I tried to flip a house once. It was a typical "Anthony impulse move," but I figured if Chip and Joanna Gaines could do it, so could I. All by myself. That little side project ruined an entire year of my life. I worked myself crazy between the plumbing, drywall, grout, and people I hired who pretended like they knew what they were doing so they could get paid. I lost a good bit of money. I was frustrated and mad. It's a whole lot harder than it looks on television.
I love watching the projects and personalities of HGTV. There are times I'll leave it playing in the background all day while I work. Chip and Jo's Fixer Upper, that's my favorite. They'll find some old worthless, falling-down shack from the seventies and I'm thinking, There's no way they can turn that into anything good. It's too far gone. No way.
And yet somehow, they always do. No matter how rotten the floors might be or how much of the roof has been lost to a storm – even if the foundation is bad. Despite all the inevitable setbacks and difficulties that rise up out of left field, there's always something worth hanging in there for. By the end of the show, they make the big reveal, and it never fails to blow my mind.
Even though I'm not really interested in design or building or flipping houses for cash anymore, I still love to watch HGTV because it's the story of redemption, over and over again. In fact, I think that's why it's one of America's favorite channels. Because we know deep down that our floors are rotten and the roof's in pretty bad shape. A lot of us feel hopeless and wrecked, like we'll never be worth much because our foundation is cracked. Maybe when we see some ramshackle old house get fixed up, it makes us feel like there's hope for us too.
But before every renovation comes demolition, which is the messiest, ugliest part. Tearing down walls and breaking glass. Busting up sewer lines and climbing under houses where the rats and spiders live. Everybody gets dirty. Everybody sweats. It's dangerous sometimes.
HGTV never skips over the demo phase. Demolition is what makes the story good. If they just went straight from rundown to magically stylish, nobody would watch. People want to see the dirt and hard work because we know that good change never comes easy. You have to completely tear out some old fixtures. Some things can be salvaged and others can only be fixed with a sledgehammer or a crowbar.
I think sometimes, as Christians, we tried to rush too quickly to the big reveal. Redemption is immediate and the purchase complete – but for most of us, that's where the fixing-up process begins. It usually takes a lot of time and sacrifice, belt sanders and wrecking balls and a whole lot of dirty, sweaty work. But we understand that every restoration story starts with demolition. Sometimes we have to tear it down to the foundation and start fresh. It costs more and takes far longer than we expect. Sometimes it feels like the renovation process will never end.
I am not quite ready for my big reveal yet. We get there piece by piece, nail by nail. Little by little, we press toward the mark. God still has to tear down a lot of my preconceived notions and ideas. Proverbs 19:21 says there are many plans in a man's heart. We have our own ideas about how things should turn out. But when it feels like everything is a giant mess and my plans are falling apart, I have to remind myself to not get discouraged in the process of demolition. It only means renovation is under way.
Watch Anthony Evans this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from Unexpected Places: Thoughts On God, Faith, And Finding Your Voice by Anthony Evans. Copyright ©2018 Anthony Evans. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.