What A Break From Social Media Taught Me

The red dot popped up again so I dropped what I was doing to check my notification only to realize that I was invited to yet another direct sales group.  I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t something more exciting.  Something more pressing.  Something more significant.

What is it about that red dot?  Why do I feel the need to drop everything, whether I’m reading my Bible or having a sweet conversation with my daughter?  Why is it so compelling?

When I was little, there were no red dots.  There was a mailbox on the porch and a phone with a cord but nothing quite so instantaneous – nothing that beckoned my attention so strongly and discreetly.

vintage phone

This stage of life has been a challenging one.  As a stay-at-home mom and blogger, I have struggled with remembering that my significance is in Christ alone.   In my prior life before motherhood, I had a high-profile job on a church staff.   To a degree, I put my identity in my role and my seminary training.  As a result, I often find myself grasping for significance where it simply cannot be found.

When I get to the heart of the matter, I get excited about the potential of someone on the other end of the red dot who related to something I said, looked at my blog or just liked the funny meme I posted.  My true intention is never to seek the approval of others but sin is subtle and the enemy knows our weaknesses.

Especially as women, who think 12 thoughts while simultaneously juggling just as many tasks, the enemy likes to fly under the radar.  Our most destructive thoughts are the ones we are least aware of and it is absolutely no coincidence that these temptations emerge when we least expect them – usually at the most chaotic of times.

Renovated Faith

It’s difficult to admit that those dots gave me a subtle, but present, feeling of being needed, wanted and valued – nevermind the fact that it was in a social media realm that doesn’t truly exist.  All the while, my Creator and Savior sits waiting for me to open my eyes to where my true significance lies.  He beckons me to cultivate the one relationship that matters most but I’m too caught in my own web of self-involvement that His grace-filled invitations often go unnoticed. 

As an experiment, I decided to delete facebook from my phone at least for a time.  I left it on my computer because it is still a tool I use it to keep up with friends and to share blog posts.  Deleting it from my phone made is much less accessible and therefore less enticing.  Here are some things I discovered:

  • Drug-like Habit – Even after deleting it from my phone, I would mindlessly pick it up with the intention to scroll through my newsfeed. Almost like an involuntary reflex, I picked it up over a dozen times the first day out of pure habit.
  • What I Missed Out On – At the end of the day, I looked forward to going to my computer to see ALL the amazing content I must have missed.  To my surprise, I missed nothing – unless you count some empty notifications and the chance to learn about these beauties from a friend’s post.
TopShop Jeans
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  • New Focus – I completed tasks faster and was much more focused as I worked on them.
  • Mental Excuse – My mornings were smoother.  I realized I would lay in bed and scroll through my newsfeed purely out of hesitation to “start my day”. I would often use my phone as a mental excuse to not do something I dreaded or feared.
  • Pray Instead – When I got the itch to check my phone, I decided to pray instead. After just one week, my prayer life has been much better am giving my fears to God instead of just avoiding those situations by checking my phone.

 

The problem isn’t social media so much as what social media provides – instant gratification – quick and easy access to the things we desire most.  In our eyes, it can be a catalyst to what we hold dear – but in reality, it only supplies quick delivery on flawed goods.   Like hoping to find a rare diamond in a gumball machine, we look to the wrong place for what we need most.

The things that give us true meaning and fulfillment take time, work and commitment:  Relationships, job fulfillment, contentment – “there’s no app for that”.

Social Media Addiction

So often, we fall into the trap of seeking good things in the wrong location.  This is the very crux of our humanity.  Just like Eve who sought knowledge – but from the forbidden tree, or Sarah who sought motherhood – but in her own time-frame by having her husband lay with her maidservant.

Fortunately, our significance doesn’t come from how much others notice us.  It’s quite the contrary.  What God has called you to do, although seemingly insignificant is important simply because He has called you to do it. 

Significance

We are significant because our connection to Him and Him alone, no matter our status.  Don’t confuse your significance with your station in life.  Whether you are a stay at home mom or a CEO, we all play an important role in God’s plan.

What if we evaluated Mary’s significance by her station in life at the time of Christ’s birth.  She was an average Jewish woman giving birth in today’s equivalent of a barn, and not the white shiplap type.  However, her intrinsic value as a child of God and the mother of our Savior makes her an invaluable tool for God’s purposes.  Our surroundings and status are independent of our worth as they are props on the stage of His divine plan to bring about His will in our lives.

Our significance comes not because of how many see what we do but significance comes because of our connection to Christ.  God loves to use ordinary things and make them extraordinary.  Simply say yes to God’s plans.  Use your ordinary life to serve and extraordinary Savior.

If you find yourself constantly checking your phone often and for no apparent reason, what are you hoping to get from it?  Is it significance or something else entirely?  What do you feel like you are missing and where are you running to fill the desires that only Christ can?  Take a minute to pray about that and you’ll be amazed at the freedom of remembering where your significance lies.

