Monday, November 09, 2009

Simplicity, Beauty, and Transformation

Early summer, I traveled to attend a seminary class, which gave me the chance to hang out in one of my favorite areas of California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Mount Hermon. I had a little time before I arrived at the home where I would be staying, so I stopped at a deli to grab a bite to eat.

A shop next door looked intriguing. After I ate my dinner, I noticed the open sign still hanging, so I stepped inside and browsed through the unusual items, some brand new, some antique. I found a quirky but beautiful glass bowl and lifted it to the light. It was priced reasonably. I sat it down and moved on to explore the rest of the shop. In the end I bought the bowl. I knew just where I would put it in my home.

This purchase was part of a decision I had made just a few months before. I wanted to simplify and beautify my home in ways I hadn’t yet done since moving into the ministry house where we lived. My time and financial resources are limited for this project, so I decided to make one or two simple changes in a room, then move on to another, make a change, take another room, make a change . . . you get the picture. That way each room would receive some attention and all would gradually transform.

Sometimes the change involved throwing or giving away things we no longer used or needed. Sometimes it meant finding something new (at least for us), like the glass bowl. I’m not going for House Beautiful here. Just warm, welcoming, and an expression of who we are.

The plan felt do-able. As I began, I realized this was fun, encouraging, uplifting. Even as simple as each change was, I felt the subtle transformative impact on the overall look and feel of a room or my home.

I’m far from done. This will take a while. But that’s okay. I’m enjoying the journey.

This all sounds a bit familiar to me. This thing of changing a little bit at time is very much like what God has been doing in my life since I met him in high school. I’m so glad that when I quietly prayed to ask him to forgive me and change my life, he did forgive me entirely, and he changed my heart. Those were huge and noticeable as have been other changes where God has really dug into an area of my life. But many changes have come slowly over the years—a few in this area of my life, a few in that one.

And God’s transformative work goes on to this day. Getting rid of stuff not needed in my life. Simplifying what I’ve made complicated. Beautifying areas that are dingy or dowdy.

And I hear God say to me, “I’m not done. This will take a while.”

I smile and respond, “I’m okay with that, God. I’m enjoying the journey.”

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit”

(2 Cor 3:18 NIV).

Have a beautiful, transformative week!



Maria I. Morgan said...

Beautiful post! Love the analogy! I'm so thankful that our God is so patient with us. I'm grateful that He is faithful to complete what He has begun in us!

Jan Kern said...

Maria, thank you. And I love that you brought in Philippians 1:6. That beautiful completion is his work and his plan. Yes, God is so good to us, so loving and patient!