Imagine for a moment that you're an artist.
What would that be like?
Could you create practically anything at anytime and anywhere? Could you rise or fall or live or die by your creativity at any given moment? Could you handle anything that life threw at you simply by getting busy and tapping into your inspiration and ability to come up with artistic solutions?
As I've grown older, I've increasingly applied this approach to life. What if my life were a series of brushstrokes? No, seriously. I'm serious.
What if everything we thought, said and did were brushstrokes? The world and our lives would be the canvas while our thoughts, words and actions would be the paint we used to create these works of art.
What would your life look like if everything were a brushstroke? Would it be a Figurative Realist painting? An Impressionist concoction? An Abstract Expressionist mess?
I think mine would be Surreal. Believe me. Wonders and horrors never cease. They seem to get bigger every year.
Think about it. I mean, we've got only one shot to get this right. We don't get to come back and do this over again and it really all comes down to those brushstrokes.
Our brushstrokes say and reveal all. The colors we use, the way we swipe the brush against the canvas, the force or slight of hand that we use, whether we start in the middle and work outwardly or begin at the edges and work inwardly ... everything matters ... it's all about how we fill in the white space or the negative spaces of our lives ... and fill the composition.
When you consider those brushstrokes and how we apply them, you've got to think to yourself ...
"It's not easy being green ... or blue ... or red ... or yellow ... or orange ... or purple ... or pink ... " OR whatever other color we could whip up. Each brushstroke is a decision and a calculated move that contributes to the overall picture of our lives. Isn't it?
We can face up to this or we can deny it. Denial is a brushstroke in itself. What we think or don't think, say or don't say or do or don't do are all brushstrokes.
And here's the thing ...
Everyone in this life is painting their own picture. There's simply no way around this. Yes, life throws us plenty of curve balls, but it's the paint brush in our hands that really matters. We've got to stay in the game and keep painting.
Each morning, upon waking, we decide to pick up that paintbrush – or not – and paint the day. What will it become? Will it be charcoal on paper? Will it be a watercolor still life? Will it be graffiti?
Isn't art the absolutely best metaphor for life? Since art is almost as broad as life itself, how can it not be? If art is all about self expression, then how can we not see that brushstrokes aren't only about what artists put on canvas, but also about how we live our lives.
Most people walking the planet right now aren't artists, but we certainly have the innate ability to apply artistry to our lives. God created us and so, we're naturally creative beings. That's just how it works.
With every single brushstroke, you can be on the road to creating a masterpiece or major mess. And even THAT can be subjective.
That's why I choose to give everything over to my faith in God. Let Him be the potter and I'll be the clay. Let Him use me as His vessel. This feels like a very full proof approach to me.
Whether you agree or not ... like it or not ... it's all about those brushstrokes and how you apply them.
Do you know what I love about this approach? The fact that it forces you to really focus on what YOU are doing. Like a painter in front of a canvas, it requires you to meditate throughout your day and carefully watch each brushstroke you make. You simply don't have the time or inclination to look over at someone else and judge what they're doing because you're too busy trying to get your own brushstrokes right. You're only screwing yourself when you look over at someone else.
Finally, you're learning to let other people be who they are ... while YOU do YOU. Also, you become quicker at correcting your own mistakes. When you're mentally, emotionally and spiritually present, you find that you're much better at monitoring yourself and you think twice before saying or doing something stupid.
Since you're more present in your own life, you can say to yourself ... "Why did I say that? Did I really need to say that?" OR "Why did I do that? I totally did NOT need to do that." "I need to apologize."
What if everything we thought, said and did were brushstrokes?
With the brushstroke approach, you cannot help but marvel each day at how far you've come and how there's so much more to explore. Despite our very best efforts on our very best days, we haven't even made a dent in anything.