Depending on which variation of the story you know, it kind of goes like this… a sculptor was asked how he created such a lifelike sculpture of a lion out of a block of marble, and he replied, “it’s simple – you just take away everything that doesn’t look like a lion.”
(Don’t bother correcting me – I know that there are variations on that story. Just roll with it, ‘k? Thanks. :-D)
And, only one paragraph into it, it’s already obvious where Cal is going with this one… being remade over 18 months, chipping away everything that doesn’t look like me, yada yada yada, blap blap blap.
Sorry. Didn’t realize I said that last bit out loud.
But no, that’s not where this goes. Which, by the way, surprises me as much as it does you. What? You think I actually plan this stuff out before I start writing? No, as I tell my beloved frequently, you’re giving me credit for more intelligence than I actually possess. (And yes, I did hear a few of you muttering, “no, as random as this poopy is, there’s no WAY he actually plans it in advance.” Thank you. You know me well.)
To chip everything away that doesn’t look like a lion, you have to first have a good grasp on what a lion really looks like. Over the last 18 months, I’ve become Captain Clueless with regard to who and what I am. Yeah, there have been times when I didn’t recognize my own face in the mirror, when I have no idea what I like or don’t like, or when I have no clue as to where I’m going and why. Take my hair for example – I never imagined it would go Chia Pet all on its own. Still don’t know if I like it or not.
Isn’t it supposed to be Former Fat Man loses weight, angels sing glory, joy and love radiates all around, and everything is beautiful in the happy kingdom? Not in my zip code, sunshine.
Quick disclaimer: What has happened to me is amazing beyond words. The abundance of grace directly from God’s hand staggers me and humbles me. For Him to be re-writing my story in such a huge way leaves me breathless.
I smile and laugh. A lot. And so does my beloved. A lot.
So in no way am I tearing down or taking away from this great gift that God has given us – far from it. But just as the Word tells us to work out our own salvation, this is not a plug and play sort of accessory. There’s some work involved.
Actually, a lot of work involved.
Actually, a mind-numbing, back-breaking, hiney-kicking load of…
*ahem* Sorry. Got a little intense there. I’ll back it down a few thousand degrees.
I am anxious to make my world reflect me now.
– To have our home work with my new life, not cluttered with garbage left over from when I sat in the living room 6-8 hours a day, not able or willing to move.
– To have my life balance match the balance my body has found with this new gift, so that I get things done, and can actually feel a small sense of accomplishment, instead of guilt that my wife has a “real job” while I mess around with piddly stuff that doesn’t really matter.
– To have everything that I do, everything that I believe, everything that I care about reflect this new life, showing God’s grace.
Anybody see the red flag yet? See the problem? No? I know I didn’t, until just now…
I can’t cut away everything that doesn’t look like Cal, because I don’t KNOW what Cal looks like! I get so frustrated, because everything is NEW, right? It’s all amazing, right? So I can just jump in, throw stuff out, switch other stuff around, and bada boom, bada bing! New life, baby! And when I go to take the first step…
I stop. I freeze. I stall.
Oh yeah, I can see dozens and dozens of things that can and should be thrown/fixed/changed/dusted/banished, but when it’s time to move, I don’t.
I don’t know what Cal looks like, so I don’t know what pieces to take away to make it look like him. Sure, there are basics that apply regardless of what the end product is going to be. But I’ve been thinking that I just jump up, dive in, blast through it all, and there ya go. Perhaps not…
Just as this process has required (and continues to require) a slow, deliberate movement, making all of the new requirements into habits that stay with me, the process of making my world look like me will also require slow, deliberate movement, as I learn through these changes what I really look like. As we’ve said just about every step of the way, the process will take as long as it takes. It can’t be rushed, I can’t skip a step here and there, and it will be done when it’s done. In the end, I’ll recognize the face in the mirror, because my Father is making it the way He wants it to be.
What about you, friend? Are you in a season where you’re waiting? When the process seems to be dragging on forever? Has your world been so shaken and turned and smashed that you have no clue which end is up?
Do you recognize your own face in the mirror?
Our Father, gracious, loving and faithful, remains. No amount of chaos, shifting or turmoil can ever take us from Him. And everything He promises in His word remains true – it endures. I’m particularly mindful of a certain promise that tells us He who began this work in you and me is faithful – He will complete it. You and I, we look for the express lane, we count the items in our cart to see if we can squeeze in and go faster, to get through it faster, to be done faster.
But the process will take as long as it takes. It will be done when it’s done, and we can’t skip a step in the process. He will be faithful to complete it – all of it, every step, regardless how long that takes. Because, when you get down to it, we have the time He has given us, so the processes and changes will take exactly the time He’s already provided for them. Not a moment sooner, and never late.
So I’ll continue to refine and chip away at my world, but give myself a break when I don’t know what to do. Little by little, I’ll learn what the next step is. I’ll recognize what fits and what doesn’t. I’ll learn what Cal looks like, and take away the bits and pieces that don’t belong. And I’ll be reminded all over again of the Faithful One, who began the work and will complete the work and who has made me new in Jesus.
Now, where’d I put that chisel?…