One of my favorite TV networks is HGTV—and, no, you cannot take my mancard from me. The design and building aspect is fascinating to me and fuels creativity and dreaming.
One show that seems to always be on-air is Love It or List It. Each episode centers around a family who is at odds whether they should stay in their current house or move. A designer has to remodel their current house in order to persuade them to stay while a real estate agent shows other houses that meet their dream criteria in order to encourage the move.
It’s a pretty cookie cutter show episode to episode. The hosts (designer and real estate agent) annoyingly banter back and forth, the family is unbudging on budget, the last house show is always the “perfect house,” and there is always a dramatic catastrophe that results in the family not getting everything they want in their old house. While almost 2/3 of families choose to stay, the “drama” created by the show keeps audiences engaged and somehow you find yourself four episodes deep wondering where all that time went.
With all that being said, there are only twenty minutes of the show that I really care to watch: the initial walk-through and the final reveal. Everything else I could really care less about. I want to see the before and after. There is just something that resonates when you see the old, cluttered rooms transformed into new, fresh spaces with color and cohesive design. I don’t want to see the actual renovation part or the houses they don’t pick. The middle 40-minutes are just not interesting to me.
I think this sentiment goes deeper than television though. Many times in our life we find ourselves in a mess and have a dream of where we want to be—emotionally, physically, spiritually, or intellectually. We might see other people who embody those qualities and we covet their life. We wish for patience like that. We hope for a happier marriage. We desire a deeper connection with God. We want that end result, but we don’t want to pay the price to get there.
We don’t want to watch the middle 40-minutes.
Because, those are the messy moment in life. They are the ones full of hard decisions. They are the ones where we find ourselves in the dark night of the soul. Things don’t always go the way we want them. Things take a toll on our relationships. Things become painful.
Because the middle 40-minutes are hard to watch.
But it’s in those moments that God is working. It’s in those moments He’s gutting out the mess. It’s in those moments He’s laying the new foundation. It’s in those moments He’s restoring areas in our lives that He sees more potential. But, it takes hard work. It takes time. It takes dealing with the mess we were so comfortable living in yesterday.
That is not easy. No renovation or restoration is easy, but, ask anyone who has done one, the payoff is worth it.
Maybe, one day, I’ll make build up enough courage to take on my DIY project, but until then, I’ll keep watching others struggle through renovations…
All the while God is leading me through my own 40-minute renovations to make me who He has dreamed for me to be.