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Focus: Remodeling vs. reconstruction

Ephesians 4:31 (NIV) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice…

In more than twenty-six years of happily married life, my husband and I have owned and extensively remodeled six homes. When I say the word ‘remodeled’—I’m not referring to wallpaper and paint. I’m talking about knocking down walls, tearing off rooms, adding on, and things like that.

In the most extreme case—we actually tore down the existing house, purchased a two and a half story replacement that was up for auction and moved it two miles to our lot—which was coastal and in a velocity zone. We proceeded by elevating the successor 15 feet above ground and closing in the area below it to create a large garage. We gutted and re-built the inside of the house, added on a couple of rooms and an elevator, an extensive deck area, a two story exterior stairway, and a swimming pool.

You may question why in the world would anyone do all that work? The answer is simple: it was about the location.

The house that was on the lot to begin with had very limited possibilities. The waterfront land had more value. When a storm and flood caused irreparable damage—we had no choice but to start over. You see—we had some equity in the property. If we ‘walked away’ from our investment, we would have lost everything.

The complicated process of clearing the land for re-building was huge enough. Then, we went through almost impossible inconvenience during the year and a half it took to re-build. We moved five times with our young children and had no idea the whole thing would take as long as it did. It was a trial I wouldn’t ever care to go through again, but it was a life lesson with invaluable applications.

(read more below)

Getting rid of bitterness doesn't mean dumping people--it means dumping bitterness. --Christina Cook Lee, A Quest For New Strength
Link to New Strength Devotional, Audio Version
Getting rid of bitterness doesn't mean dumping people--it means dumping your bitterness. --Christina Cook Lee, A Quest For New Strength
New Strength Devotional Inspirational Statement of the Day


In the final evaluation, I can compare the original house to ‘bitterness’. It was something from the past that eventually had to go. We lived there for a year and a half prior to the demolition. We had put forth a lot of effort trying to make the most of things—but in the end, it had to be knocked down, dug out and removed. All of the work we had done attempting to cover up the defects was never going to achieve the results that ‘just getting rid of it’ did.

The reconstruction was secured to an engineered foundation according to Florida building code hurricane standards. A network of concrete and steel pilings were driven 21 feet into the ground—which were bonded together at ground level and to the elevated house. The work and expense was extreme and seemed unending—but the results would stand the test of time. We had vision and seized the opportunity to salvage our initial investment, in spite of the sacrifices.

I would estimate that your life is like that property. You may be in a position right now where you are trying to assess your options. At times, you wonder how–or if you can repair the house on the property that has sustained such extensive damage. So much of what has happened in your life has been beyond your control and others are partly to blame. You were stuck with a house that wasn’t built right to begin with and now has serious structural issues. Starting over seems staggering. You don’t even know anything about stuff like that. But you can’t keep living in a house that could fall down on your head one of these days, either.

The right answer might be to face the fact that the job of ‘recovery’ is bigger than you thought it was going to be, may take longer than you thought it would—but will pay you dividends in the end if you are willing to go deep and do it right.

Your ‘property’ is worth more than the old house with all its flaws. ‘Bitterness’ is something that could be standing in the way of your ability to start fresh. Who and what comes to your mind at the mention of that word? Getting rid of bitterness doesn’t mean dumping people—it means dumping your bitterness. Being bitter doesn’t change other people—it changes you. You may not be able to change anyone else—but you can change ‘you’. Bitterness is holding you back. You need to let it go.

Declaration: I will find new strength by realizing I can’t change the people who have made me bitter. If I stay bitter—it won’t change them. I’m letting go of my bitterness so I can keep moving forward.

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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.


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