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Demolish to Renovate

As we think about improving our lives and our goals for 2022, it’s wise to remember that before renovation, there is demolition.

If you enjoy watching home-repair shows, you’ve seen this pattern. As much time, if not more, is spent deciding what’s wrong before people decide how to make it right. Then, making the changes begins, and this can take a long time.

If you’ve lived through a home renovation project, you have experienced this, as well. It can be challenging to live in the in-between state as improvements are in process—but it’s necessary.

A while back, my church began a major remodeling project. For a long time, we had to meet in our fellowship hall while our sanctuary was remodeled. Our services were crowded and there were more hallway traffic jams than usual as we came and went. Those who were used to sitting in the front right area of the sanctuary might have found themselves in the back left area. Very little was predictable.

Parking spots for our seniors were moved from the south end to the west end of the church. It felt strange parking in new places, using different doors to enter and leave the church, and sitting in new places. On top of that, many classes for adults, children, and teens were relocated as the addition to our children’s wing got underway.

Our new sanctuary wasn’t ready for months. We couldn’t snap our fingers and expect renovation to start, much less finish, because demolition had to happen first, and had to be carefully planned. Making mistakes during this phase of the project would have major repercussions later.

After the right contractors were hired, I can only imagine all the questions. Which part of the demolition should we do first? What kind of new doors should we choose? If we knock out that wall, how will the rest of the room be affected? What about the balcony? The new sanctuary depended upon making careful changes to the old.

Think about your life. Is there something you would love updated? New attitudes? New actions? New beliefs? Or maybe something as practical as a new wardrobe? A new garden? A new easy chair for the corner of your den?

We are not going to change if we simply put something new on over the old. We couldn’t keep old pews and make room for new chairs. We couldn’t keep old windows and add new ones. We didn’t need both the old organ and a new one, the old pulpit and a new one, the old lights and new ones. No—we needed to identify and demolish the old before bringing in the new.

As I think about improving my life in the year ahead, I am considering what needs to go. What about you? Is there an attitude that is in the way of progress? A belief to reject as you work to believe something new? Unnecessary actions or habits that are slowing down your progress? Are you believing something that’s actually false?

Let’s strategically demolish the old to get ready for the new. Although change isn’t always comfortable, we can live in the in-between as we think about the future blessings we’ll experience. Renovation can be beautiful.

Dr. Kathy Koch (pronounced “cook”) is the founder of Celebrate Kids and Ignite the Family, a faculty member at Summit Ministries, and the author of five books including 8 Great Smarts and Start with the Heart. Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.