The last few weeks I've been preparing a Bible study based on Annie F. Down's book Let's All Be Brave.
According to Annie, painting risers on the stairs as part of my Sixteen Days of Getting My House in Order definitely qualifies as brave.
"The moment you take that first step,
the moment you start,
little seeds of courage,
the ones already planted there right now,
begin to sprout in your heart.
You aren't headed out to find courage.
It's in you, it is blooming,
and it is with you as you say yes
to things that seem scary."
p. 23, Let's All Be Brave
The thought of painting my stair risers was, indeed, scary for me. In spite of many hours painting furniture, walls, and various accessories over the years, painting laminated risers in a high-traffic stairway scared me.
I was afraid the paint wouldn't adhere, afraid that it would chip and scuff over time, worried that painted stairs would negatively affect the resale of our home down the road.
Because that's what it was ~ fear. As I've studied, pondered, and evaluated the concepts of bravery and courage, I'm learning to better recognize and identify fear voices within my own mind. This has been an intriguing journey for me. In the past, I haven't been quick to identify certain internal voices as fear, but instead would have described my thoughts using the word "concern," or "nervousness."
As I'm becoming more self-aware, I'm learning to identify fear for what it really is ~ voices and thoughts set on sabotaging my freedom in Christ ~ and to consider how willing I am to let those fear voices dominate my daily choices.
Even if it's something as silly as painting my stairs. Because yes, painting stair risers is not a life altering decision. However, for me, the process of painting these risers last week brought me one step further (pun intended :) on my personal journey of courage and freedom.
The same fear voices I hear when I set out to paint my stairs are the exact same voices I will hear when I worry over my children, or feel a prompting to reach out to someone hurting, or agree to teach a class at church.
Fear voices are prolific, but only if I let them be.
Now about those stairs....
I had this beautiful picture in my mind ~ a seed if you will ~ that was overdue to bloom regarding these stairs. Adding this home project to my Sixteen Days calendar was just the impetus I needed to take that first step. And Annie F. Downs was exactly right: The moment I placed the first run of blue tape on the first stair, my courage began to grow.
The thought of sanding all those narrow risers by hand would have certainly pushed me over the edge, so I opted instead to rub a Sander/Deglosser over each riser with an old rag. The deglosser took the shine off the surface and helped prepare the risers for primer and paint. When applying, I placed a sheet of wax paper over the stair below to protect it from drips. I used blue Scotch painter's tape to protect the top of the steps from paint.
After the sander/deglosser dried (about 10 minutes) I applied one coat of Prep-Right primer and let it dry for a couple hours. The primer application took me two hours, and I listened to Dave Ramsey podcasts the whole time. I love him.
That evening, I applied one coat of SW ProClassic (color: Creamy) in a Semi-Gloss finish. The ProClassic line is amazing for cabinetry and trimwork since it self-levels (eliminates brush strokes) and dries with an enamel-like finish. This coat, too, took two hours to apply. I let the first coat dry overnight before applying a second coat the next day.
The second coat didn't take quite as long, just over an hour to apply, and gave the risers that quality, professional-style finish that will hopefully be a selling point rather than a detriment should we ever sell this house down the road.
As you an see, I also painted the ledger boards along both sides of the stairs.
I think I love it.
For comparison, here is a view of our stairway the week we closed on the house five years ago:
And today, after a large dose of courage:
Bravery doesn't mean abandoning caution.
Bravery doesn't mean throwing yourself into an activity without first counting the cost (Luke 14:28).
What bravery does mean is listening, identifying and evaluating the voices in your head, and stepping out with an assurance of who you are in Christ.
You are not responsible for the outcome; you are responsible for the stepping.
And remember, you aren't headed out to find courage. It is already in you, through the power of Christ. And it is blooming.
Labels: Brave, Reflection, Sixteen Days