Over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to help with the construction of a new school building in Guatemala City. I’ve been a part of several phases of the project: fundraising, demolition, construction and, this month, the completion of the first floor of the building.
The demolition stage of construction was particularly tough, physically and emotionally. Not only was it difficult to pry off shelves which had been screwed firmly into place and remove walls anchored into the concrete floor, it was also hard to tear down things we had worked so hard on to put up in the first place. I’ve worked at this school for several years now and, alongside many other dedicated volunteers, have spent many hours building, cleaning and painting those walls we were now ripping out. I knew in my head that the old had to go to bring in the new, but it was definitely a bittersweet process.
The experience reminded me that our lives are a bit like an ongoing construction project. Sometimes, we’re in the exhilarating phase when new things are being built…new jobs, new relationships, new experiences emerging.
Other times, things that still have an important place in our lives, but have gotten worn and dusty, need a good cleaning or a fresh coat of paint. Maybe that means discovering new ways to get excited about a job that’s gotten boring, or scheduling some time away with your spouse to reconnect and rekindle.
And, sometimes, parts of our life enter the “demo” phase. During this phase, unhealthy relationships may need to be removed. Bad habits or harmful lifestyle choices may need to be eliminated. A job or volunteer commitment that saps our time and energy may have to go. Letting go of these things can be painful. Especially when we’ve given a good chunk of our heart to them. But, if the Lord has made it clear He has something new and better planned for us, we owe it to ourselves to put on our hard hats and safety goggles and start doing the hard work of demolition.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”