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An Interview with Paul Lafrance Host of HGTV shows including Decked Out, Disaster Decks, Deck Wars
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By Lisa Hall - Wilson

Paul Lafrance is the owner of Cutting Edge Construction and Design, and is perhaps best known for his role as host on several HGTV shows including Decked Out, Disaster Decks, Deck Wars and as a judge on Canada’s Top Handyman. His band Found In The Fury released their debut CD Songs In The Cave in 2013.

You grew up in the church, when did your faith become your own and not your parents?

I did grow up in the church. I bounced around a few different denominations until settling in at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church, which was very well known when I was in my late teens. I went through a teenage rebellion and in my early 20's, I was engaged to be married and this girl was my whole world. Life wasn't about God, it was about her. When that didn't work out, I had to really look at what was real. What was life really about? Truly finding God, not just religion was my decision.

High school drop-out. You live outside the box. You don't fit the construction or music stereotype. Did you ever imagine this kind of success for yourself?

I have always been the square peg trying to be shoved into a round hole. There have always been too many rules about what you can say and talk about and do.

So No, I never imagined this. But I know that I had to realize I had to be myself, the square peg who has a lot of fun all the time, loves people, and desires to be authentic in everything, before I could take this job. Before I could go in front of the camera. Everywhere I go now people recognize me. I wouldn't be able to do this without God. I have no idea what the future will bring, but I know God is in control of it all and that's good enough for me.

How does your faith affect/influence your day job in front of the camera?

With a lot of humour. I'm the same person in front of the camera as I am behind it. That's the greatest compliment anyone can say to me. You're real. The day I become a different person when I'm "on" than who I am at home on my deck with my friends, is the day I will need to be punched directly in the face. I am determined to just lay it all out there. That's who I am.

Tell me about your music. What message are you trying to get out there with it?

With my music it's a little different. I'm a lot more vulnerable. There's a lot of passion and heart and soul that goes into each song, and putting it out there is really hard. My CD is called Songs From The Cave, and it's all about coming before God without pretence, being who you really are, and discovering who He really is. That's what I hope my music does. I'm trying to reach the people who are the square pegs, who don't fit into the religious structures, but know they have a "God shaped hole" that needs to be filled.

You talk about "an internal journey into true authenticity." That sounds like something that defines you. How are you different?

I spent a brief time in Bible school in my 20's and a teacher there said, you know - don't give all of your life to God because He’ll take it. What?! Then why follow God at all if you're not gonna trust Him?? I decided I would be a man that would! My journey with Him since has led to a lifestyle of being real, having fun, and being childlike. I go to work and play with wood, and create things with the mind of a child. I have a lot of fun. It did take some time though, to stop trying to be so adult all the time.

Growing up, I was always told that I had a heart like David. I got so sick of it. But now I see that David's psalms don't hide his pain. He talks about the bad times, about when he's failed, and at the end of it says, you know, I'm gonna trust you God no matter what. That speaks to me. Nothing can shake my faith. It should be OK to talk about what you're really struggling with in the church.

You’ve said your music was trying to "uncover why there are so many Canadians disenfranchised by the church." What answers have you found to that question?

The world sees the church as this place where there's a lot of hypocrisy and judgement. They've been preached at, and told what to do. There are a lot of people in the church who live by a bunch of rules that don't make sense. Most of the people I've talked to who have walked away from the church have done it because they haven't fit in, because they've been judged on some sin. It's OK to talk about some things, but not drugs or porn or the so-called "big sins." Let's be real.

If you don't like your church that's fine. Don't walk away from God, don't walk away from your faith. But let me make myself clear, I love the church. I love God. With all my heart. I get a little emotional talking about this. It breaks my heart to see people walk away because well meaning people have misrepresented God and caused pain. If you don't fit in, that's OK. If it's not working, that's OK. Find something that does, but don't walk away from Him.

You talk a lot about finding rest. Why is the idea of 'rest' so important?

In North America we are so busy. We have email on our phones tied to our hips. We're always connected. We can't get away from it. I build decks because it gets people outside and in God's creation. All the stars in the sky point to Him. All of creation points to Him. I'd rather sit on my deck and talk face to face with people than through Facebook. Most of the meaningful conversations I've had with friends and family in the last year have happened in that 10x10 outdoor room where I have incorporated fire and water - natural elements made available through mass manufacturing. (laughs)

Lisa Hall - Wilson
Freelance Writer/Author/Journalist
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