Debbie Salter Goodwin
A Time to Build
You can always find someone building something. It is entrepreneurial, visionary, forward-moving work. I walked through new-builds in Georgia as we tried to locate a new place to live. They were clean, empty shells, almost sterile with their unused history. However, I can assure you that the building process was messy. If you have ever tackled a renovation project, you know. Dust everywhere. Tools and equipment strewn. It makes even the hearty wonder if it is worth it.
Parents are builders. They build lives one day at a time, often without clear blueprints or vetted experience. And yet parenting is God’s simplest form of discipleship. He places us in small groups to live together and learn how to follow Jesus together. It is exciting, excruciating, frustrating, hopeful work with only one reliable map: God’s Word.
As I have taken inventory in this year of transition, I can see where I need to revamp some of my building efforts. I tried for three years to build writing and reader connections with some of the tools others use only to fail miserably. I concluded that I was listening to the wrong contractor. I fired the voice in my head that kept a thumb in my back making me feel incompetent and guilty and returned to the Artistic Designer who knows me inside and out. God is no slave driver in His building projects. He teaches, encourages, sequences, and keeps us on schedule in every building project He oversees. I am not driven as much as I am developed in the process. It is building that produces character, perseverance, discernment, as well as beauty.
The parable Jesus taught about the difference between building on sand or rock reminds me that I can build the right thing in the wrong place or time. I can overwhelm myself with good goals before their time and frustrate myself and everyone around me in the process of trying to accomplish them.
God builds for eternity. He instructed Noah to build an ark for his family’s protection when the Great Flood obliterated every living thing except what was inside the floating menagerie. In contrast, progressive, innovative people decided to build a tower that would make them the greatest builders that ever lived. God thwarted their self-centered plan by making it impossible to communicate with each other. It just reminds us that the time to build must coordinate with God’s plans and purposes. While He enables and blesses, he can also dismantle and obliterate. He takes His building projects seriously and will not give up even when someone else interferes and leaves a pile a rubble where He intended a life of beauty. He builds and rebuilds.
The irony of life is that it is always time to tear down something and it is always time to build or rebuild something new. We live in that tension but we do not have to live with it as perpetual grief or by overwhelmed motivation.
Take time to assess the building projects in your life. Not the carpentry, flooring, or structures of your house. Take time to step back and ask what you are building, by whose design, and for what purpose? Whose life is shaped by your attitudes and perspectives? What goals came from God’s design and where are you pushing yourself in depleting, tearing down ways? If God’s design brought about a world of color, texture, variety, and beauty; He can incorporate the same creativity and abundance in your life.
A time to build is God at His creative best. Let Him astound you with what He can do with your submission. He won’t disappoint.