Have you ever observed the process of restoration before? With TV shows like Fixer Upper and Flea Market Flip, I watch in fascination as a broken and outdated home or piece of furniture is transformed into something beautiful and valuable. But the process of restoring is not simple and clean- restoration is often a long and messy process. Before a stunning new home can be revealed, the house is often torn down to the bare structure with the purpose of being rebuilt into something more beautiful than before. While I have never remodeled a house, I can relate to the messy process of restoration.
Recently I have been meditating on a verse from Psalm 23 that I often glaze over. “He restores my soul.”
Typically, when I think about that verse, I have a very calm feeling. Restoring my soul just sounds so… relaxing. If my soul were a piece of furniture, I picture God coming in and slapping on a fresh coat of paint. But most of us realize, restoration is a lot more involved than just painting over the problems. In fact, famous historic pieces of art have actually been ruined before because instead of taking the time to properly retouch these masterpieces, someone just painted over them!
So, if restoration is not this simple and fast paint job, then what does it mean that God wants to restore us?
In my life, God’s restoration has been a long and messy process just like any home renovation or art revitalization. Now, I’m no expert (not even close), but I do watch a lot of HGTV so I feel familiar with at least the basic process of refurbishing. I believe just like all physical restoration has the same basic phases, we go through stages of restoration as God restores us spiritually.
4 Stages of Restoration
The first thing you do in any restoration process is get rid of anything that needs to go. A more exciting word for it is gutting. Ripping out things that are outdated or unsound. In my life, I have experienced this unpleasant but necessary season of life. Just like sanding down a piece of furniture, God has to strip away everything that isn’t what He intended for me. He has to remove every lie I believe and false identity I have claimed. Sometimes this process is painful and slow, but God is a master craftsman. He knows how to gently and safely remove the dirt and grime in my soul, while leaving me structurally sound.
Once you can see the structural integrity of the piece, you can begin planning what the final product will look like. This can often be a difficult stage of the restoration phase for me, because I don’t always get to see God’s plan! But as God restores us, He is never for a moment intending to leave us bare and raw. His plans for us are always good. He makes all things beautiful in their time.
Laying a Foundation
Before a builder can start adding to a house, he must make sure there is a strong foundation to build off of. God is not a cheap handyman who cuts corners. When He decides to build something, His masterpiece will last the test of time. Once I reject lies that I believe, the Lord spends time replacing all those lies with truth and really establishing my identity in Him, so I have a strong foundation in His love.
Finally, there is a complete structure with a strong foundation. No longer dirty and old, something new has been formed. Now, the fun begins. Color and decorations are added, and the result is stunning. Suddenly the chaotic season is over, and you have a beautifully restored masterpiece. God does the same thing in my life! He fills me with joy and peace and blesses me with good things to where I could never imagine settling for the life I knew before. I’m restored. Whole. Complete. Beautiful.
“He restores my soul.” Restoration is not an easy process. If it was, I would have my own HGTV show! But when we choose to trust God through the messy process of restoration, He promises to take our broken and hurting places and make them into something truly amazing.