Renovations, whether they be on a home or on your heart, take time and a vision to see the finished product when it’s tough to keep going.

Back in high school, I bought a used 1967 Ford Mustang.  Hey, it was only a three speed with the smallest engine they made that year, a straight 6, 200cc.  That engine was so puny it took a while to get up some hills. But it looked cool.  That’s what counted.

I thought it was in good shape, because my uncle, who had a gift for working on engines of any sort, checked it out and gave it his thumbs up before I bought it. Then one day I noticed a small, little bubble in the paint on the left front fender. It turned out to be just a touch of rust. So I gently pushed the bubble down to get it flat with the fender, and my finger poked a hole in the car. When I took a closer look from the underside, I could see my “touch” of rust was a lot bigger than I could see from the outside. As I began to look over the Mustang’s body more closely, to my dismay I found many more spots of rust.

perfectionist patching holes

Being a prideful perfectionist at the time (I’m still a work in progress), I just couldn’t be seen driving a car with holes in it, so I asked a neighbor who had done some body work on his own car to show me how to repair the hole.  He warned me before he took the wire brush drill attachment to the rust spot. Good thing, because my finger sized hole became a fist sized hole as he ground away the rust out to the edge of the still solid metal. He showed me how to prepare the filling compound, patch the hole and meticulously sand the area to a silky smooth finish. 

It took me all summer to fix the rust holes in my Mustang.  I worked into the night until 11 pm or so after work during the week and on weekends.  During the process my car looked like a mess, with all the multicolor primer spots. What kept me going when I got discouraged or tired was the picture in my mind of what my Mustang would look like when I finally finished. And when she was done, she looked awesome!

I’m not sure if I’ve gotten lazier since then or if that summer sated my need to renovate, but these days I really would rather find someone else to handle it. Maybe you’re like that too.

but sometimes life calls for spiritual renovations.

Maybe your drinking is causing problems at work and at home. Perhaps your anger issues lead you to say and do things that embarrass you, though you wouldn’t dare admit it.

You just can’t farm your spiritual renovation projects out to someone else. The desire to fix your spiritual stuff begins like any other change project, with new insights or information (like poking a hole in your car with your finger, or losing a job or relationship).  Once you’re ready to work on it, it takes sustained effort. And time. Just like my Mustang renovation, the way to hang in there to the end is to focus on the better future you want for yourself.  Truth be told, it will go a lot smoother and produce a lot better end result if you ask God’s help in the process. And maybe the help of a “neighbor” who’s been there and done that, too.

Rev. Greg Griffin is a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and Forgiveness Coach in private practice in Marietta, GA. His specialty is relationship repair and rescue- helping partners, spouses, and parents and their adolescents. He’s also the author of Dungeon Times Survival Guide, and Vital Faith.

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