Progress is Messy.
We have been doing a laundry list of home improvement projects, and the mess of remodeling has persisted for months. I find the chaos of house projects unnerving and some days, I’m on the brink of quiet implosion. Stuff everywhere. Dust everywhere. Tools everywhere. Why can’t I get perspective?
Progress—we all love it. It’s something God puts in us: the longing for transformation. Before and after photos. Linear productivity. The beginning, the end. Closure makes our hearts sing. Don’t we want to know that we’re gaining, we’re improving, we’re purposeful?
And yet, what about the in-between? The picture of waste, the full dumpster, the sheetrock dust that’s everywhere? The tension from unmet expectations? Not as fun to celebrate—yet essential to improvement. Progress is messy; we must cling to the finished product, or we will abandon our trenches.
Are you in the dusty phase of your faith? Are you trying to figure out what in the world happened this year? Is this your first Christmas without them? Are you standing between what was and what will be? Are you having trouble with perspective? Are you aching to get out of the gap, out of the hallway, out of the mess?
We are in the trenches of our faith and at times, defecting feels easier. Of course, it’s messy. In this world, we will have trouble. Of course, it’s dusty. We are broken jars of clay. Of course, it’s teeth gritting. This world is not our home.
But do you know what else it is? In Christ Jesus, it’s transformation. It’s sanctification. It’s fruit. It’s Jesus Christ turning your pain to make you more like Himself, to draw you to Himself, to love all of you with Himself. We must remind ourselves daily that He is here with us. He will turn this for our good. He will set this right. We will be better for it. We celebrate Christmas because we are still waiting.
You may be working to not implode. But Jesus Christ is working your transformation. So grit your teeth, but cling to the God who always finishes what He starts. Christmas says God loved us enough to be born to suffer and die. Christmas is a reminder that God already conquered the worst that was. We are waiting on God to collect what’s already His, but we are never waiting alone.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV).
Prayer. Lord Jesus, let all of me fall away, so only You are left.
Application. Today, I will choose perspective by listing one good thing God is working in me.