How many times have we heaved out a sigh and peeled ourselves up from the floor of failure to will all of our might to reignite so we could start over? Again. Back to square one. Again. Defeat underneath our feet. A long journey up ahead. We wonder if we can take it another time. We question if we should really try. The thing is– we tend to look at square one as something we have to, or get to, handle on our own. But Jesus is both square one and the end and God is our strength.
Your Square One has a History
You want to quit smoking or start eating healthy. Everyone points to square one. You want to learn a new language or learn how to use your arm or leg again. Everyone points to square one. You want to love your spouse or your parent better or start going to the gym. Everyone points to square one. And maybe the idea of square one reminds you of the clean slate that relieves you of the guilty tension pulling you to your past. Or the void of square one reminds you of page one and intimidates you with all this empty space to fill. But, let’s be honest, square one and a clean slate and the blank page– they all have a history.
There isn’t much point at starting out at square one and trying it your same, broken way again. The square one mentality makes us think we are starting over new, but that mentality is not always the reality.
Kelly Minter taught on Nehemiah at a LifeWay You Lead event a couple years ago and she pointed out that anything new we do isn’t a build, it’s a rebuild. The myth of square one is– it’s not a start; it’s a restart. The old has to be removed to make room for the new. It is all a rebuild, a restart, a redo– except for our maybe the day we were born. Even then, we are helplessly born into our caregiver’s own string of builds or rebuilds.
Make Time to Excavate and Eradicate
We can’t build anything new or true if we don’t remove the old ruins that stand in the way. Otherwise, we build on wreckage and ruin it again. We must study the rubble, look closely at the remains of what we built or what was built.
We have to discern which relics are sturdy enough to remain and which pillars and walls crumbled under heavy weight. And we have to take responsibility for the faulty things we brought and built with. Those must be excavated and eradicated. In their absence, you stoke hope and rebuild.
Honor God’s Design
If we skip over the excavation, and forget where we came from, it is easy to take advantage of where we are now. But if we look back and remember where or how we used to be, we can see how miraculously far God carried us.
Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. Ephesians 2:11
While Jesus flips the whole world’s script and makes us new, we still have our old history to clear up and clear out. To name and to heal from. Otherwise, we can’t build anything new the old way. And the old ruins below ruin the foundation and the future of our new building.
If you are starting something new, or maybe you want to start soon, don’t forget submit your plans to the One with the master plan. Wait for His approval. Instead of wishing the habits of your square one sticks, put your hope in the Holy One whose eternal love persists.