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We watch HGTV all the time, I mean a LOT.  For some reason it’s really fun to see homes, furniture, rooms and what not fixed up, updated, changed, painted, re-styled, and more…basically made better.  One of our new favorites is the Property Brothers in which Jonathan Scott, a seasoned realty agent, and his brother Drew, a contractor/renovator, convince people to trust them to create their dream home.

The show always starts with the brothers taking a couple to a fabulous updated home, one that holds all the items on their hearts’ wish list, and then letting the couple’s hearts crash into reality when they hear the price of that home.  Time for Drew to step up and tell them he can help make an older or outdated home into their dream home for less.

If the house hunting couple agrees to give it a go, Jonathan takes them to see all sorts of…well…not so lovely homes so they can pick which one they want to renovate.  I have to say I don’t blame the couples for wrinkling their noses at some of them.  What with the orange shag carpeting, the dark 70’s paneling, painted wrought iron railings, dirt and even mold, the fake stone front fireplaces and tiny kitchens with fluorescent lighting, the words “dream home” are not the first to come to mind!

I’ve heard Jonathan say in every show, as they walk through these “yucky” houses, “You have to be willing to look beyond the ugly.”  In other words, try to imagine the potential, to see what this could be.   Under that peeling linoleum and dingy paint could be a sound structure that just needs a change, a beautiful wood floor just waiting to be polished and enjoyed.  No flaw or challenge seems too big for these twin brothers with creative/constructive vision.

When we were watching tonight and I heard him say his signature phrase to this episode’s dreamers, I was struck by the power in those words.  Look beyond the ugly.  What a great idea, not just for houses but for life.

I told John, “Oh, that’s blog material right there.”

Look beyond the ugly around me?   Try to see what could be instead of what’s visible right away?

Jesus was a pro at this.  If anyone knew how to look beyond the ugly, it was Him.  He called the most unlikely, scruffy, and probably sweaty guys to follow closely and learn from him firsthand.  He routinely touched diseased outcasts and gave them dignity along with physical healing.  He welcomed the company of prostitutes, corrupt businessmen, and other “undesirables.”  He could see beyond the not so great to what was in their hearts…the potential to be forgiven, updated, renovated, and clean.

I think the biggest obstacle between us and seeing past what appears yucky or bad is our pride and insecurity.  It’s so much easier to make judgments about other people or think we’re better – come on and admit it with me.  It happens, even when we don’t realize it.

Instead of wrinkling up my heart’s “nose” at people or situations, I am going to try harder to look beyond the ugly.  I would much rather be able to envision what could be.  That’s certainly what I hope people will do when they look at me.

In fact, I want God to help me to look beyond the ugly when I see myself.  He’s proven Himself trustworthy as a visionary and renovator.  Can He make me into his “dream” child?  I want to believe He can.  There’s an awful lot of outdated and not so great going on inside.  He said He sees past all that into my heart, my potential.  Please God, look beyond the ugly and renovate me.

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.  I Samuel 16:7

Create in me a clean heart, O God.
      Renew a loyal spirit within me…
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
      and make me willing to obey you.  Psalm 51:  10, 12