Just A Thought
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,Ephesians 2:10 KJV
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Gyms fill up and whole food markets flourish in January as many New Year’s resolutions involve working on outward appearances. In 2024, why not consider a resolution that involves inward growth?
My hobby is woodturning bowls, and as I thought about personal growth, I noticed similarities in the process I go through with turning a raw piece of wood into something of beauty. Let’s take a look.
In woodworking, sourcing means looking for the right wood but being realistic in the search. I will find oak, maple, and black walnut varieties in Surry County. I will not find mahogany or teak so there’s no need to look.
Pick something in your personal life that you’d like to work on this year. Be realistic. You can’t grow taller once you hit adulthood, but you can work on holding your head high and being thankful for God’s blessings.
In woodturning, there is a limit to the size I can turn on a specific lathe. So, I must select and cut an appropriately sized section of the log to fit on the lathe. Trying to turn a piece of wood that’s too large for the lathe won’t work.
Don’t expect to work on everything about yourself at once. Select one personal trait or issue to work on. Maybe it’s bitterness or a disagreement with a family member. Perhaps it’s gossip you’ve shared or a hateful response you wish you could take back. Select your focus and work to fix it.
In woodworking, I generally cut knots out. I cut off rotted pieces and deal with splits. I really want to make the best product with what I have.
But not all imperfections in the wood are unacceptable. Take a burl, for example. A burl is a place where a tree has healed over. It comes from growth hormones distributed by stress. But rather than being a distraction in a finished piece, a burl becomes a beautiful and desirable part of the item.
You’ve likely had times of stress, and just like the tree, the spot has healed over. Don’t cut that away. Instead use your experience to help others. Maybe your burl was bankruptcy, divorce, or the death of a loved one. You’ve healed or are still in the healing process—but others may not be as far along as you are. Some may be on the point of collapse, and I urge you to find those who are hurting and comfort them. The burl in a tree becomes beautiful in the finished product, and you’ll be beautiful too.
In woodworking the sanding is crucial. It shapes the wood and smooths the finish. When I sand, I start with a course grit paper to shape and then move to a smoother grit to refine. I can’t skip this step and expect a nice product.
Life goes the same. If we want to be better on a personal level, we’ve got to be honest with ourselves and remove certain things. Have you ever been around someone who always complains? Is that someone you? Or maybe someone who exaggerates or belittles people? That’s like sanding pine and ignoring the rosin. You must take the rosin away before you can sand off the rough edges.
Sealing and Shining
Sealing comes first because anything under the sealer needs to stay there. Have you ever painted over an unsealed wall only to have it bleed back through? In life, we also need to seal things off before we try to shine.
Maybe a job you had ended badly or a relationship that soured. Whether you were right or wrong, the point is you’ve got to move on. Just as the sealer goes on before the paint, in life you put down forgiveness first and build up from that.
I apply a shine to my woodworking projects after I’ve done my best—it’s the last step in creating my project. In woodturning, I use friction paste which is a polish. Surprisingly, the shine comes from pressure applied. In life you’ll only shine after pressure has been applied.
The highlight of any hobby is when it’s time to show. God wants to get you ready to show. After all, God created us in his likeness! It’s a long way from the sourcing to the showing but it’s doable and it all comes from a new start. So, what are you working on?