The thing is that I’m sorta cheap and lazy.
Okay, not sorta, but really cheap and lazy. So when it came time to paint my small hallway, I bought a quart of paint and said it would be enough.
Except it wasn’t enough and I ended up being about one wall short of a fully-painted hallway.
It just happened to be the wall that my computer armoire was going on (back in the dark period before I had an office I worked in the hallway) so I left it unpainted, moved the piece of furniture in place, and called it a day. Chris might have told me this was a bad idea and to just go buy more paint but I didn’t listen because you couldn’t see the wall! It doesn’t even matter!
After a few years, I got rid of the armoire and moved into my office. It was a glorious move and even now, almost two years later, I sometimes just sit in my office and bask in the glory of finally having a space to write. And think. And hide from my children. This office has been my sanity for a while now. I start my mornings here with God and end my days writing and dreaming. The hallway-to-office move was a beautiful transition.
But in the excitement of the move, I forgot about my unpainted wall. I was wrapped up in furniture choices, bright curtains, and “how many plants can I buy before Chris notices I have a plant problem?”
The hidden, unfinished wall had slipped my mind.
Until it was front and center, staring at me in the face every time I walked by it to use the bathroom or go to my bedroom. Then it was there all the time. And I hated it. I regretted not just buying more paint at the time; seriously, how much would it have cost to buy another quart of paint? $15? At this point, I don’t even remember the paint name or where we got it.
So now I have to take down all my pictures (*ahem* there’s quite a few) and re-paint the whole dang hallway.
That’s a whole lot more work than it would have been originally.
I’m an idiot.
Recently during my quiet time in the fancy office I have, I’ve been reading about the prophet Jeremiah and how God called him to warn Israel about their impending doom for ignoring God and worshiping other gods. Jeremiah warns them again and again–for years–to turn from their evil ways and repent, but they ignore him.
From the safety of the future, I wonder why they didn’t just listen to Jeremiah and follow God.
From the safety of the future, I wonder why I didn’t just paint the stupid wall.
It makes me wonder how many times someone has spoken warning or truth into my life and I’ve ignored them because it wasn’t convenient or quick or easy. It makes me wonder what damage I’ve done to myself because I ignored others’ warnings. I’m not just talking about the damage of buying new cans of paint and spending an afternoon re-painting a hallway, but the bigger things that aren’t as easily repaired.
Relationships I’ve ruined. People I’ve hurt. Money I’ve wasted. Time better spent. Years believing I knew all the right answers (and even now, I don’t know all the answers but I sorta still do).
I wonder how many times I’ve hidden something because it was too hard to tackle at the time and then it came back, bigger and badder later. How many times I made excuses and ignored something that should have been taken care of right then and there.
So I’m trying to ask myself more often these days: should I paint that? What can I put a little more work in at the front end to avoid disaster, heartache, or wastefulness later? Am I trying to hide something because I’m lazy? Because it will eventually find its way to light.
What about you? What should you be painting? What might take a little more work now, but end up being better in the end? Your kids? Your marriage? Your finances? Your relationship with Jesus? Your job? Your retirement? Your sanity? What are you brushing under the rug that you just need to address head on so that you can be better later?
What should you be painting so that you don’t have to–years from now–do more work, spend more money, learn harder lessons than you would have if you had just listened, just painted, earlier?
What should you be painting?
Me? I’m going to be painting a hallway. And maybe listening to my husband a little bit more. Maybe.