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Painting and Patience

When my wife and I moved into our new house a few months ago, our eyes immediately went to some projects around the house that we could set ourselves to accomplishing. While her eyes looked to repaint the walls from uber-drab khaki to something better, I gravitated towards smallish additions that we could make. Nothing major like knocking out walls or building new rooms, but minor things. Things like building a doghouse for our puppy, re-treading some steps, making some raised garden beds, other home-owner stuff.

See, I really enjoy making and building things. I’m no master craftsman by any means, but it brings a peaceful feeling working towards creating something new. The resonance of sound and touch that comes from hammering nails into wood to bind them together is a calming feeling for me. So when the opportunity came for me to set my hands to creating something for our home, I ran to it.

I settled on turning one wall in our front room into a full-wall built-in bookshelf to house all the books currently sitting in storage. I had a picture of what I wanted to do in my head and could see it just the way it was supposed to go. We got the wood and I set to measuring, cutting, sanding, and fastening in earnest. It felt good and we got them up and installed in a matter of a couple days!

Then, the painting phase hit. Oh, the painting. What was once a peaceful and soothing job turned into an arduous task. We got the shelves built over 2 weeks ago and are still painting. As much as I enjoy building and making things, I have an equal distaste for painting. While I’m sure this bookcase will look great in semi-gloss ultra bright white, I’m seriously debating the look of sanded pine.

How could this have happened? How could something I was so excited about turn into something I dreaded so much?

Has that ever happened to you? I think a time comes for all of us when something we’ve been working for and striving for turns from joy to trial. It can happen unexpectedly and without warning. We invest so much of ourselves in our jobs, our families, our friendships, or our faith because we genuinely love those things. But then there comes a day when all of that feels more like a task to be completed than a passionate project. There’s just one too many reports to turn in. Or we’re just a little too tired for enjoying time with family. Or the quirks we normally love about our friends becomes an annoyance.

Days like that happen to all of us. It’s part of the human condition. The danger is when we allow those irregular days to become the norm. When we allow the small moments that try our patience to become the norm that dictates the rest of our lives we lose sight of the passion and love that defines us. It’s a constant battle we have to fight, striving for the positive moments that can override the ever-encroaching push against our patience. Paul writes to the Galatians “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.”

Cling tight to that promise: that if we do not grow weary in doing what we know is right, we will reap a harvest. On those days when our joys turn to jobs, do not give up on doing what is right. Be ready, because they will come. There will be tough days and days you don’t want to keep up. But have patience, and know that a harvest will come.

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Josh Godwin

There a handful of things in this life I truly love: my God, my wife, my dog, my town, my Cheerwine. I also love ministering with teenagers to help them realize God's love and everything God made them to be.

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