we allow it, what is given in return is life!
As we start the new year, let us ask the Holy Spirit to reveal if there is anything in our lives which needs removing so that the way might be made clear for God to bring in the new and better things He has waiting for us.
Holy Spirit, thank you that You want to bring me freedom and life. I submit to You. Show me the room in the house of my life you want to work in today. Where is the clutter, the broken furniture, the unpacked boxes I have attempted to beautify with tinsel? Where are the cobwebs and the threadbare rugs? What hang-ups, half-truths and unhealthy habits have I become so familiar with I can’t see for what they truly are? I ask for forgiveness, cleansing and healing to make space for all You have for me. Amen.