Are You a Fixer Upper, too? What Body Image and Home Improvement Have in Common

I love home improvement shows. I’m so inspired watching the amazing transformations. These brilliant designers take a hideously ugly, old and dilapidated home and turn it into a modern day dream house. It’s really quite impressive.

I’m also a little obsessed with Fixer Upper. (Maybe a “little” is an understatement.) Last year while we were searching for a new home, I Googled how to be on the show. When I suggested to my husband that we move a mere 65 miles away (to be within range of houses Chip and Jo will re-do), he turned off our cable.

I made the pilgrimage to Waco with some friends (and my daughter–she’s also a fan) the day after Christmas. They had an 80% off sale! (Yes, that’s an eight and a zero!) So, I sent this photo to my husband.

Magnolia Fixer Upper inside Shop Compared to Who

See how full our hands are as we wait in line to check out? Dear husband didn’t know about the sale so I sent this picture to make him nervous!

There’s a deeper reason why these home improvement shows are such a huge phenomena! The reason they hold so much appeal to me (and to women everywhere) is more subtle than most realize.

We love home improvement shows because they give us hope!

It’s not hope that someday we’ll live in a gorgeous home with shiplap (though I may, personally, aspire to that!). Rather, shows like Fixer Upper give us hope for salvation.

(Did she just say salvation? I knew that would sound confusing, so I’m glad you asked!)

Yes, yes, I did say salvation. Follow me here.

Home improvement shows illustrate salvation as we witness something unlovely and unwanted transformed into something beautiful. We all have a deep longing for this kind of metamorphosis.

I’ll admit. That’s what I always wanted–a good makeover! I viewed my body as my own personal “home” improvement project. I needed personal trainers, estheticians, hair dressers, Estee Lauder counters, and diet books to improve the way my soul’s house looked.

I assumed that if I could transform my outsides, I would feel free from the body image issues that plagued me.

It never worked out that way, though.

Magnolia Market Compared to Who Fixer Upper

In front of the Magnolia store in Waco.

But much like the homes Chip and Jo re-do, I needed more than just new countertops and fresh paint. I had to reorient my view and see myself as a true fixer upper. The work of establishing my value (in Christ) and the transformation that happens with true salvation, required more than just cosmetic change.

Here’s what I needed:

1. I Needed a Demo

Magnolia just created a new “Demo Day” t-shirt. I know they’ll sell because demo seems so fun, right? Swinging a sledgehammer to knock out a wall? Yeah! Sign me up!

Demo is one of the first steps in cleaning out the old to make room for the new–wiping the proverbial “slate” clean. It’s necessary before any re-modeling project.

But what also happens in the demolition process? They find hidden problems. Always. Tearing back dry wall reveals asbestos. Ripping out a ceiling shows water damage. Pulling up the floors exposes a huge termite problem. There’s always some issue that couldn’t be seen from the outside, but demolition exposes these issues.

And the new home owners? At first they freak out! The fret over how much repairs will cost or how they’re “over-budget.” But in the end, they acknowledge this truth: Uncovering and remedying the hidden problems always makes the home better.

When I found myself in counseling a few years ago, I discovered that God wanted to take a bulldozer to my heart. He desired to expose the junk I had hidden behind its walls.

What did I find after demolition? My body image issues were more from “bad wiring” and faulty beliefs in my heart than they were about my touching thighs. It wasn’t until he finished his excavation, scraping off the sin and patching up the wounds, that I was free to feel transformed.

At the Magnolia Silos with my daughter and our friends: Laurel, Brandy & Erin.

At the Magnolia Silos with my daughter and our friends: Laurel, Brandy & Erin.

2. I Needed a Designer

I rock at choosing paint colors. (In the store at least.) I re-covered some chairs last month and they look nice in my kitchen. But, who am I fooling? Home design is not my area of expertise.

And so it goes with life design. I can make a list of the things I want to improve about myself, but I can’t make the changes on my own. I need a designer with experience–one qualified to re-design lives, not just kitchens and bathrooms.

I tried to solicit help from body change experts, certain they were the kind of designers I needed for a “better” life. Fitness and diet experts would help me “makeover” my new body, but the changes they offered weren’t permanent. When I’d give up the diet, or run out of money for personal training, and it’d be back to square one on the body change front.

Then I found a designer who knew what he was doing. His plan for my life was bigger than sculpting me a bikini body. He showed me how to find my purpose–to live for something greater than just looking better on the outside. He also showed me how to love others and find freedom when I trusted him with my life’s design. That designer was Jesus.

Fortunately, he has a ton of experience in the area. While I was under-qualified to fix myself up, he holds the credentials of master builder.

Look who contributor Brandi and her daughter got to meet on their visit to Waco!

Look who contributor Brandi and her daughter got to meet on their visit to Waco!!! #toofun

3. I Needed Faith

I often feel bad for Jonathan Scott. The number of times people say to him, “Are you SURE you can do it?” astounds me. I want to yell at the TV, “Haven’t you watched Property Brothers before?!?!?!” They do ahhh-mazing things with homes, too. I’d give the Scott brothers the keys and say ‘Have at it!’

These homeowners lack faith.

I’m convicted as I write these words. How often do I lack faith in my designer? How many times (a day!) do I say, “Are you sure we want to move that here, God?” Or, “Lord, can you really handle this project?”

Gracious, I often lack faith too.

Sometimes it feels like the work is going too slow. Is anything even changing? Will I ever be different?

Other times it feels like too much is going wrong. . . We’ll never get back on track here, God. Maybe we should just scrap the whole project?

But, the great designer knows what He’s doing.

Just like home improvement, real transformation takes time. We must trust the designer’s plans, knowing his sanctification process–the fixing up–takes time. But, just like the great reveal on Fixer Upper, the end results are always worth the struggle.

6 Comments
  • Amanda Wihebrink
    May 12, 2016

    I looooove Fixer Upper! Joanna has my style down pat. I have also considered moving to Waco, just to have them work on my house.

    I never thought about how fixer upper shows could relate to faith though……but it really struck a chord when you talk about having faith in the “designer” to get the job done. I struggle with that a lot (you already know 😉

    Thanks as always for the message!

    • Heather Creekmore
      May 14, 2016

      🙂 Yep, it’s funny. Easy to trust a brilliant designer like Jo – we’ve seen her work on TV after all…
      So, why do we have a hard time trusting the Most BRiLLIANT designer, ever??!!?! Ahhh… our stubborn hearts, huh?? 😉

  • Heidi
    May 12, 2016

    Great perspective. We have a mutual friend and she we have s lot in common! Seems like it 🙂

    • Heather Creekmore
      May 12, 2016

      Thanks, Heidi! Who’s our mutual friend? 🙂 Tell her thanks for introducing us! 🙂 Appreciate your comment!

  • Mindy Pickens
    May 13, 2016

    Love this!

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