Before and After Pictures (A Theory)

If you know me personally, at some point you've likely heard me talk about a house project that I've been working on. I enjoy house projects for one main reason: before and after pictures. Who can argue with a good before and after picture? Look! Do you see this thing that once was ugly, tired, and outdated? Well, now it's been repurposed and beautified. New life has been infused!

In a perfect side-by-side visual breakdown, you literally witness change. It gives hope. Take this little shelf display in my bedroom, for instance.

I love the artwork at the top left. The warm terracotta tones get repeated in the small vase directly beneath it. But that artwork didn't originally look like this. I found the picture at Goodwill, and the frame originally was gold and black. After a quick coat of gray spray paint, it now fits better with the rest of my decor.

Over the pandemic, I spent a lot of time completing projects, whether small DIY improvements like tweaking this frame, or much larger endeavors like painting every room in my house. I also spent ample time watching other people complete projects. HGTV and I had quite the relationship, in fact. I'd end most days with a home renovation program, even if it just played in the background.

How will Hillary Farr transform the unlovable layout in Love It Or List It? What forlorn house will Ben and Erin invigorate in this week's episode of Home Town? How much will Tarek and Christina earn when they sell the renovated bungalow in Flip Or Flop? (Those California house prices always give me shell shock.) 

In just an hour, everything that was messed up became tidy, transformed, and new.

I enjoy these shows when I'm happy, but I've noticed that I especially gravitate to them when something in my life needs a touch of renovation. Unlike a TV show, it can take a long time for the "after" stage to emerge in our lives. We might feel stuck in the before of a hard situation, or we languish in the strange purgatory of during where our circumstances resembles an ongoing construction site. Nothing appears in its proper place. Everything feels out of order and uncomfortable, if not downright chaotic, unsafe, or depressing.

That's how I came up with my DIY Sadness Theory. When I'm sad, I want to see something -- anything! -- get fixed up, even if it's a stranger's house in the context of an hour television episode.

Why is this? I think it links back to my love of before and after pictures. When you watch a renovation, you're visually reminded that bad situations don't always stay stuck in the before stage. This is biblical. 

Our current situations are not necessarily our ending points. 

Lives can be restored, problems overcome, troubles mended, and heartbreak salved. God specializes in making all things new. Even more, He empowers us to endure through the painful and confusing during stages.

Today, if you're stuck in a before or during stage (like I am with a few areas of life), I pray you'll have strength to endure, with hope, until you can see the after. Carry on.

No comments

Back to Top