Upcycle Stuff

Pinterest.  A veritable wonderland of projects and ideas to inspire me.  One of my favorite categories on Pinterest is up-cycling, the idea that we take something old from the trash heap and turn it into something fabulous.  And since it’s on Pinterest, it will be fabulous, right?

I think the reason up-cycling appeals to me so much is the idea of taking something which appears to have exhausted its usefulness and turning it into something beautiful and useful.

Up-cycling is different than restoring furniture.  Antique dealers sift through garage sales for pieces of furniture to restore.  They decide what to restore based on the original worth, the potential resale value, the quality of construction, the type of materials used, and how well the item has been maintained.  They look for intrinsic value and restore an item to its original condition – or as close as they can get to it.

Up-cycling takes something with no apparent value and gives it a new purpose.  It’s closer to the new life a tire gets as a swing after it is no longer useful on a car.  Up-cycling says, “I see value where others do not, and I want to re-make this item into something fabulous.  This item is not yet finished, it has not exhausted it’s usefulness, I want to give it new purpose.”

I think God is in the business of up-cycling and we should be, too.  I think he often sees an ongoing purpose in people and experiences where I see someone or a circumstance as “used up.”

He does not see people who have exhausted their usefulness.  He does not cease to value the old.  He is not quick to discard the broken people, whether they are old or new.  He doesn’t pick over the options and carefully select the items with the most initial value made from quality materials that have been carefully maintained.  He sees us and our experiences as an opportunity to remake something fabulous with a new purpose.

The Bible term for this is “redeem.”  And God regularly redeems people and experiences to give them a new purpose.  He invests time and effort into remaking the things others see as useless into something fabulous.  He places great value on all people and paid a very high price to redeem them.

The thing about Pinterest is that it inspires us to see the material things around us differently – to find beauty and value and purpose we would have missed before.

I sometimes wish there were a Pinterest category for up cycled people.  You know – the board where the prostitute is remade into the princess or the legless orphan becomes a gold medalist.  I’d love to see the pictures of brave men and women honoring their wedding vows when their spouse no longer knows who they are.  And relationships restored after great heartbreak.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see the many people who are up cycled every day?  Wouldn’t it inspire us to see people differently – to find beauty and usefulness we are currently missing?

Upcycle people

God sees the value in every part of his creation – from broken pallets to broken promises to broken people.

The question is, do I?

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Photo Credits:
ladakh woman: By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World (Ladakh Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
“my grandfather”: By Diego Grez (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
transylvania woman: By Sprok (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
boy with down syndrome: By Vanellus Foto (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
china man: By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World (China Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
military baby: By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
south africa woman: By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World (South Africa Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
brian1: By Jennifer1982 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
china woman: By Steve Evans from Citizen of the World (China Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons