Let There Be….Paint? by Mary Beth Foster
…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…Hebrews 12:1-2
I hate to paint. Boy, do I hate to paint. I realize hate is a strong word, but I think it’s appropriate for my feelings about painting!
I finished painting my son’s room not too long ago. I knew I wouldn't enjoy the process, but knew that the end result would be worth it. The problem is, I’m not good at painting. I’m never totally satisfied with the work I've done. I always see the spots where I should have been a little more careful, or areas that really could use some touch up. But, I don’t do that little bit of extra because it’s too much work. It takes more effort, so I settle for what’s “good enough.”
This time, I had a four-day weekend designated to painting this room. I mentally prepared for this job for months. Yes, months! By the time the weekend came, I felt ready. Excited, even. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, right? The first day was prep day-clearing things out, taping off, filling holes. Tedious, but OK.
On the second day, I started painting around windows, the door, base boards, the ceiling. Ugh! This put me in a very bad mood. I didn't realize just how many edges needed careful attention until I was deep in it. A friend called and offered to help, but I told her it might be in the best interest of our friendship if she didn't come! As much as I would have appreciated her help, I didn't trust my self -control to not snap at her.
Day three: Rolling. This should encourage me, right? Big progress with each roll? It had the opposite effect. It made me see how much I had to go back and touch up the edges around the windows, door, baseboards and ceiling. Double Ugh! I went to bed feeling discouraged, but trying to remember my goal-a job well done and a fresh clean room. I kept reminding myself that it would be worth it in the end.
Day four: I woke up, looked at the closed door (have paint fumes ever killed someone in their sleep?) and walked by it. I ignored it for 2 hours. Finally, I opened the door, knowing I had to face the music. I looked at the walls I had so painstakingly touched up the day before. They actually looked pretty good! I kept looking, but didn't find anything I thought needed extra attention. I know it’s not perfect, but all that careful work really paid off.
And then it hit me.
What if I were that detail-oriented in my walk with God? That every day, I put careful thought and attention to my prayer life, living to glorify Him and thinking about the final result? Purposely looking for the splotchy patches of my life and using God’s word to cover them up. Working through frustrations, and not giving up when I feel the urge to settle for “good enough.” If I did that, I know it would really pay off.
Paul reminds us to run the race and persevere. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus. It’ll all be worth it in the end.
Do you put as much careful thought into your walk with God as you do to other things that fill your day? If not, how do you think your life could be different if you did?
Prayer: Father, Today I commit myself to working through the things I need to face and to no longer settle for "good enough" when it comes to the race you have set before me. I ask you for the courage I need to persevere and the focus to give attention to the "details". I want to be the woman you had in mind when you created me. Please help me get there. Amen.