Indulging in a spot (OK – a black hole) of browsing on Pinterest recently, I fell into that all-familiar trap of “I can do that“.
The lure of the “easy-peasy DIY project” that is “great for the kids”, accented with a soft-filtered setting of sunbleached driftwood and fresh peonies was too much to resist, so I gave in to temptation and decided that I too could make my own stencils using a gluegun and make beautiful art with homemade paint sprays.
I dug out the gluegun and cleaned off the ancient glue smeared around the tip. Where are the gluesticks? Cue much rummaging in the back of cupboards, among the old curling ribbon and escapee buttons from long-abandoned projects…..Yes – found a couple rolling around in there – dust them off, they’ll be fine.
Now baking parchment – smooth out the wrinkles – I’m sure it will be fine.
Sketch the design on the paper, then “draw” over it with the gluegun – simple.
Only, it isn’t – the glue pours out uncontrollably leaving gossamer strands all over the gun, my fingers, the paper, the bench, my hair. It also consumes the gluestick at a rate I hadn’t anticipated, leaving me scrabbling for another one mid-swirl (OK, more wobble than swirl).
The finished product is a far cry from what I envisaged. What’s more – it doesn’t lie flat, so any paint sprayed onto it flows straight underneath.
All in all, a disappointing project.
But as the paint dries and the mess is cleaned up I think about what might have been and what I’m left with, and I remember Samuel the priest’s words as he anointed David to be Israel’s King:
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1Sam 16 v 7).
In the sanitised and heavily edited world of social media it’s easy to compare our messy, sinful, wobbly, frail whole selves with the thin veneer of perfection presented on these public platforms.
Instead of worrying about how we look, how clever, talented and beautiful people think we are, let us look inside ourselves, and present our messy, broken, damaged, ugly lives to the One whole heals and saves.
Just as I am, thou wilt receive;
wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
because thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come. (Charlotte Elliot)