‘Til Next Time,

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Social Media

The Right Way to Refinish a Rolltop Desk

Roll top desks are such classy statement pieces in any home.  It’s so rare to find one in excellent condition.  They are notorious for being difficult to paint because you can easily gunk up the tambour (rolling portion) with paint causing it not to roll at all.  If you are lucky enough to come across one, here are some tips for a successful transformation.

You Will Need:

  • Brushes and 6″ rollers
  • Wood Filler
  • Mouse Sander with low (60) and higher (180) sanding pads.
  • Zinsser 123 Primer
  • White Paint – I used Behr Ultra in Ultra White Satin
  • Base Coat for Faux Stain – I used Behr Honey Butter Flat
  • Gel Stain – I used Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut
  • New Hardware
  • Minwax Wipe-on Polyurethane.

I stumbled upon this desk on a Facebook page that a friend was selling.  This desk was perfect to redo because the top portion comes off and the tambour just slides out making it so much easier to refinish.  The desk was structurally in great shape but the surface needed some love.

Rolltop Before

I knew I was going to sell this piece so I decided to do the surface a dark stain using my gel stain method and would paint the rest white.  I realized that the plastic sleeve on both sides that the tambour slides into was already dark brown so I tried to spray paint it white to match what would be white.  Let me save a little spray paint and a lot of frustration by telling you that was a horrible idea.

Spray Paint Rolltop

The spray paint started peeling away when I moved the tambour up and down.  It looked horrible so I spent over an hour scraping the spray paint out with a putty knife.  I decided to faux stain the interior of the top to better match the plastic sleeves as there was no easy way to change their color.

Spray painting the tambour is also a horrible idea.  Ask me how I know…

I took off the hardware and filled obvious holes, scratches and dents on the desk with wood filler.

Filler

After 48 hours of drying, I sanded the entire desk with a rough sandpaper pad (60) with my mouse sander.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my sander?!? Below is a picture of the two of us!   (Also, wear a respirator or mask when sanding the wood filler because those tiny particles can get in your lungs…No bueno!)

SanderSanding

Sand the tambour by laying it out flat on the ground and sand as you would the rest of the desk.

SandingTambour

After sanding it was time to prime.  Once again I used Zinsser 123 water-based primer.  I just found out they made a spray paint  version which I will have to try out on my next project.  Get a nice thick coat of primer on your piece of furniture.  You’ll notice that I didn’t get any primer on the groove the tambour slides into.

Prime 1

After priming the rest of the desk, I laid the tambour over a round kitchen garbage can that was on it’s side.  I wanted to open up the creases so I could get primer in each crease between the wood slats.  I was able to do this with a thin coat of primer.

Prime Tambour

Get just enough primer to fill in the dark portion in between the wood slats.  Use your brush to wipe off any excess and wipe your brush on some paper if you have too much paint on your brush.  You have time to wipe off the excess before it dries.  What you don’t want is a thick layer of wet, drippy paint on the tambour or the paint will crack once it dries.  The Zinsser 123 Primer is perfect for this application because it is thin but clings well to the grooves while covering well.

prime 2

At this point, fill any remaining holes, dents or scratches on the rest of the desk.  You should now be able to see them easier with the piece primed.  Sand those parts after they are dry.

Halfway into this process, I realized  that this desk didn’t have any of the cute ‘card catalog’ style drawers that you so often see on these desks.  I decided to add some using some unfinished jewelry boxes I found online.

Jewelry Boxes 1Jewelry Boxes 2

I bought two for each side and glued them together with carpenter’s glue and clamped them overnight to dry.  I also pulled off the wooden knobs, filled the holes and then made holes for some cute pulls.  Make your holes before you paint because you don’t want to risk screwing up the final finish.  I then glued the drawers onto the inside of the desk using wax paper to ensure the glue didn’t seep onto the desk top.

Base Coat 1

 

I started painting the desk with the yellowish base coat on the places I would faux stain and used white on the rest.  It took a couple coats of white paint because the desk was so dark.

I used the same process on this desk as I did with the end tables in my post How To Gel Stain Wood  Here is a pic of the first coat of gel stain.  You want to leave some sections only partly covered in the first coat to make the second coat a little more translucent and “wood-grain-like” in those parts.

Gel Stain

Back to the tambour…While I let each coat of gel stain dry at least 24 hours, I laid the tambour flat on the concrete and added a thin coat of white.  Again brush off any excess.  It was still a little streaky at this point but you will touch that up towards the end

After the second and final gel stain coat, I added a coat of wipe-on polyurethane to the stained parts.  The nice thing about latex paint and polyurethane is that you know that in 10 years the finish will look the same and be just as durable.   Both finishes provide a clean, wipe-able surface that will not hold dirt easily.

I have a friend that did her entire kitchen cabinets in chalk paint and wax.  They looked fantastic but after only 6 months they looked awful because the porosity of the chalk paint held on to every speck of dirt and dust in her kitchen.  She ended up redoing them in latex shortly after.  (Getting off my soapbox now…)

After touching up the tambour one last time, I put the desk together including the main drawers, the top and the tiny drawers.  I also added new hardware to the whole desk including ‘card catalog’ style drawer pulls to the top drawers.  Didn’t they turn out cute?

