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The Expense of Expansion

SignsHardHat

Almost two years ago, the residents in my town voted on a referendum to expand the two high schools in our district. The proposed measure, which would accommodate an additional 1,000 students at each campus, passed with a majority vote…and a $95 million price tag.

Ouch.

The alternative was to build a third high school with a construction ticket to the tune of $125 million.

Double ouch.

What wasn’t an option was to do nothing.

The burgeoning student population required the community to adapt and adjust to the need accordingly. So the ceremonial ground breaking took place last summer and construction workers have been laboring almost 24/7 in order for the work to be completed by the first day of school in the fall of 2015.

The artistic rendering of the finished architecture is beautiful and ideal…but the reality of the building process is ugly and inconvenient.

I normally don’t give this project much thought–until I have to attend an event at the school and there’s limited parking or I have to drop my kids off in the morning and I get stuck in a mile long car line–and then all of a sudden, I have a few choice thoughts that start buzzing through my brain.

Today was one such day.

As we inched our way toward the designated drop-off zone, I noticed one of the signs hanging on the chain link fence surrounding the school: 100% Hard Hat Area. 

And in that moment, I got a revelation.

How many times have we desired an expansion in our own lives? I don’t just mean a bigger house or a better job. I mean the times we’ve asked God to enlarge our hearts, enrich our minds, and engage our spirits.

We wanted the expansion. We asked for the expansion. We needed the expansion.

But there is always an expense to expansion.

Expansion requires vision…seeing something that isn’t yet, but living in the now as if it already were.

Expansion is accompanied by excavation…the tearing down before the building up can commence.

Expansion necessitates patience…because big proposals can take a long time to come to pass.

The cost of construction can be astronomical compared to our limited resources. And some initial supporters may even say “It’s not worth it” when the dust is swirling and the demolition seems unending.

But we must remember that the alternative isn’t always easier or cheaper.

This was such a revelation to me because I have some areas in my life that are under major construction right now…personal, relational, and spiritual spaces where the Architect and Builder of my life has posted “100% Hard Hat Area” signs as a reminder of the work being done behind the virtual chain link fence that surrounds my heart.

It’s messy. It’s sometimes inconvenient. And it oftentimes feels like it’s taking longer than I can tolerate.

But in those moments of frustration and despair, I remind myself that I wanted this…that I asked for this…that I needed this.

A clean heart. A Christ-like mind. A fruit-bearing spirit.

I also review the artistic rendering of the finished product…the very promises of God over my life.

And then I put on my hard hat and get back to work.

Because the alternative isn’t easier or cheaper.

What about you, dear friend? Where are you seeing “100% Hard Hat Area” signs in your life right now?

 

 

 

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