Messy Workshops

PR31 does an amazing job of keeping our home clean. The truth is, though, we live in it. It’s not a showroom… It’s a test track for life. It’s not a display… It’s a research and development lab where we are being mixed and tested.

Were you to walk into our kitchen… where my sweet wife basically makes every meal from scratch… you’d discover that we always have dishes to wash. Before the dishwasher gets finished washing, more are waiting to go in. Sometimes, you might find spices or olive oil sitting on the counter with the coffee maker and bread machine. The kitchen table often holds the boys’ craft projects and our Etsy store products in various stages, along with a beautiful centerpiece. Life happens there. We get stuff done there. So it’s not always spotless.

Now, lest you think I’m throwing PR31 under the bus, all you have to do is walk out the kitchen door into the garage, which holds more bicycles than it does cars, and which I have almost successfully converted into a woodworking shop. (It is not uncommon to see our minivan sitting outside the garage so that we have room to work.) No matter how frequently I sweep the floors (and walls) and pick up all the scrap pieces, there is sawdust everywhere. Even though we try to keep it neat with a crate for reclaimed wood, a small stack of lumber under an 8-foot table, more stacks of smaller, usable scrap pieces placed on the two lower levels of the workbench along with hand tools, and paint drop cloths folded in a stack, it never seems fully clean and neat. I don’t always wrap the cords up neatly at the end of every day because I know I’ll be right back out there tomorrow, working with those same tools again.

But it is a workshop. It’s not designed to show off tools. There are stores and websites for that. Instead, this is where the beauty that was once an idea becomes reality. Beautiful results can come out of messy workshops. In fact, they often do. Painters’ studios have splatters. Flower shops have clippings. Automakers’ production facilities have metal shavings and grease.

We all see the finished works… the gorgeous arrangement… the piece of art… the furniture in the showroom… the delicious-looking meal set on the table in the restaurant… the flipped house on the TV show… the sleek vehicle on the commercial… and we fail to notice the messiness it took to produce that thing of beauty.

And sometimes we do the same with our lives… or the lives of those we know. We want to see a finished product. We want to see a piece of art. We want to see it all dusted off, trimmed, adjusted, placed in perfect lighting and accented to highlight its magnificence, but we fail to notice that life was produced in messy workshop.

We can each produce beautiful results from the messy workshops of our lives. We can impact others positively. We can bring things out that others could not see. We can bring flavor and excellence to the table. But it might be a messy process. Before the beauty, there may be some bumps. We might make a little mess getting to the finish line.

That’s okay. Solomon said in Proverbs 14:4, “Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.” In other words, you can have a neat, clean, pretty little life that everyone oohs and ahhs at, but in order to truly get anything accomplished which benefits others and you, there’s probably going to be a mess to be cleaned up from time to time.

I say all this to tell you not to get discouraged today if the workshop of your life looks like a mess right now. Something beautiful and wonderful is being crafted in you. It won’t be long and you will be generating more amazing results than ever. People will look at what you produce and stand in awe. There may be pots and pans, or sawdust and scraps all over the place right now, but don’t let that get you down. That just means there is some serious work going on, and something beautiful is being made.

For the record, we ought to remember this when it comes to the lives of those around us as well. Their lives may look messy at the moment, but let’s give them a chance to see what kind of beauty they can bring out of that mess. We can help sweep up layer. Let’s cheer them on now.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some woodworking to get to out in the workshop… I mean, garage… today. And maybe PR31 will still feed me something after this post. 😉


Author: Allen Chapin

- Christian, husband, dad, friend, leader, author and speaker - Life Purpose = Love & Encourage, Offering Grace & Hope - Life Motto = Living for the applause of nail-scarred hands - Life Verse = Matthew 25:21

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