What Distressing a Bookshelf Taught Me About Jesus

distressing a bookshelf

Who knew God would use distressing a bookshelf to teach me about Jesus and the work He’s doing in my heart and life? NOT ME.

But, that’s what I love most about Him.

God takes the simple, everyday moments and uses them to teach me about Him. In some small, random, and usually (slightly) weird way, He uses what is right in front of me to open my eyes and help me see Him and His character in a new way.

So…here is what distressing a bookshelf reminded me about Jesus!


I PAINTED AND DISTRESSED MY FIRST PIECE OF FURNITURE! All I’ve ever really wanted in a house was a bookshelf and a chocolate lab named __________ or __________.

SIDE NOTE: I’m S T I L L not over that episode of Friends when Rachel couldn’t decide what to name her baby. She asked Monica what she would name her kids but Monica didn’t want to say. She hesitated and finally said “Emma” and then GO FIGURE RACHEL WANTED TO NAME HER CHILD EMMA AND MONICA LET HER AND I’M 100% SURE I WOULD NOT BE THAT NICE…so if you think I’m going to tell you my future potential dog’s name YOU ARE DEAD WRONG and I am NOT sorry about it.


I LOVE IT A WHOLE LOT. I literally get to lay in bed at night and just stare at my books. They stare back at me, of course…because we love each other.

I love them and they love me.


As I was distressing the bookshelf, I got to thinking about Jesus and the work He does in our lives and in our hearts.

FIRST OF ALL, distressing a bookshelf is *NOT* easy (#SweatFest). I don’t care what anybody says. I died. My brush broke. It was too big for the creases. I was sweating. THERE WERE SO MANY LAYERS. Not really. That’s dramatic. I only did like 2-3 coats…but then again, that’s more than 1 which is how many I wanted to do. Did I mention I was sweating?

Oh, and speaking of coats…a husband came home from work one day and walked into the living room to find his wife laying on the floor. She was wearing two winter coats and was passed out in a pool of sweat, paint-soaked brush in her hand.

After finally coming to, the husband asked, “What on EARTH are you doing?????” to which the wife confusedly responded, “The paint can said, ‘for best results………put on 2 coats!”

BAHAHAHAHAHA, I’m sorry. I had to.


Please laugh.

ANYWAY…I was sweating and dying and regretting every decision I had ever made in life up to that point. After the first coat of paint, I thought, “There’s no way on God’s green earth I’m going to mess with these creases. That’s ridiculous. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Image result for ain't nobody got time for that gif

So, I didn’t.

I left the bottom of the last shelf unpainted.

The corners have only somewhat been touched up.

I’m not trying to be dramatic, but I would have rather been punched in the face than tend to every nook and cranny on that bookshelf.

I sure as heck didn’t want to take the brush and paint the decorative rods or the corners. But seriously…I didn’t give 100% effort and I’m sorry. I’M IMPATIENT. I don’t want to wait for the first coat of paint to dry before doing the second…which is exactly why every single one of my art projects were duds.

Thankfully, Jesus does the total opposite!!!!!!

distressing a bookshelf

When we ask Jesus into our hearts, He comes in and does all sorts of crazy things. I mean…we’re talking about a total makeover. He doesn’t just stop at the obvious parts that need fixing.

Rather, he tends to the deepest, darkest, most secretive places in our hearts…the sin and shame nobody knows about but us.

God doesn’t care how hard it is to reach a certain spot or if it’s not going to be seen by anybody else. He’s going to work on that spot because He loves us way too much not to.

Sometimes, we can be pretty stiff about things.

There are places in our lives, nooks and crannies, that need to be touched up but we don’t even realize it because they’re not in our view…OR…we know they exist but they require too much effort on our part so we don’t bother tending to them…OR…we pretend they don’t exist since nobody else can see them but us.

But, honestly, that’s not how we grow and become more like Christ. We cannot avoid the places in our hearts that need tending to and pretend they don’t exist if we truly want to allow Him to transform our lives. We cannot allow those places to remain untouched if we want to heal and live in freedom.

Growing in our faith and becoming more Christlike just doesn’t work that way. 

Avoiding the hard to reach places nobody else can see but us like I did while distressing a bookshelf does nothing but hinder us and hurt us. And, if we’re not careful, Satan will grab hold of the nooks and crannies we’re ashamed of AND RUN WITH THEM.


Distressing a bookshelf reminded me of the most beautiful quote written by C.S. Lewis:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

God doesn’t avoid the “hard to reach” places of our hearts like I did while distressing a bookshelf.

And He’ll continue touching them up and making them look better until the day Christ returns.

How neat is that?

Today, I’m thankful for a Savior who continues to pursue me despite my rough edges, dark corners, and hard to reach places.

He is so patient with me.

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