Sanding the shelfWhen my primary creative tools are keystrokes and shuttersnaps, it’s nice to make something every so often that requires sandpaper and hacksaws. There is a physicality to this kind of creation that is absent from my digital creations.

Recently I have been turning an old pallet into a shelf for my kitchen wall, and I’ve found myself surprised by what Jesus has been doing through the process.

The shelf started as an old, rough, wooden pallet. My first step was to pull boards off, resizing and realigning them as needed. It’s a brutal and demanding process! How often I’ve found myself there with my faith, too. I find the ever-patient Jesus prying off the boards of jealousy; control; every area in need of an overhaul. It’s not an easy process, but it is absolutely necessary to shape me into who God longs for me be.

Then there’s the hours of sanding. Hours of running a rough piece of paper up and down the boards. It’s a tedious and repetitive task: there’s no medals for smoothest board, no awards for longest sanding. Every run along the board adds to the callouses on my hands. Calloused to match the areas where I’ve been hard hearted and stubborn, and desperately need Jesus to sand my soul.

Finally the shelf is finished: the right boards are in the right places at the right level of smoothness. All that’s left is to hang it on the wall. But right now it’s sitting on one end in a corner of my bedroom. Perhaps not the best place for it if I want to set placemats and recipe books on it. I wonder how many other places in my life I have started well, only to get distracted or frustrated halfway through? It doesn’t matter how smooth or beautiful the shelf is, if I don’t finish it. Without actually hanging it on the kitchen wall, all I’ve got is very pretty wooden posts randomly sitting in my room.

Surprising how much you can learn about faith while building a shelf.