I have had to overcome a grumbling heart during our kitchen remodel. I simply do not do well in situations where my house is a disaster, my routine isn’t possible and my normal tasks of feeding and washing are made difficult. These days have taken me back to Uganda when the power would go out. Or water was scarce and I was forced into a place of discomfort and inconvenience. Mark and I would react very different to these times. Mark would do what was needed to push through the moment. He would except the challenge and put in the extra time and energy needed to accomplish tasks or figure out a solution. I, on the other hand, would sigh, voice frustration and crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head.
Vulnerable, out-of-control moments like these, expose some of the truer parts of our heart.
I’ve always been a little envious of Mark and his ability to overcome. He walks away from challenging situations with something funny or meaningful to cling to. My take away is a little embarrassment and regret in how I responded.
I want to overcome. I want to rise above the difficult moment. I want a finished kitchen. I just don’t want the struggle and process of getting there.
So much of life is like this. We want to live like Jesus. We want the fruit of the spirit to define us. We want to accomplish great things for the Kingdom. We want a testimony that will glorify God and make him known to those who hear our story. But often we’re up for the struggle of getting there. These things come only through effort. Through time and energy, failure and victory.
The only way to show patience is through having to wait. Joy is discovered through sorrow. Peace is experienced after fear or disruption. Showing kindness is an opportunity among those who are difficult to love. Living a life that reflects Christ means denying our flesh and the patterns of the world.
We can’t want an outcome that we’re not willing to work toward.
I look around my half built kitchen and I am so proud of Mark and what he’s been able to accomplish. He has diligently deconstructed the old and resurrected the new. He has made mistakes. Things have happen out of his control. But he is creating a space that is functional, efficient and pleasing to our family. The outcome is the reward and blessing of his hard work. And he will be able to appreciate our new space more than anyone else.
I want to live life like this. I want to be willing to commit to a struggle, to a process of deconstructing the old and resurrecting the new. In my marriage. In love for my community. In grace for the stranger. In intentional parenting. In recognizing and confessing my sin. In serving and providing for those in need. In living as light in this world.
The outcome I want in all these things requires a struggle of surrender, of commitment, of labor, of sacrifice, of availability, of love, of grace.
And so I pray that I am willing to embrace the journey that comes before blessing. That I will submit to the process that precedes reward. That I will learn to find joy in the struggle, so I can delight in the fruit.
And when we meet each other in the struggle, we get to share in the blessing together.
The kitchen won’t be finished for another few weeks. I am resolved to have a better attitude during the work, a grateful spirit toward Mark and a content heart in knowing that this is only a minor disruption in my life. But even in these insignificant struggles, the heart is exposed and a choice can be made to change.