“You put up with ugly and loud for a while because you’re committed to preserving something of great value.”
~ Shauna Niequist
I know this is my second quote from Shauna Niequist in a short while, but as I wind down my time with her book, I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet, I just keep finding these nuggets of wisdom that send my mind straight into revelation. Revelations about myself, about people, and my relationship with God.
This quote was no different. She was writing about watching scaffolding being put up on a beautiful building right outside of the window above her writing desk and expressing her initial feelings about what seemed to be spoiling the view. She was not looking forward to the uninspired imagery and noise of construction and repair. However, after she thought about it for a while, she realized the process of it all contained more beauty than she thought. She came to understand that the displeasing view was a sign of restoration on its way.
Her words opened my eyes and granted me permission to see what God already knew. That the times in my life that were loud and messy and full of change had a purpose. They were moments I was being refinished, restored, and transformed into something even more beautiful. But it required a bit of construction, and that part was not pretty.
I have spent many years looking back on those times as mistakes I was ashamed of or disaster areas that produced nothing but trouble and heartache. But that is not true. That is not the whole story. That is not the perspective God has. It may not even be the perspective of those who love me. But for so many years now, I have looked back on those moments as destructive. But what felt like destruction to me was actually repair. Healing. Recovery. He was preserving something of great value to Him. Me.
Sometimes the worn walkway needs a new path laid down. Sometimes the glue needs reapplying and the glass shined up. The chipping paint needs refreshing and the plaster needs patching. I used to believe all that mess meant I was damaged beyond repair. But God knew it was just the opposite, I was worth the chaotic, loud work. I was worth saving. I still am.
So, if life is messy for you right now, if you are looking at that ugly scaffolding and cringing from all the noise, if everything is just a mess . . . just wait. You are not an abandoned building. You are a human that needs to heal, recover, and be restored. He is committed to your preservation. It may not look pretty right now, but that is okay. Soon enough, you will look back and see something even more beautiful.