My friend Ericson and I spent a week painting. We painted pictures on the walls of a nursery school. And I think we did a pretty good job, although this was my first painting job and I didn’t have any time to train. I learnt on the job.
There is something Eric did that kept nagging me. Every few minutes, he would step away from the painting and look at it from a distance. I thought this was a waste of time. He didn’t have any right to enjoy watching an unfinished painting!
So while he stepped back and watched his painting take shape, I would crouch over my painting, concentrating on a face that was having a hard time looking human. Then I would complain that the shade of brown I mixed wasn’t right for the face. But Eric didn’t look concerned at all. He would mix all the wrong colours and I would chastise him for it. But he would go ahead with his experiments.
On the last day of the job, I stepped back and looked at our paintings for the very first time. My jaw dropped! I was looking at the best painting I have ever made! Of course it was the first painting I’ve ever made, but it looked beautiful—much more beautiful than it looked while I was fussing over the face that was refusing to look human.
Then I looked over at Eric’s painting. It was a profusion of colour. And it looked magnificent!
That was when God spoke to me. He said one word.
And it dawned on me. I looked at the paintings, and all I saw was my life. I realised that I had wasted a lot of time fussing over the little things in my life that refused to line up with my expectations. There were the frustrating relationships, the unfulfilled dreams, the little time, the overwhelming schoolwork, the little money, et cetera, et cetera.
I was spending too much time focusing on the unimportant.
That day, God showed me the right perspective. I stood back and looked at my life from a distance. I saw all the friends around me who loved me like crazy. I saw the manuscript that’s completed and waiting to be published and my renewed interest in fine art. I saw the many more years that stretched ahead of me—years that were far more than the ones I had lived so far. I saw the less than 365 days of schoolwork that were remaining. I saw the money that was waiting to be harvested from my writing, cooking and maybe painting. And I saw life. A great life!
So from that day forward, I purposed that whenever life tries to bog me down, I will stop looking at one ugly square centimetre on the painting. I will step back, and see the whole painting take shape. I am pretty sure I will always like what I will see when I step back.P