Preparing a Dwelling Place

08 Feb

Within the next month or so, I’m going to be moving to a different house (in fact, I get to move in with one of my favorite people who I used to live with at one point in time, Christine). Those who know me very well know that I have had to do quite a bit of relocating since I’ve been in Kansas City, and at one level, it’s pretty inconvenient to go through the whole process yet again. On another level, I get to keep my current roommates, get to share a house with Christine again, still rent from my current landlord, and get Wi-Fi at the new house. Not a bad deal.

Actually, one of my favorite things about the new house is that my room there is considerably larger than in my current house. I’ma have enough space for a desk in there. It’s going to absolutely rock.

Even though I’m not moving for probably another month, the room is vacant now, so I’ve been working on getting it painted and ready for me to move into it. Although I’ve helped decorate/texturize walls before, I haven’t repainted an entire room before. And I haven’t done it by myself before. It’s been a little adventure for me.

Actually, it was basically disaster-free. Those that know me very well can marvel at the fact that I didn’t get any paint on the carpet, the ceiling, my clothes, or my hair. I’ve spent a significant amount of time on a step ladder, and miraculously have not injured myself in some way either by climbing up onto it or climbing back down. I suppose the verdict is still out, seeing as I have a little more detail work yet to do, but I’ve been pretty pleased with myself for not stumbling into at least a minor catastrophe somewhere along the way. I’m anticipating equal success in finishing up.

The walls are a color that is hard to describe. Picture a lilac. Picture a dusty pink rose. Now picture a blender. Use your imagination as to how those three elements are to be combined, and the resulting product is probably pretty close to what the paint looks like. It may sound odd, but it looks nice — I like it a lot. I will post pictures soon.

I’ve discovered a number of things about painting in the process. Firstly, whoever it was that invented the paint roller was a genius. I had to spend what seemed like forever laying out the painter’s tape, and then using a brush to fill in the corners and edges. By the end of doing one wall, I was beginning to despair of ever getting done. But once I got to bust out the paint roller, I had a fully painted wall within 5-10 minutes. It was glorious.

However, I do not entertain the same sort of warm fuzzy feelings for whoever it was that first decided it was a good idea to texture ceilings with that popcorn-looking stuff. If they were a genius, then they were an evil genius. I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they just suffered from horrifically poor planning.

Painter’s tape does not like that popcorn stuff one bit. Neither do I. I seriously think there is a natural force of repulsion between the tape and that ceiling texture — it took some doing to make the tape stick up there long enough to paint beneath it. More than once I would turn around to find my lovely blue tape that I had spent 15 minutes getting up on the ceiling attached only by one corner and dangling all the way down to the floor. Eventually, I got pretty good at taping things up in a timely fashion… Practice makes perfect.

Today, as I was spending some time doing detail work, I didn’t bring anything to listen to. It was just me in a quiet house, staring at a wall. Not a very exciting setup. After a while of silence, it struck me that I could actually talk to the Lord while I worked. (Yep, I’m still admittedly pretty weak at this “practicing the presence” stuff.) This is what He laid on my heart as I worked.

I had spent hours working on that room. Taping, painting, touching up — even now I was standing on a stepladder and painting some accents in the upper corner of the wall — I was tired and sore and had spent endless battles with that ridiculous popcorn-covered ceiling. Yet I kept at it. I was actually excited about working on it. Why didn’t I throw in the towel after the first couple times all my painter’s tape fell off the ceiling? Why didn’t I decide to skip it all and let the walls be whatever color they happened to be? Because I was taking the place I was going to live, and making it mine. I wanted to feel at home in that room. I wanted to feel like it fit me. I was preparing a dwelling place for myself.

Here’s the kicker. God is making a dwelling place in us. He wants to dwell among us and in us for eternity. He wants to feel at home in us, to feel like we fit Him and He can be at home in us. He wants a place where He will rest, rather than strive with us in our sin. As He leads us one step at a time through the process of sanctification, He’s not doing it grudgingly or out of a bored routine. He has energy about it. He has excitement about it. He enjoys us in the process, and I believe He enjoys His part of the work in the process.  “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Ps 149:4).

Thankfully, unlike me as I tried to tackle my little walls, He is extraordinarily patient and strong, so He never gets tired, cranky or impatient while He works with us (Lam 3:22-23; Isa 42:4). He is willing to shape our hearts, to transform us, and to patiently craft us into His likeness. Why go to all this trouble? Because He wants to make a dwelling place in us. He wants to make us a place of rest where His Spirit will dwell forever.

I love His grace and tenderness…


6 responses to “Preparing a Dwelling Place

  1. Amanda

    February 8, 2007 at 7:55 am

    I have so enjoyed reading your blog. Your sweet spirit is a blessing. I am both blessed, encouraged and challenged, by this post in particular.
    (FITN track 1, Jan-06)

  2. Christine

    February 8, 2007 at 11:52 am

    I love this! Even after hearing the “punch-line” before I read it. You are a fantastic writer.

    I happen to be thrilled by the fact that we are going to be roommates again. No more of this 2-doors-down nonsense!

    (Oh yeah… and you must also rejoice in the fact that you avoided “near-disaster” with the tea, as well. Remember? … The spilling of the over-filled cup that would lead to the spilling of the paint and a considerable amount of blood and excessive medical bils in the end. I’m so glad you escaped that one. I would have felt awful.)

  3. Christine

    February 8, 2007 at 11:54 am

    “Even though I’m not moving for probably another month…”

    No bueno.

    I’ll just say this… don’t be surprised if your stuff starts mysteriously moving for you. I have so enjoyed having you in the house as you have been fighting with tape and putting purple-ness on the walls!

    Must hasten the day!

  4. Amanda Beattie

    February 8, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Ah, yes. The tea. Would’ve taken a bit too long to try and explain it to the rest of the world–and probably wouldn’t be that funny. But you and I can both be grateful that the tea was uneventful as well.

    As far as moving–another month is the max time. I’ve got to find time to attend class, write my commentary, clean up the pit–I mean, my current room–and get it all carted into the new house. I can’t guarantee that’ll happen before next GBF.

    Don’t try to start mysteriously moving my stuff. You might not be able to find your way back out of my room right now…


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