Six years ago, my upstairs neighbor’s water heater leaked into my bedroom and bathroom. The water damage resulted in stripping down the ceilings, walls, and floors to the studs and concrete. Some might view this as a catastrophe, an event that caused enormous damage or loss of life, often suddenly—a disaster.
But I didn’t see it that way. For me, the empty rooms left after all the water damaged components were removed were an opportunity to create something beautiful.
An Opportunity to Create Something Beautiful
At the time this disaster struck my home, I’d lived there for over 25 years. So, in many ways, it was comfortable—a safe place where I could rest and relax. In other ways, it was dated and had seen better days.
Truth be told, I’d wanted to renovate my bathroom for some time. The right time just hadn’t presented itself, until then—or so I thought. That makes me wonder: “When is the right time to create something you’ve been longing to create? Or mo’ better, when is the right time to start creating a new life—one God loves and you enjoy?”
The answer to that question is when God provides the opportunity—when He first invites us to join Him in His creation of us—our lives, our communities, our environments, and our world.
The right time to start creating a new life—one God loves and you enjoy—is when God provides the opportunity, when He first invites us to join Him in His creation of us—our lives, our communities, our environments, and our world.
If I’m honest about this situation though, I have to admit God provided the opportunity to renovate my bed and bathrooms long before my neighbor’s water heater leaked. I mean money wasn’t holding me back. I had the resources before the leak.
Don’t get me wrong. Having my neighbor’s insurance pay for it was nice. It just wasn’t necessary. In other words, the leak nor the insurance company provided the resources, or my first opportunity, to renovate these rooms. The truth is God blessed me with the resources long before that.
So, what took so long? If the right time to create something you’ve been longing to create—something God loves and you enjoy—is when God provides the opportunity, why didn’t I move when the opportunity first presented itself? Why didn’t I see that first time God invited me as my opportunity? In other words, what was it about when I did move that was so motivating?
Without Form and Void
There’s a clue to the answer in the Creation Story in Genesis 1, specifically in verses 1-2a:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. ~Genesis 1:1-2a
“…without form and void…”
In the beginning, before God began creating, the universe as we know it was without form and void. It had no inside or outside. Like my empty bed and bathroom that was stripped down to the studs, it was a barren wasteland—a clean slate waiting to be formed and filled. Some might see a disaster.
But I think God looks at that same set of circumstances and sees something vastly different. I think He sees an opportunity—an opportunity to create something beautiful and an opportunity to invite us to join Him.When some see a disaster, God looks at that same set of circumstances and sees something vastly different. He sees an opportunity—an opportunity to create something beautiful and an opportunity to invite us to join Him. Click To Tweet
Why, then, do we respond to some opportunities and ignore others? How does God motivate us differently with different opportunities?
Seeing Our Opportunities
As I look back on both the first and last opportunities to renovate my bed and bathroom, I realized the difference between the two was my level of comfort. I was comfortable when the first opportunity came. I wasn’t more comfortable because I found these rooms more beautiful than when I moved in. In fact, the opposite was true. These rooms hadn’t grown more beautiful over time; but I’d grown used to the lack of beauty they held for me.
And there lay the problem.
You see, when I moved in, I had the resources for a functional home. So, I told myself it was enough for now—because it was. What God had given me up to that point was enough.
The problem was that was then—and this was now. As I had hoped and dreamed, later God would give me more resources with which I could make my home beautiful. The problem was when I got those additional resources, I didn’t do it. Rather than make my home beautiful according to the original vision and plan God gave me for my home, I sat on the money.
As I said, my bed and bathrooms were functional, so over time, I grew comfortable with their sufficiency. Though my desire to renovate or create something beautiful hadn’t decreased, the space and its lack of beauty became enough—not just to start. Over time, it became enough to finish. When this continued after God provided the resources for more, I still had the same mindset. Keeping that mindset meant settling for less than God’s best for me.
I began to accept less than God’s best for me not because He hadn’t provided more. He had. I had the resources. I just hadn’t used them to make my space more beautiful. Even though He’d invited me to create with Him, even though He’d provided the opportunity, I failed to join Him—until the leak.
“Why?” again I ask. Because I was uncomfortable with the damaged rooms left by the leak. Now, my damaged bed and bathrooms were no longer enough.
Before, though my bathroom wasn’t beautiful, it was functional. Now, it wasn’t functional. Before, I didn’t need new bed and bathrooms. Now, I needed new bed and bathrooms.
That need revealed my opportunity. God used my catastrophe, my disaster of a bed and bathroom to move me out of my comfort zone. God used my catastrophe, my disaster to reveal my need—my need to create something beautiful.God used my catastrophe, my disaster of a bed and bathroom to move me out of my comfort zone. God used my catastrophe, my disaster to reveal my need—my need to create something beautiful. Click To Tweet
What a Difference a Need Makes
When we are in need, we look for opportunities, circumstances that provide the possibility to meet those needs. And when we aren’t in need or don’t perceive our need, we are less likely to pay heed to those opportunities when they present themselves, even when we recognize them as opportunities.
In my early twenties, I met and fell in love with my first love. Several months into the relationship, God showed me that this man would not meet my needs long term. There was nothing wrong with this man in and of himself. This man just wasn’t the partner for the assignment God had for me. We just had different assignments.
But I was enjoying this man’s company and wasn’t ready for our relationship to end. So, I didn’t end it when first given the opportunity. It wasn’t until this man was unfaithful that I ended it. It wasn’t until disaster hit that I began to create a new life without him.
Now, I am not saying that I didn’t need Reggie. Reggie has played too big a role in my moving forward in my assignment both before and after his death for me to believe that he wasn’t supposed to be my partner—if only for the season he was my partner.
Nor am I saying that God caused our catastrophes. No, our catastrophes, our disasters were attacks of the enemy.
What I am saying is that after the attack, after the dust settled God uses our catastrophic events to reveal our needs. After Reggie’s passing, God used that formless and empty situation to show me what I needed at that time—to create another extraordinary life. I needed to create something beautiful again. I still do. And you know what? So do you.
- Have you begun to settle for less than God’s best for your life? If so, how?
- How does God motivate you to act on the opportunities presented?
- What opportunities are before you today?
- What will you do about today’s opportunities?