A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to hangout with some friends at a local park while our kiddos played. I got to chatting with one friend who enjoys refinishing furniture. At the time, she was in the middle of working on a family heirloom hutch. I was sharing with her how impressed I was that she was able to undertake such a task. I explained how terrible I am at envisioning an object being transformed into something better. She responded saying, “That surprises me based on the nature of your blog.” Her comment led me to ask myself, “Why can I envision improving myself, but not envision furniture becoming something better?” The answer came quickly, “I’m not good at envisioning the potential when the gap between the ‘beginning’ and the ‘end’ is too wide.”
I did my best to explain myself to her. I told her about 2004 Sara, Present Sara, and Future Sara. If you had told 2004 Sara that she would have four children, be happily married, have endured severe depression along with the loss of her mom, and would be living in Oregon, she would have scoffed. Just as, if you were to tell Present Sara that Future Sara will be physically fit and traveling the world, it would fall on deaf ears. You see, envisioning the potential, when huge strides are involved, is not my forte. I hope to be physically healthy, but I don’t really see it happening. Isn’t that terrible? If I’m honest with myself, it just seems like this unattainable goal. I can swallow the idea of taking baby steps to being marginally healthier (Hence, the one burger a week goal mentioned in Who Do I Want to Be?), but the idea of being my ideal weight just seems far-fetched at this point. Perhaps my lack of ability to envision such a Future Sara is what keeps me from becoming her? I certainly know that my lack of envisioning the promising potential of junky old furniture has prevented me from purchasing such a piece. This is why my friend’s remark has really left me contemplating my belief in a person being transformed. I know it’s possible, as I’ve seen it in certain aspects of my life, but that’s only when I look at things in hindsight. Apparently, I have greater difficulty envisioning the potential of Future Sara. This brings me to another discussion I had with my husband.
My husband and I were discussing the opportunities we have to fulfill a greater purpose in our lives than we are now. Let’s use my lofty Life Bucket List as an example. There are items on there that require money, a physically fit Future Sara, and some untapped adventure, among other things. And, if you recall, I have a longer Life Bucket List that has an additional 20 items that I did not make public. This master list has items that are more spiritual in nature. So, in discussing this matter with my husband, I brought up my conversation with said friend at the park. I likened myself to an old junky piece of furniture and a refinished piece of furniture. I explained to him that I just can’t see how junky-old Present Sara can turn into refinished Future Sara. He responded wisely, as he often does.
::COMMERCIAL BREAK:: We have an upcoming move that leaves us in need of multiple furniture items. Seeing as how we know a few people who are savvy at refinishing furniture, we thought we would call upon their talents. The plan was that we would find a cheap piece, tell said talented friends what we want, and pay them for their services. Are you proud of me for attempting such a task, as it contradicts everything I have typed thus far? One of the friends, who plans to help us, mentioned that when searching for a dresser, we need to make sure the drawers slide appropriately. Apparently, having to fix drawers makes the project more costly and complicated. It’s not impossible, just more difficult. ::NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULAR PROGRAMMING::
So, my husband explains to me how I have it all wrong. He informs me that when likening myself to the refinished furniture analogy, I’ve put myself in the equation incorrectly. I was looking at it as though I had to refinish Present Sara and turn her into refinished Future Sara. It turns out, I’m not the refinisher AND the junky old furniture piece. I’m just the furniture piece and our Heavenly Father and Savior are the ones helping to refinish me, according to my husband. Then he says (and this is why I gave you the COMMERCIAL BREAK above), “All you have to do is slide your drawers, Sara.” My part in the analogy is to be sturdy and keep those drawers sliding smoothly. And I believe that wholeheartedly. His explanation, along with that first conversation in the park, has helped me realize that I can be a refinished Future Sara and I don’t have to go at it alone.
You’ll notice in the COMMERCIAL BREAK that neither my husband nor I are planning to refinish the furniture ourselves. We recognize that there are others in our midst that have a passion for this hobby. We’re just going to find the furniture that is sturdy and fits our needs. In short, we’re getting help, just as we do in our own lives. We don’t get to a better version of ourselves entirely on our own. We become someone greater through experiences that strengthen us, people who encourage us, testimonies that build us, opportunities that surprise us, and a loving Heavenly Father who guides us. Don’t misunderstand me, we have our part as well. I don’t intend to sit here ideally and wait to be transformed into something grand. I’m just learning that I don’t have to know exactly how I’ll get from Present Sara to Future Sara, but I do have to believe that it’s possible.
My original purpose for this blog was to share insights I’ve had that have helped me become a better person. I continue to receive these little pieces of enlightenment in my life that I hope might inspire someone else to believe in themselves more. Clearly, I have much to learn in the way of envisioning the potential I have to truly be what I hope to become. I need to have as much faith in myself as my Father in Heaven and Savior do. Even having as much faith in myself as my husband has in me would be a significant increase from where I’m at now. This is not easy for me. The Unlikely Perfectionist speaks to this weakness of mine. I get overwhelmed by this idea of refinished Future Sara and I panic. Turning into her is just too hard, so it seems easier to stay as junky-old Present Sara. I’m still sturdy and sliding my drawers, but I’ve yet to allow the refinishing process make me something even more beautiful. It’s time to begin. Having this analogy in my arsenal has already given me greater hope. I don’t have to do it alone.
Whether you are a person of faith, or not, this analogy applies to us all. We all can be refinished. We all have this great potential that is waiting to shine through. Some of our drawers may be broken and might need more TLC? Perhaps we’re not as sturdy as we’d like to be? The refinishing process, whether it be a Higher Being or a higher purpose that helps transform you, can include repairs. I know I’ve already had quite a few repair jobs done. I feel emotionally healthy enough to say that I’m sturdy and I’m doing my best to “slide [my] drawers.” I’m ready to get to the sanding and staining portion? Is that what you do to refinish furniture? I don’t even know. And, thankfully, I don’t have to know.
What I do have to know is that I have great potential and that potential is attainable. I have to believe that with the help of loved ones, experiences, my faith, and a greater understanding of my worth, I can be refinished. So, here’s to envisioning the potential I have to be refined.