Ashley McComb | Video Producer
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me […] Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
P S A L M 5 1 : 1 0 & 1 2
After four long years of enduring through the unforgiving housing market, the Lord blessed my husband and I with the purchase of our first home! In the midst of answered prayer, we couldn’t be more smitten with the home we now get to do life in. As you can imagine, there is a lot we are already learning with being new home owners – like where is that noise coming from, what’s making it, and how do we fix it?
When snow-mageddon hit earlier this winter, my husband and I suited up to shovel our (very long) driveway and — don’t laugh — I couldn’t have been happier. Yes, it was miserably cold, took a lot of time, and left me with some solid aches and pains afterwards, but I was thankful… because we actually HAD a driveway to shovel. I was so happy that I actually took a photo of us to remember it!
As I reflect on that day now, I have to ponder: will I be ready and thankful the next time we have to shovel our driveway? Or when our furnace dies? Or when who-knows-what decides to break? Will I still be so thankful I want to take a picture of it? Let’s be honest, probably not. Who wants to raise their hand with me and say it can be a struggle to find Paul-like joy in prison-like situations? Do we really want to share our tough, broken moments with the world? Or do we want to hide them away and pretend they don’t exist? It’s easier that way, right?
Let’s flash forward a bit to when my parents came over for a visit and my mom kindly suggested we consider getting new carpet in our living room. Really? The carpet looks decent enough! I mean, way better than what we had in our apartment, at least. And besides, is this really a need? This sounds like it will require a lot of time and energy. That’s what was going through my mind. But as my mom began pointing out things I hadn’t noticed before, I started to see that the carpet really was in need of some love. So, we decided to re-carpet our living room, and with that, we decided to pull up the old carpet on our own.
And oh, my, goodness. Pulling up the carpet… well, let’s just say it wasn’t a pretty sight. While it looked decent enough on the outside, our old carpet was hiding some pretty severe stains and issues underneath. Hands-down, it needed replaced.
Just like our old carpet, sometimes we need a parent, spouse, friend, mentor, and of course, Jesus, to gently point out and help us see the parts of ourselves that need tending to. When we’re running around, doing work, taking care of our families, grabbing groceries, facing our spiritual battles, and serving others…it’s easy to miss the wear and tear taking place on our spirits. The next thing we know, we’re worn out, blindsided by discouragement (or whatever else the enemy throws our way) and wondering why we’re struggling to endure. That’s where I’ve been, sweet friends. I probably looked pretty decent from the outside doing all the things I needed to do. But from the inside, clearly, I needed some care.
When we step back and surrender at the feet of our Father, He will begin to do the necessary renovations and restoration to our hearts. Sometimes He needs to peel back a few layers and help us see the painful truths that lie beneath. At all times, He longs for us to lay our burdens down and be still with Him. To listen to His voice. To let Him make us new. Our brokenness, tiredness, and imperfections don’t surprise Him. He is ready and able to mend the damages left by others, and refine the impurities of our own hearts.
RENOVATE – to restore to good condition; make new; refresh; repair; the process of improving a broken structure
RESTORE – to reestablish or return to an original condition/owner
So how do we do this? How do we come to terms and pinpoint the things in our lives that are (knowingly or un-knowingly) wearing us down spiritually and keeping us from Christ? How can we pick up our shovel — for the snow or in ministry — and continue to pour out our lives for Him with unwavering joy?
The DROSS has got to go.
What? Don’t know what dross is? Don’t worry, I didn’t either. But as I was laying out my heart with a friend, she sent me a verse with the word in it which compelled me to look up its meaning. In the simplest of terms, dross is waste, or matter of little value. It’s the impurities of our lives, those little (or big… or really big) things that creep in and turn our focus away from Him. It’s the sins, distractions, unhealthy relationships, and circumstances trying to cloud our minds. Sometimes it’s a million wonderful things filling up our schedules. They’re the things we need to put time and energy into, to be real with, bring to light, and to hand over to the perfect Father who can cleanse us.
Remove the dross from the silver, and the silversmith can produce a vessel.
P R O V E R B S 2 5 : 4
The restoration may be ugly and painful at times, but it is worth it. And while our brokenness was already paid for on the cross, we are all in daily need of our Savior. It is a process, and there is beauty in the restoration. So, in prayer, repentance, and a posture of humility, God will make clear the dross that needs to go so He can refine and establish us as His vessels – full of joy and ready to proclaim His goodness in every season.
We don’t have to hide or sweep our brokenness under the rug (yes, pun-intended). We don’t have to be perfect either. We simply need to come to the feet of Jesus, again and again, and let Him be the one to restore our hearts, shape us into His image, and secure our identities. Because after all, HE is our home.
Additional scripture references: 1 Peter 5:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17