I used to love to refinish furniture, when life was a bit slower. It was messy and dirty, but when you could get through the layers and layers of paint, there was often a beautiful piece of wood just waiting to be discovered.
People are often like that.
There can be years and years of muck on the outer layers of their lives, but inside there is a beautiful person waiting to be discovered.
But it is messy to get to that point to see the beauty.
It takes our intentional time and an investment and above all else, patience.
In the end, just like the piece of furniture, there often is something so beautiful that was just waiting to be found.
I have met so many different kinds of people along the way just like this. Often I see the hard outer shell that has been hurt by the hardness of life. The thick coating comes in the form of: sarcasm, gruffness, one that pulls totally inward and lacks trust, belittling of others, controlling, stubbornness, and always more attitude then is ever wanted or needed! All that coming from years of muck creating layer upon layer on their outside, much like the paint on the furniture. Often there is a sense that there is no God or if there is one, he could not possibly be a loving one.
How do you handle the layers on the lives of those around you? Are you someone who is unable to see beyond the outside coat, or are you someone who wonders what is beneath the surface?
Dealing with people can be messy and dirty – but invaluable. It can take time to get to who the person really is, it means building trust instead of walking away, it means speaking truth in love and holding them accountable and caring enough to not let them stay in the muck.
Every day leaders know that as a leader, we have the ability to influence the life of someone carrying around the heavy layers. It’s about making a difference in the life of another.
We know that taking the time to care, encourage, build trust and develop relationships are a special gift that we can offer and it cost us very little but our time and in the end the reward is priceless.