#28: Don’t paint the edges.

Sometimes I joke that my house is my personal arts and crafts museum. I love a good DIY, and so you’ll find them everywhere: the Craigslist dining chairs we spray painted, my map wall, the homemade garland I hang from our bannister every autumn. Ideas abound in the age of Pinterest, and I have loved a good craft project since I was a little girl.

Back when Pinterest was invite-only (does anyone else remember those days?), one of the very first things I pinned was a pair of side-by-side canvases. One read, “It is well,” and the other completed the thought: “with my soul.” (Sadly, the pin doesn’t even link to any kind of original source, so I don’t know where the idea came from.) The townhouse we moved into after a couple years of marriage had this funny corner fireplace. I struggled with how to decorate that tricky corner mantle, but as I scrolled through Pinterest, those two side-by-side canvas struck me as perfect.


The canvas has gone through a few different iterations. First, they were white with purple block letters. Later, I painted the background a blend of blues and greens and used a script font. The script is a little wonky, and I’ve debated going back and tweaking it, but that seems like too much work at this point.

But besides the imperfect lettering, I have to admit that I never technically finished those canvases. I never finished painting the edges. If you look closely enough, you’ll see that the blue paint drips onto the sides, but many of the sides are still mostly white. Oops.

At first, this was simply because I’m impatient. You can really only paint one or two edges at a time, and I hated waiting for the paint to try before I could complete the next section. But then, lots of time just passed, and I kept forgetting until I looked closely. In our old home, they hung like that for more than two years.

Then we moved, and I suppose that was the perfect opportunity to finish off those suckers…but I didn’t. I found a new spot for them and hung them up without giving it much thought. It’s been another 1.5 years. And you know what? I don’t so much mind that they are unfinished.


Over the years, “It is well with my soul” has been a soothing and helpful reminder during rough or uncertain times. In our new home, the blueish green matches our stained glass window almost perfectly. And you know what? I’m sure someone, at some point, has noticed those unfinished edges, but it hasn’t stopped plenty of people from offering compliments about that simple little art project.

When I look at those canvases, I’m reminded of what The Nester always says: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. And they remind me of one of my other favorite mantras: Done is better than perfect.

What’s true of those canvases is also true of you and me: Incomplete imperfect is perfectly acceptable. Even if we are unfinished or messy or a little rough around the edges, we have something worthwhile to contribute. Resist the temptation to paint the edges.


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