First Impressions

Donned my painting clothes yesterday morning, determined to get back in the house-painting groove.Evening Reflections Yes, the vacation is definitely over. *smile* Is there any other chore more tedious to home-owners than painting? Or scraping, preparatory to painting? If there is, please let me know in comments, it might help me complain less!

It’s a long nasty story, but I’ve been trying to get my house painted for at least 7 years now. It wasn’t a priority to Hubby, and then when it was, he wanted us to spray the paint on, but our sprayer is very touchy–it’s definitely a two-person job. Have I mentioned yet that my hubby hates painting? He and I spray-painted one side of the house about four years ago, and another side two years ago. So this last May, I decided to start painting with a paint brush and I’m gettin’ her done! Eight hours slapping paint just today, Woo-HOO!

With every brush stroke I’m loving this house more. Its tattered exterior has long been an embarrassment to me…so to see pristine whiteness take over the weathered gray is magical. I find myself strangely exhilarated. Hubby is even impressed, and has forgiven me for resorting to a lowly paint brush.

How many times have I talked myself out of extending hospitality because of the sad shape of my siding? Too ashamed to count… Why do I worry so much about what people think? It really boils down to “first impressions” doesn’t it? We want our best face forward when we invite people over. Especially people who haven’t seen our home yet or who live in “House Beautifuls”. So we either dither ourselves into a panic over clutter in the corners or, like me, peeling home exteriors and falling-down barns, or we shrink back within ourselves and wave limply at the nice hospitable thought as we say bye-bye to an opportunity that could have blessed both parties. Us and them.

It’s really crazy that we worry about it at all. Here’s a question for you, do you really *care* what your friends’ homes are like when you walk in the door to visit them? If they look lived in, doesn’t it instantly relax you? It does me. One of my best friends is exactly like me. Her home was an old farmhouse till they built new last year, and her back porch and mine could have been twin sisters–they both looked like a twister had ripped through the night before. And we laughed about it. It bonded us. Silly but true. (So quit worrying about your houses!)

I’m so glad our Heavenly Father isn’t concerned with first impressions. If He was, good night, who could stand? His first impression of all of us? Black with sin! Yet He loved us sinners so much that He gave up His only son for our salvation. That’s amazing. We didn’t have to clean house first, or dress in white linen and go through a ceremony. Nope, He took us as is. Even when we continue in sin, He still loves us and forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Best of all, He doesn’t see us as sinners once we accept His gift of salvation. He sees us through the filter of His holy Son. That is grace. Grace we could learn a thing or two from.

So extend grace on yourselves and try not to let your lack of House Beautiful keep you from enjoying life. Here’s a little secret: I’m more in awe of friends who welcome drop in’s despite their messy houses, than I am of friends who have impossibly clean homes. Now doesn’t that make you want to invite the neighborhood over ASAP?