Imagine that when you are born, you arrive with a brand new canvas, fresh paints, brushes and a clean paint palette. A few seconds before you emerge into the world, God smiles at you, kisses your forehead and says, “I can’t wait to see your masterpiece when we meet face-to-face again!” Next thing you know, you’re being cleaned up by a nurse, bundled up and introduced to a lot of new people! And so it begins…your life!
At first we are completely dependent on others to provide for our needs, but even as infants, we are observant of the stimulus around us, both positive and negative, hence, the first base colors emerge on our life canvas. Then we grow older and our sense of “self” develops as we learn that behavior choices have good and bad consequences as even more colors are added to our canvas.
Now things are really getting interesting! We discover more about our family and family values, develop friendships and become a full-fledged participant in life. Our autonomy is growing and sense of self is growing stronger. We gain knowledge at school, learn social skills, try sports, learn about winning and losing, develop independent and artistic interests. Suddenly we are immersed in the new world of societal, gender and ethnic boundaries, as well as biases. We vividly realize how big the planet Earth is and how many different types of people and places there are to experience! We make a myriad of choices everyday. To some, this is exciting, to others overwhelming. Individual perspective is born of our life experiences and so our life canvas continues to explode with many new images and colors.
From an early age we are taught what to value, what is bad and what is good, what is permitted and what is not. We also, from quite an early age, develop discernment and innately “know” what works for us and what does not. We, as the consummate artist of our life, find that we have the ability to blend colors or paint with the unaltered color in its original form. We can paint details or go abstract; we can paint in jewel tones or pastel. What a wonderful discovery! What an amazing gift from God! Now we understand the ultimate, selfless gift of “free choice.” Our life canvas is whatever we choose it to be. At birth, we were not given a canvas with an outline imprinted on it to “fill in” with colors already designated. We were not told what images or colors were required. It is solely up to us! There is no panel of judges to determine whether our life canvas is good or bad, worthy or unworthy of acclaim. Every life canvas is a masterpiece in God’s eyes. You can’t get it wrong and what’s even more exciting is that you are free to change it at will!
The colors, images and style of your life canvas reflect all of your experiences and choices from the day you were born. It is a “work in progress” until you return home to present your personal masterpiece to God. Think about it. Really contemplate it. You emerged with all of the tools you will ever need. It does not matter what your circumstances were at birth or what they are right now. You can choose to stay with the current life canvas and color palette or decide to change it. What will you paint today?