Sunday, February 28, 2021
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Sheldon Stephenson

Ready for some renovations?

On my train ride into work today, I noticed a building site. A group of men in overalls and hard hats were getting ready for the day, next to huge heaps of sand and stone. There were trucks, diggers, cranes, and of course the shell of what shall one day be a beautiful building.

It got me thinking about life: To make something beautiful you often first need to have a mess.

You are probably wondering what I am talking about, but let me explain.

Change takes effort. Improvement of any kind is hard work, right? If you are going to do home improvements, you must expect the builders to come into your home, tear down all that is needed to be changed, and then rebuild it. Your house will be filled with dust and noise. There will be the inconvenience of not having a toilet or maybe an oven for a period of time while the builders do what they need to in order for the renovations to be completed.

The same goes for landscaping your garden. The landscapers will come in, tear out your existing lawn and flowerbeds and leave your garden looking ten times worse than it did before.

Have you ever experienced renovations of any kind?

It’s the same in life: change often comes hand in hand with chaos and destruction – but there is purpose to the chaos and destruction.

This is something I have found within my own life as I have worked on changing things in myself over the years. Character building is just as messy and chaotic as any other kind of building or renovations.

You need to allow yourself to go through the destruction of what was, which often leaves a massive mess – not only around you but within you – as you deal with things that will inevitably come up during that renovation period.

So here are four things I learned from my own “character renovation”.

  1. Planning is necessary

A builder never begins until his plans are drawn up. So before you decide to do some character renovations, do some soul searching first. Find out more about yourself and make a list of what you would like to see changed. Then have a game plan for how you will go about making those changes. Have a plan and a goal, because without these two vitally important things you are destined to fail.

  1. Expect a mess

Do not go into this naively. Do not think that you can do any kind of character renovations without a mess being made. You will struggle to change certain habits; you will have to deal with horrible, messy things from your past. The thought of having to deal with these things may even leave you terrified. This process may bring up very painful memories and strong emotions that you have been suppressing for years. So expect a mess.

  1. Expect delays

You probably won’t get it right the first time or even the hundredth time. You may hit a wall time and again, but anything big like renovations – even with all the planning you did – is going to have the odd delays. You will have to apologise (probably many times) during this period; you will have to regroup, re-evaluate, and retry. But once again, that all comes with the territory of change. So don’t give up. This is where your goals become very important.

Keep the end goal in mind.

  1. The finished product will be worth it

I know from experience that this journey of change is a hard one, but it is also really worth it. When I see how far I have come from that wild boy I once was to the man I am today, I am blown away. There are many that knew me that are blown away, too.

I feel proud of what I have achieved and who I have become (and who I am still becoming). However, it took me years and I am still not fully done with my renovations – but  hey, what renovation job do you know that has not been in need of after-service fix-ups once the work was completed? Just know that the end product will be worth all the madness, chaos, and mess, because at the end of the day you are worth it and all the chaos will have had a purpose.

Happy renovations!

I choose to love

My wife and I recently adopted a baby girl. She is such a little beauty, and we love her.

During the process, someone mindlessly asked me if I will ever be able to love a child that isn’t biologically mine, and although I wanted to laugh, their question really got me thinking. The truth is this: the answer to that question comes down to what you believe about love.

I know without a doubt that love is not a feeling, but rather a choice. You see, I choose to love this little girl who is not blood-related. And it doesn’t end there – I also choose to love my wife and our other two children. I also choose to love my parents and siblings and friends and family members.

Sunshine, roses, and thorns… 

You see, when I first met my wife, she had gone through a messy divorce and was left alone with a two-year-old son. I never let that stop me from pursuing her. We got married within a year of meeting one another and it’s been sunshine and roses ever since. Yes, the rain and thorns have been along for the ride too, but that is the spectacular thing about sunshine and roses: strength is grown in the storms and thorns. Once again, thinking back on this event in my life, I know without a doubt that love is a choice. I chose to love her and I chose to love her two-year-old son as my own.

The most convincing proof that love is a choice came when my wife and I had our biological son. I was totally over the moon. He was a little fireball; a burning pistol. He also gave me a huge revelation that just because he was biological, it didn’t mean my love would be automatic. Over the last couple of years, I have had to choose to love even my own son. That is because love is a choice.

There are many parents out there who have chosen to not love their children, which proves once again that my conclusion is sound. Love is not some wishy-washy, mooshy-mushy feeling. No. Love is a choice.

It’s no accident

Have you ever heard someone say that they fell in love – like it was some kind of accident? Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Love is never the result of an accident, but comes through daily dedication and decision making. You choose to love and you choose to continue to love just as you can choose to walk away and give up. We are free to choose to love or not to love.

With the adoption being finalised and the revelation that love is a choice floating through my mind, I began to think of another love story. A love story that many do not care for or believe in – but a love story nonetheless. It is also an adoption story of epic proportions. It’s the story of God choosing to love us and choosing to adopt us into His family.

If you want to be a part of the greatest love story ever told, click on the banner below, or the popup, and begin your epic journey.

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