Several years ago, on a Sunday morning, I listened as a husband and wife team urged the congregation to look at the connection between our self-talk and the way we live. They talked about how our beliefs (what we think/say) form a foundation for the emotional “houses” we live in and how those emotions then dictate our outcomes. For instance, saying “I never have enough money,” can form a foundation for expecting a life of poverty.
Those Sunday speakers went on to say that thoughts such as, “I may be the next one laid-off” or, “Is my marriage strong enough to withstand adversity?” could result in a foundation for a “house” of fear and despair. What I got from that sermon was, that when it comes to renovating our emotional houses, it may make more sense to tear down and rebuild, rather than remodel a flawed structure.
If our lives have been based on faulty perceptions and uncertainties, we may need to tear down… explode… or demolish all that wants to get in the way of us living a life that is founded on God’s promises. To do this, we may have to think less about our self-image and more about our god-image. Instead of applying cosmetic fixes to cracked foundations, we may need to tear down and start over. Thus, the My Oasis of Hope tagline: “Don’t remodel, rebuild.”
In Leviticus 14:33-57, God tells Moses and Aaron what to do in the event there is mildew on the walls of their homes. The text instructs that first there is a discovery process to determine if they are really dealing with a mildew problem. Once it’s determined the home is contaminated, it’s then cleaned and rebuilt. The people were instructed to “pull down the house” and discard the infected stones. Not only does that passage of Scripture talk about the house itself, it mentions that those who slept or eaten there are also affected and need to be treated.
When we consider our emotional houses, we first seek to discover what is negatively impacting us. What is the root cause of our damaged thinking? Are we making decisions based on chronic generational patterns? Who else is impacted by how we live our lives? Are our relationships suffering because we have constructed a house of anger and rage? To move forward, we must begin to dismantle the thoughts and resulting behaviors that impede healing and growth.
If you find yourself emotionally stuck or haunted by memories of a hurtful past, I urge you to ask: What are the thought patterns that get in the way of me moving forward? What “infected” walls have I built or have allowed to remain? What’s acting as fast-growing mildew in my house and is contaminating how I interact with others?
When we take the time to discover the problem areas, we are better equipped to make needed changes. Just like the people in the Leviticus passage, once we discard the infected stones, we then replace the sick thoughts with healthy ones. This is the tricky part. Identifying our flawed beliefs seems tedious, yet this will be time well spent if we take it one step further and replace the discarded stones with healthier ways of thinking.
God wants to take pleasure in the “homes” we create and be honored by how we live our lives. This happens when we stop painting over old, bumpy and tattered walls… Stop covering up mislaid floors with new carpet… And stop buying scented candles to mask the stench of the festering emotions we tried to bury.
Instead of allowing old constructs to complicate your desire for a renewed life, be deliberate to replace the lies with truth. If necessary, employ the help of a life coach or counselor to help you look at the stones you’ve stacked to create obstacles to joy and wholeness. Evaluate what walls, once erected for safety, can now be removed to create an open flow. Because here’s the truth: you are valued and awesome. Don’t remodel, rebuild!
(Written 2007; Revised 2/2020)