In the last two weeks Rob and I bought and sold a house. (It's just a hop, skip and jump from church still!) There are a lot of details that go into moving and we've been so blessed by the sense of God's presence and peace as we've made this decision for our family and future.
But there was one part of the process that really grabbed my heart with a spiritual metaphor: staging. It took us a week to set up our house so it was ready to show to strangers in hopes that they would make us an offer. And it really did look great. Almost perfect, in fact. However, we achieved that by boxing up a bunch of our stuff and stacking it in the garage. We took down all the photos of our family or anything else that was personal so that potential buyers could picture their own families in the space. In the end, it looked like our house but without the heart. So much was hidden away to present a certain impression.
Though the whole experience I thought over and over again about how we do this in our spiritual lives way too often. Someone who grew up in church recently said to me, "I need to make some changes in my life and then I'll come back to church." My heart just broke. Where did we ever get the idea that we had to stage our lives in order to be accepted by Christ? Where did we learn that we have to box up our messes and hide them in order to come to Jesus?
In this metaphor, Jesus is the one who joyfully comes over to your house when He is invited no matter how disheveled it is. And when you're tempted to box your mess and hide it, He gently opens each box and works through the contents with you.
I never want to forget this. His great love meets us and transforms us. We don't change ourselves so that we can meet Him. That's amazing grace. Hold on to that truth. It's the gospel, the good news of the life we have in Christ.
These are photos of our staged house... Not exactly a picture of our real lives. Oh yeah, and our kids had been away for a week when we took the photos. LOL!