The pressing and urgent always seems to win over the chosen or selfishly-enjoyable.
On Facebook, I shared this photo on June 13, 2010. A friend posted a photo from her home that had a similar wall. I wrote that mine had been painted like that for about nine months. So, somewhere around September or October of 2009, I tried a few combinations of color, toying with paint techniques on my bedroom wall. For four years, I’ve been dreaming of painting my room … while successfully putting off actually DOING it!
Part of the reason I let myself put off the job is because rarely does anyone visit my room … except me. It is in the back of the house so you don’t pass it by when you’re heading to the guest bath. Guests don’t have a reason to venture there. And … it still feels so selfish to focus effort on something that nobody will enjoy … except me.
Part of the reason ties in with self-worth and value, as well. I don’t HAVE to paint my room. Nobody sees it except me. I don’t have to clean it up … paint it … to sleep well. Why do we women, especially, think it is okay to dedicate hours and even days to help someone else move, paint a room or do a project ….
but feel guilty for doing something for ourselves?
I’m really working on this. I’m working on valuing myself and caring for myself
in ways that also bring me joy. I’m learning to give myself permission to do things for me.
And then, some of my reason for not beginning to paint was fear. What if I started and didn’t like the color? What if the job took forever and ever. How can I revamp my room and still handle all the other things that need to be tended? Men begin a job and work on a job and finish a job. As a mom, I can begin the job, but I have to stop to move laundry, stop again to cook lunch, run carpool, make dinner …. and all the other distractions that come in between. I’ll talk to James and he’ll confess that he’s been working on his car for 4-6-8-10 hours. He won’t stop to eat. He only stops to make a run to the auto store to buy a part, if that comes up. God gifted men with such focus that they don’t become distracted. The opposite is true with women. We are built to multi-task. And it’s truly a gift … because it is my job to handle laundry, cooking, errands, carpool …. if I was single-focused … the rest of my home-life would simply fall apart. Yet, it’s a hard thing to figure out the balance.
So, this summer, a friend of mine encouraged me by helping me paint my ceiling and then helped me cut in the walls so that I could paint my bedroom. At first the walls were this delicious moss-green and the trim was a cool light brown. I LOVED the colors individually … but I didn’t like the finished product. Just to make sure it might not “grow on me,” I left the colors for several weeks. But, it felt like I was in a camouflage duck blind or a hobbit bedroom …. It LOOKED like it should SMELL like mushrooms. The bi-fold, louvered closet doors took three coats of paint to cover well so repainting the trim was absolutely out of the question. So, I decided to change the walls instead. I went with a shade of brown that was slightly lighter than the trim … and I think it looks awesome. It felt like an ALL-SUMMER job, but looking back, it only took about ten days total to paint and then re-paint.
With the new paint came a need for new curtains. I’m just soooo frugal that I had to find a way to cover my windows for a small amount of money. I had a curtain rod under the house from year’s past. I had material stored away that once belonged to my grandmother. My only purchase was for the rings to hang the material on the rod. At 5.99 per pack, I spent a total of $18.00 on the curtains.
And my favorite part of the curtains? I added these grand little …. let’s call them flags. My house is very “no-frills” … but I wanted to add a little bit of fru-fru.
And the artwork? I collect old wooden frames. I’ll buy them at yard sales regardless of what is inside the frame. I pulled out the frames that seemed to coordinate with my room, each one having a splash of metallic, aged gold … and they all worked well so … I hung them!
I bought this frame around the corner at a yard sale. I’ve had it for years, as well. I THINK I paid $5.00 for it. I love the fact that the frame width is the same width as my headboard. It almost gives an illusion of a very tall headboard. The museum light was marked WAY down at Lowe’s a while back. I’m pretty sure I got it for $7.99. I mounted the light to the frame and hung it after painting the walls.
Here’s a neat addition. That beautifully aged bookshelf …. is really just a wooden box with 70’s furniture legs attached. It was out on the street on trash pick up day.
I brought it home, washed it and brought it right inside. It’s short so it doesn’t block the window’s natural light and it offers book storage space! What a grand find!
On a visit quite some time ago, my sweet friend Kenneth insisted that I take a pew book rack home with me. I don’t remember where he got it, but he had a few of them. He said that he knew I would find a good place for it. At the time, I wasn’t sure where I would be able to use it … but my reading corner was perfect.
And so, my room is now finished. With new paint, new curtains, artwork hung and an awesome book rack in my reading corner.
It feels SO good to take some time to do something of value for myself. I’m thankful for all the ways that God provides things that I am able to piece together to make something beautiful, welcoming and comforting. And as I look around my room, I see bits and pieces of friends. I see Jeff who asked me on more than one visit, “When are you going to paint your room?” I see Frank, who gave me hours with a paint roller in hand. I see Darlene, who tossed a box and didn’t mind my salvaging it. I see Melissa, who sold me a framed print that was from a family member. And I see Kenneth who wanted to share something special with me and insisted that I find a place for it.
It feels good to put fear aside. One of my fears was spot on. I had feared that I would finish and not like the room. And in fact, that happened. But, I found that what I feared … wasn’t so bad in the end. I just backed up and began again. In the end, it took some time, but the finished product was well worth the extra effort.
So, with the help of God, friends and courage
I step through doors that fear has held shut.
I am learning to offer myself grace and energy.
And I share these things to encourage you to do the same.
Do you take the time to care for yourself?
Do you make time to do things that bring you joy? Do you see yourself as worth the effort?
What have you been putting off because you fear the job will be too great an undertaking?
Is there someone who could help you … work alongside you and encourage you?
Does the job cost most than you have to invest?
Look for ways to God to provide that are outside the “norm.”
I encourage you to pick a task … one that you have been putting off …
and ask God to help you figure out how you can afford the equipment, the tools and the time
and then watch for Him to answer that prayer.