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Refinishing Our Projects and Lives

May 17, 2010

This weekend I started refinishing some furniture. I love hands on work where I can get involved and see major change along the way so projects like this are something I enjoy a great deal.

I began reflecting along the way about how our lives need refinishing.

Sometimes we want to just throw them out and purchase something new that looks nicer, and we underestimate the beauty, strength, and quality of what lies beneath.

1) Stripping – The first step of refinishing is removing the old. We need to take it off, throw it away, and clean it up. Yesterday as I used a stripping agent I thought of how scripture has been a stripping agent in my life to tunnel through the outer layers and get to what lies beneath. After using the stripping agent and scrapping the layers of unwanted goo off of the wood I still needed to clean it further. Several of the pieces needed to be stripped repeatedly before they let go of all that was attached. Even after that process was completed I needed to wash the wood clean and scrub it deeply with steel wool. The past clung to the wood and didn’t want to let go easily. My past clings to my life and sometimes it is hard to be released from that too.

2) Sanding – Some refinishing projects require sanding to remove the flaws, faults, scratches, and blemishes in the wood. This sanding might just be a light sanding that touches the surface, but often it requires going deep to remove something that has marred the product. That sanding can take great work, and yet the wood gives way fairly easily because the barriers of protection have already been removed and stripped away. As the sanding occurs the blemishes disappear and the beauty begins to show fully. This sanding can come in many forms in life: circumstances, relationships, struggles, thorns, failures, etc. It comes as we walk in relationship with Christ and learn what it means to be like him in character, to have a heart that matches his, and to live with a humble and surrendered heart.

3) Priming/Pre-Stain – A few projects require priming the wood or preparing it more thoroughly before staining/painting. This helps to make it ready for its particular purpose. This may involve burning off remaining unwanted pieces, pruning them away, or going through a process of pre-treating and priming for the next steps. In our lives the priming may be a time of learning, growing, preparing, being trained for what comes next. Often we want to run before we truly know how to walk well and if we do not go through this extra stage of preparation we might not be able to handle or receive what comes next.

4) Staining/painting – Some projects involve a step of adding stain, paint, or color to the wood. The wood has been prepared and is ready to receive. It soaks in what it is given, and it begins to take on a whole new look, feel, and shine. Our lives are stained and coated by the blood of sacrifice that Christ shed in our place. We all need that coating, but not all of us receive and welcome it as a gift. Sometimes even when the coating is received there are areas that are difficult to cover and transform. These areas may take special work and care before they are transformed and changed to match the rest of the piece.

5) Finishing/Sealing – The final step in the project is the finishing that is added to provide protection and covering. This final covering creates a barrier to protect the beauty and quality that has been revealed. It further strengthens what is there, and often adds even more shine and luster. Scripture tells us to wear the Armor of God. It is not part of us, but it provides a barrier and protection around us that covers us to maintain our beauty, our heart, our soul. Like the varnish or coating that is on the wood to protect it, the armor guards us and seals in what is already present so that it is not as damaged when the battles of life come along causing havoc. It takes the brunt of the abuse, sometimes receiving scars and scratches, but protecting the value of what lies beneath.

There is another way that many of us try to go through this process. We don’t want to go through all the steps, we don’t want to endure the pain and the work, or we want to rush them and get to the completed product quickly.

Option B: Restore-A-Finish – – An attempt to shortcut the process and create the illusion of a truly restored finish.

How is your refinishing going?

(*I am expressing no endorsement or message about the various products shown in this post.)

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