Drawers

 

Desk Transformation

Rolltop Desk with Stained Top

Notice the concrete floors in the background.  We had a massive flood which I shared about in my post Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation.

Rolltop Desk with Closed Top

This desk was quite an undertaking but worth it to bring out the full potential of such a fabulous vintage piece.  Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my other furniture transformations!

Writing Desk Makeover

Coffee Table Reveal and a Word About Transparency

Made Over, Inside and Out – China Cabinet Transformation

 

‘Til Next Time,

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Rolltop Desk at www.renovatedfaith.comTheRightWayToRefinishARolltopDesk

Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation

You might remember my pristine DIY Entertainment Center that I featured on the blog a couple weeks ago.  Now marred by water damaged and covered with dust, these pieces currently sit in our garage…..entertainment-center-2Last Sunday night, we woke at midnight to our daughter screaming.  I ran into the living room to check on her, sure that I would find her in the midst of some frantic search for her mermaid doll that fell off the bed.  Apparently, her mermaid not only fell off the bed but went for a swim because she picked it up to find it was covered in water – as was most of our house!

Living Room

Two inches of water from a broken toilet valve now covered most of our home.  We sloshed through soaked carpet to try to move most of our furniture into the garage.   A company came to pull out the carpet and set up industrial fans and dehumidifiers for a week.  Carpet has been pulled up from every room,  much of our furniture is in the garage and the contents of every closet was left in a huge pile in the middle of each room in order to remove carpeting.  The wind and noise from the fans only reminded me that the state of our house was now a swirl of chaos.

For someone who likes to surround myself with order, beauty and solitude, my home quickly became a wet, concrete-laden, obstacle course of wet furniture, carpet tacks and confusion.

I had some unfinished furniture pieces in our garage and decided I needed to finish them up to make extra room.  I pulled a half-completed secretary into our living room (aka ground zero) to touch up.  This was a piece I worked on for my friend Rebecca to use as her daughter’s desk.

Secretary before

I began put the hardware on the secretary and soon a peace came over me.  The drawers had been strewn all over the house as I waited for them to dry.  It was no nice to see them finally come together to make something beautiful. I am reminded that in spite of chaos, God’s peace can still reign in our heart’s and minds – not matter the mess, no matter the struggles or disaster that surrounds us.

Priscilla’s Shirer’s The Armor of God is a Bible study that brings to light the spiritual warfare that surrounds us on a daily basis and how to combat it.  In it she states:

“Anywhere peace is lacking you can be sure the enemy is at work.”

Peace

This quote stopped me in my tracks.  I realized that my heart felt as chaotic as our household because I was allowing Satan’s lies and deception to steal my joy and contentment.

I was blaming my discontent on the state of our house but, in reality, the peace that God gives is not as the world gives. Just because I was surrounded by disorder, my heart can be calm because God can be trusted with even the messiest of situations.

The Lord recognizes that we will have hard times, but God’s overwhelming peace has the capacity to give you rest in the most turbulent of circumstances. 

So many times I have read Philippians 4:6-7.  It is a well-known verse that commonly adorns coffee mugs, picture frames and refrigerator magnets.  Unfortunately, when it comes to this verse, I often confuse familiarity with apathy.

Do Not Be Anxious

 

This is one of those powerful verses that the enemy would love for us to forget.

But how do we really experience God’s peace in the midst of horrible circumstances? 

Priscilla points out that this verse is intrinsically tied to Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

When we make a conscience effort to pray with thanksgiving, instead of allowing anxiety to rule our thoughts and emotions, we are expressing a firm trust in God and His care for us.  By taking this step in faith with thanksgiving, we are affirming that God has the capacity to overcome anything that life brings.

This is the key to unlocking the peace that so often alludes us…

As Priscilla Shirer says, “This kind of faith catches His attention and He response by activating His peace within us – a peace that will not only guard but also guide us by helping us to discern the direction God is leading us to take in our lives.  Note the progression: trust leads to thankfulness and gratitude activates peace.”

As I wrote in 7 Tips To Find Your Calling, let your fears and anxieties become a reminder that you have something to bring before the Lord in prayer.  When we trust our situation to God by submitting our concerns in prayer and thanksgiving, He will be faithful to release His peace in our lives.  Before you know it you will to see the beauty of his plans even in the midst of chaos.

My prayer is that your every anxious thought would filter through this truth leaving you with the peace that only He can give.

Even in the aftermath of the flood, I was able to complete this secretary.  If you look closely, you can see concrete floors in the background.  What a testimony to how God brings beauty from ashes, growth from decay, and hope from destruction.

aquagraysecretary

secretary2

Enjoy some of the pictures of the finished secretary!  If you liked this post, you might also like:

DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

When Anxiety Knocks and God Answers, Part 1

‘Til Next Time,

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When Peace is Lacking