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May 16, 2011

“Can you do something to make this sign have more character?” Priscilla asked me. In her hands was a white plaque with black lettering on it. The plaque was really cute and the saying was clever, but she felt it lacked a little “something” to make it as special she wanted it to be for a gift to give a friend.

Easy stuff, girlfriend! I can do this.

I reached for some sandpaper and scrubbed the paint along the edges so that the bare wood showed through. I rounded the corners off to make it look a bit worn. I scratched the smooth finish in a couple of spots. Now it was showing some character! A black ribbon attached to the back to hang it with, and suddenly it came alive. Perfect.

Funny what some “distressing” can do. It’s a technique I’ve used hundreds of times on furniture, art pieces, walls and frames. See, the problem with new things is that they can look…..well, NEW. They haven’t been worn by time, or use, or in the case of my family, careless accidents :). Their clean lines and sharp edges lack the history of being well-used and well-loved. Sometimes, expensive objects that sit on shelves aren’t nearly as interesting as something like a well-worn chair, a favorite doll or a oft-used kitchen table.

Worn off edges and scratched finishes. Who would think that such things would be so desirable?

God does.

Look. Maybe you are feeling a bit distressed today? Like maybe your edges have been beat up and life has dealt you some blows? Take heart, because just like the character that appears over time on the objects in our homes, God is producing character in you. He’s allowing things to nick at your shiny finish, exposing what’s underneath – what you’re made of. He is showing the world that there is strength in you – a strong inner core that takes on the challenges of life and becomes more beautiful with time. Those sharp edges? Rubbed smooth so that you can treat others with love and empathy. A few scratches? That just proves that his faithful love is carrying you through your circumstances.

You’re not sitting on a shelf, uselessly collecting dust. No, you are being used and loved as you work for the Lord. He is softening you and bringing a richness to the surface that only comes through time and experience.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV


What are some of your favorite well-worn objects? How are you experiencing God’s character-building activity in your life?