I have developed a new-found love for painting. I regularly attend Paint Nite events with friends where an instructor leads a group of people through a guided illustration. The whole purpose of Paint Nite is to have fun and let your creative juices flow!
As I reflect on my recent painting experiences I can’t help but think of how a painter’s canvas symbolizes the human life in its various stages of development.
When a baby is born the canvas is blank; there are no pictures on the canvas because they haven’t lived through anything yet. As the child matures into an adult the canvas begins to display an array of pictures.
The pictures tell stories; stories about things that have happened; some sad, some happy, but all the while the canvas is piecing together various scenes that reveal a grand story.
When I think about my life I think about the scenes displayed on my own personal canvas. Some of the scenes I would not have chosen for myself and some of them I would have. Personally, I had painted pretty clear pictures of what my life should look like. The details, location of events and people that should be in it were pretty fine tuned. But I noticed that the painting in my mind didn’t always line up with the painting life was creating for me.
Initially I was sad, then mad, then angry at God. And I did not want to let go of the paint brush! I had to have my life look and be a certain way in order to for me to be happy (so I thought). But as I grew older and went through various life experiences I saw that the painting in my life wasn’t being entirely orchestrated by me. Yes, I was able to add a few brush strokes here and there but ultimately the way the canvas turned out was up to God.
I’m realizing that though I have total control over the outcome of the painting I create in a painting class, I have limited control when it comes to the personal canvas of my life.
It’s a frustrating, powerless feeling to look at your life and realize you don’t have as much control over your circumstances as you’d like. I think we’ve all felt that way. Many of us had hoped to be married by now, with young families, or further in our careers or maybe just further along in life. For a lot of people, life has not turned out the way they thought it would.
So all this reflecting has led me to an awesome personal discovery; I am in a season where I am learning to surrender the canvas of my life to God.
I have given control of the paintbrush to Him. So he can paint what he wants, when he wants. It wasn’t easy but I was tired of living from a place of frustration. I prefer peace instead. Peace does not mean live your life doing nothing but it doesn’t mean try to do everything either, particularly trying to do what only God can do.
Some of you guys are living a frustrated life too. You are banging your head against a wall trying to choose for yourself what God has not chosen for you.
I don’t know what the finished painting of my life, or this season for that matter, will look like. At times I’m afraid that it won’t be as pretty as I’d hoped. But then again it could be more beautiful than I ever imagined.
I’m surrendering the canvas of my life to God, and hopefully as a result a beautiful masterpiece will form, something much more beautiful and creative than I could have painted on my own. 🙂
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell