Hope in the Mess

The other day I heard a friend say that she was going to find a new paint color for her dining room and start the project this weekend. After sticking an imaginary fork in my eye, I asked if she liked projects like this.

“Oh I love them!” she exclaimed. “I get tired of the same color and like to try something new from time to time.”

I tend to avoid projects unless required by law. It isn’t that I don’t love a fresh coat of paint or a new look to a room, I just lack confidence when it comes to decorating. My husband isa great painter and has spent many hours making our home look better. I, on the other hand, have never painted any of my walls because I tend to say, “It will look terrible if I do it.”

So I do the mature thing and just act like projects aren’t for me.

This summer, I traveled to Nogales, Mexico, on a service trip. For some reason, most of the jobs assigned to me included painting. I chuckled to think that I was in charge of painting projects and hoped my lack of expertise wouldn’t show.

One afternoon, I found myself alone on top of a house, painting. I loved seeing the progress I made and even found myself admiring my work. I didn’t have a great paintbrush and the paint wasn’t the highest quality, but I was painting and helping make some improvements. At one point, I even noticed that because of all of this practice, my painting skills seemed to be improving.  The best part was that I wasn’t worried about making a mistake.

I know part of the reason the painting was easier was because I didn’t have to use drop cloths or tape up the windows or worry about paint dripping on the floor. All of those things were true. Deep down though, I know I enjoyed painting in Mexico because there was freedom. Freedom to not have to be perfect which then allowed me to actually improve and grow and make progress.

I wondered what it would be like if I could have this same attitude in my own home. What if I took a risk and painted my living room a color I liked, not worried about whether other people  liked it or if it looked perfect? What if I allowed myself to enjoy the process, paint mess and all?

Myquillin Smith, otherwise known as The Nester, challenges the idea that you have to have it all together to make something beautiful. In fact, her blog motto is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”  In one post, she talks about the fact that sometimes we are too worried about what others will think to really take a risk and create. She then takes it a step further and says,

“Maybe there is someone else who is the person in your life who is the most difficult to please. Maybe they are the one person who you are truly afraid of when it comes to creating a beautiful home. Maybe that person is a perfectionist you. It’s okay to be afraid. Just be willing to admit what you are really afraid of.”

This doesn’t have to be about decorating. In fact, I doubt I will start a lot of big home projects in this season of my life. But there are other projects I want to pursue that, if I am honest, I just might be postponing because of fear.

What are you afraid of? What have you always wanted to try, but just keep putting off because you just don’t think it will work, or you might fail? What would freedom look like? Could we maybe allow ourselves to enjoy the process, mess and all?