Saturday, August 15, 2020

Renovation In Progress

My husband and I are in the process of a much needed renovation of our beach house rental unit. A couple of years ago we had the upstairs bathroom remodeled, and now we are in the midst of a do-it-yourself kitchen makeover.

After a long day in which he prepped and painted the cabinets, while I made our meals on top of the washer/dryer and cleaned dishes in the bathroom sink, we settled in for a well-deserved sleep.

That night I dreamed that I was resuming medical training to become a psychiatrist. As a condition of becoming licensed in that specialty, I have to undergo psychotherapy myself. I show up for my first session and am surprised to discover that my therapist is TV- and film-star Simon Baker.

Instead of having me sit down and discuss my issues, he shows me around his office, which is a posh condo located on a beautiful California beach.

“I’ve changed a lot of things since I first moved in, but there is so much more I plan to do,” he said, gesturing at an aquarium that fills up an entire wall of the waiting area. “It’s a work in progress.”

I gaze mesmerized by the colorful tropical fish that lazily swim by, while silvery pointed fish dart about like flying arrows. Then he motions to a spiral stairway, once a broom closet, which now leads up to a rooftop patio with a breathtaking aerial view of the Big Sur coast.

“You could take on a similar project,” he explained, “if you’re sure it’s worth the time, money and investment, and if you’re willing to change things.”

I awoke from the dream with a sense of revelation, peace, and anticipation of good things to come despite presently trying circumstances.

In thinking about the symbolism of the dream, the name “Simon Baker” reminded me of Simon Peter, the brash disciple of Jesus who often got his foot stuck in his mouth (Luke 9:33). He tried to stop Jesus from going through with His crucifixion (Matthew 16:21-23), and he bragged that he would follow Jesus to the death (Matthew 26:33-35), only to weep bitterly after he betrayed Jesus three times, as Christ had predicted he would (Matthew 26:75).

Jesus not only forgave Peter’s betrayal and reconciled with him (John 21:15-17), but He also used him to spread the Gospel to the Jews (Acts 2) and to write two books of the New Testament (1 and 2 Peter). No doubt the same qualities of boldness and zeal that sometimes got Peter in trouble were turned around by the Master and put to good use in his new ministry as church leader and evangelist.

Once we are saved, we are Christ’s workmanship, for He enables us to do good works, which He has planned for us since before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:10).

Yet Peter’s transformation was not without cost. Peter left behind his fishing boats, wife, and life to follow the Master (Matthew 19:27), Who paid the price for all by dying for our sins and rising again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), proving that He is God, to give all who trust Him eternal life (John 3:16). As Simon Baker said in the dream, we can renovate our lives, but only if we are willing to change, or repent, and pay the cost, by dying daily to sin and to self (1 Corinthians 15:31) through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22).

In a way, Peter’s change from serving himself to serving Christ was like the kitchen renovation – we used the old cabinet structure, but totally transformed it with paint and hardware. But often remodeling requires tearing down the new structure and building something better in its place. In the dream, Simon Baker had built a spiral staircase from a broom closet, which elevated anyone who climbed it to a celestial view, just as Christ can lift us from our humble service to heavenly places in Him (Ephesians 1:3).

Simon Baker had taken a blank wall and used it as a living space for God’s creations, reflecting the Designer’s handiwork. In the early church, fish were a symbol used by Christians to identify one another, and schools of fish that travel in formation remind us of the coordinated purpose of the body of Christ (Romans 12:5), in which all should act together in one accord (Acts 2:1).

The name “Simon Baker” also set me to thinking about the meaning of “baker” in the Bible. The first mention is in Genesis 40 and 41, when Joseph is unfairly imprisoned with two of Pharaoh’s servants, his butler and his baker. They both have dreams which Joseph correctly interprets as meaning that Pharaoh would free the butler and execute the baker, again reminding me that old things must die for all to become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“Baker” also brings to mind bread, with which God sustains His children daily, not only physically but spiritually (Matthew 6:11). Jesus referred to Himself as the Bread of Life (John 6:33-35), and His body was broken for us, as we re-enact through the broken bread we share in the sacrament of communion (1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:24).

When contemplating the meaning of the dream, I also remembered that I used to enjoy two TV drama series in which Simon Baker played the lead. In The Guardian, he portrayed a lawyer and ex-cocaine addict who was sentenced to 1600 hours of community service as a child advocate for the legal aid services center in Pittsburgh.

In The Mentalist, Simon Baker also played the title role – a fake psychic and con artist who publicly taunted a serial killer, leading tragically to the murder of his wife and children. In his despair he devoted his life to finding the serial killer and fighting crime, using his keen powers of observation as a consultant to the Californian Bureau of Investigation.

Both series were stunning parables of how God can work all things together for good (Romans 8:28), using a man’s sin and tragedy to place him where he can be a powerful force of positive change in the lives of others, transforming his natural talents and abilities to work for good and no longer for evil (Ephesians 4:28).

As we study the lives of men and women in Scripture, or as we look back on our own lives, we can often see a similar pattern. Sin has consequences, but God in His mercy uses those consequences to bring us to Himself (Romans 6:23). If we want to change from His enemy to His child (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:1), the Holy Spirit enters us and He can shape us, as the Potter molds clay (Isaiah 64:8; Jeremiah 18:4), into a vessel fit for His use (2 Timothy 2:21). 

He can use our unique frame, which He designed in His ownimage (Genesis 1:27) and equipped with specific features (Psalm 139:15-16), and renovate it according to His purpose, to fulfill the plan He had for us (Jeremiah 29:11) since before the beginning of time!

© 2020 Laurie Collett




Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
your dream of training as a psychiatrist and having to go through the process yourself reminds me of our ongoing walk with the Lord. In order to encourage others to learn God's ways and have His thoughts we have to go through the training ourselves through the teaching of the Holy Spirit. Even the broom closit that you mention having a spiral staircase in it reminds me of the cleansing (as in the brooms) of our minds leading us upward to God. I agree with all you have said regarding the meaning of your dream Laurie, and all things do work together for good, even our sinful past - which gives us empathy with those who are going through the same things. God bless you Laurie and thank you for sharing your dreams.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
The nearest to any renovation was accomplished a few years ago when I had a shed erected in our back garden to accommodate Alex's newly-purchased mobility scooter.
To actually erect it was a two-man job and it took a full day to complete it, including a ramp leading to the door of the shed, on which she can drive straight in.
A very good friend in the church stepped forward who is very good with his hands in addition to his normal desk job after I made an appeal for assistance during our Sunday morning church service.
The two of us worked as a team with Alex providing refreshments as well as evening dinner.
A good picture, perhaps, of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each working together to transform the believer?
An excellent blog about Simon Baker.
May God bless you and Richard.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Yes, I agree that training to be a therapist by undergoing therapy myself is akin to learning from the Holy Spirit so that we can counsel others going through similar trials and lead them to the Lord, and that cleansing by the Word brings us closer to Him.
Thanks so much for your insightful comment and your encouragement. May God also bless you and your Spirit-filled ministry.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
I like your illustration of working together on the shed construction as picturing the Trinity working together with one will and purpose. It also reminds me of the body of Christ, each member equipped by God with specific talents and abilities to work together for His glory.
Thanks as always for sharing your experience. May God bless you and Alex,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.
So often Christians think our lives ought to be a bed of roses, never realizing that thorns are an integral part of such a Bed. As you point out, we are not fitted for ministry until we have had our own faith tested and stretched.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Praise God that He works through the trials to equip us for His purposes. Thanks as always for your insightful comment. God bless,