by Berry D Simpson

Not sure if you’ve noticed this, but I don’t need a lot of change in my life. For example, I just bought a pickup and gave my old one to my son. The new truck is a red Toyota Tacoma, exactly like my first one except newer and with fewer miles. My pens and books and tie-down ropes and fleece jackets (for Cyndi) all fit in exactly the same places. A new truck exactly like my old truck … made me very happy. Like I said, I don’t need a lot of change.

Another example? I tend to leave things alone. I’ve never done much remodeling in the places where I live. I might become obsessive while designing a space, going over the details and options for way too long, but once the space is built and I’ve moved in, I’ happy to leave it as it is from now on. That’s true for houses, my work space and desk, my closet, my pickup, and true for my yard and landscaping.

It isn’t that I am afraid of the process. I built a wall in our garage in Brownfield, creating a nice utility room, and I built a wall and changed closets in our house on Whittle Way, providing more useful space for both Byron and Katie. But that’s about it for home remodeling. I haven’t needed or wanted to change anything else.

Regarding landscaping, I’ve only changed our yard once, when we replaced turf grass with ground cover in 1998. I suppose I did recreate our back yard once, but that was more recovery than remodeling since our pet rabbits ate all the grass down to the dirt and we had to start over.

All that is to say, I like things, in general, the way they are. Which is usually the same as the way they were.

However, I’ve also learned to embrace the energy that change brings. For me, one of the joys of aging is that I don’t resist change as much as I used to. I may not initiate it, but I look forward to it. I’ve finally grown up enough that I like to try new things and learn new skills and new ideas. I don’t want to become that cranky “you kids get off my lawn” guy.

Granted, my personal vision of life change is mostly made up of slightly newer versions of what I am already doing. Nothing radical. I’m hardly an early-adopter. And certainly, I don’t make changes simply for the purpose of changing. I need a better reason than that.

But even the few things I’ve changed aren’t such a big deal. Living space is just wood and concrete, landscaping is just plants and trees, new exercise programs are just more opportunities to sweat and buy new gear.

The reason I’m writing about something I don’t do much of, is, the title of my next book, which should be out this fall, will be Remodeled: Stories from a Changed Heart. Because of the title, I have been playing around with the notion of remodeling. And the remodeling I’m most concerned with is the reshaping of my heart.

Each time I tell my story to the guys, something I do a half dozen times a year, I’m more aware of how Jesus has remodeled my heart, making it into his home. Not with hammer, nails, or sheetrock and paint, but with adventures and tragedies and writing and teaching. And with Cyndi. The biggest tool Jesus has for remodeling my heart into his image is the influence of Cyndi living alongside me.

In fact, I’ve changed more than I thought I needed to. Having grown up in church among a devout and faithful Christian family, I assumed if my heart needed changing it would be only small increments. I never figured I’d need serious remodeling.

This week I noticed the remodeling project going on at the Burger King restaurant on Andrews Highway Burger king smallin Midland. Have you seen it? The sign out front says “Closed for remodel,” but all that is left of the original structure is a pile of broken concrete. They are remodeling the building all the way down to the dirt, stretching the word “remodel” way beyond its original meaning.

Is that how Jesus remodels our hearts? While we are cruising along through life thinking all we need is a small touch-up, does Jesus notice our foundation is shot and he has to start over from scratch? I don’t know if it always has to be that severe, but I’m sure I wouldn’t change at all if Jesus didn’t make it happen.

So here is my challenge. Ask Jesus to remodel your heart into his image. Give him access to all your hidden closets and attic space and landscaping. Know that it will be messy and dusty and, like all remodeling projects, take longer than you expected. Trust that in the process of being changed his grace will flow through you into the lives of your family and friends. Be brave. Embrace the change.


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32


Journal Entry 083012: Remodeled


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