You are the artist in your life. You create the images and colors on the canvas called your life. Are you creating the picture you want? Does your canvas convey a life of fulfillment and growth? Or does your canvas convey chaos and despair?

Sometimes we don’t like what we see in our lives. And I ask, “Who is responsible for the likeness reflecting back?” Some would say outside forces, such as inadequate parents, poverty, addiction, rotten breaks, racism, homophobia, a disability, incest, and any number of other things. No doubt, outside forces can and do influence our life canvas. But I invite you to consider that, more often than not, we allow outside forces to color and define our lives.

You are the artist; God is your co-creator. Together all things are possible. But when we mistakenly believe that other people control our destiny, we end up feeling bitter and hopeless. In truth, we’re in partnership with a Higher Power, or whatever you choose to call it. I call that power God. We make the initial decisions; God carries out our plans. God could not render our lives what they are without our assistance. We are the artists, and ultimately we call the shots. For years that was hard for me to accept. My life was rotten. I had a drug habit and an addiction to alcohol, I was selling my body to support my dysfunctional lifestyle, and I was making bad choices that led to more bad choices. And I thought it wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t the artist who created this mess. I remember thinking, “If only I had a break, if only someone would give me a chance, my life would be different.” Sadly, when a few kind folks tried to give me breaks, I blew up the opportunities.

How easy it is to believe we have no control over the events of our lives. How easy it is to believe our lives are preordained and that someone has control over the details. Holding on to that belief renders a big payoff because when things go wrong, it’s not our fault. And when things go right, it was just God’s will. But never do we play a part. Or so we think.

I invite you to consider a different perspective. This may not be easy to swallow if you are a struggling single parent, someone who has just lost a job, or someone facing other tough circumstances. You’re invited to first see whether you played a part in where you are. And the best news you can give yourself is to say yes because if you played even a small part, there is something you can do to change that canvas of your life. But if you played no part whatsoever, then you may be waiting forever for someone to change the course of your life. And that could be a very long wait. Even if you played no part, what can you do today to re-create your life? What action can you take to create a more appealing image? You are the artist in your life.

What picture are you creating this week and how can you make it better? And money’s not an object. There are little things you can do to beautify yourself, your living space, and your workspace. There are also small changes you can make regarding the people in your life. You’re invited to be your own artist this week. And you have at your fingertips all the necessary tools to turn your canvas into a masterpiece. If your canvas is not plain, but just not as you’d like it to be, then you can use your tools to embellish it just a little more. Let your imagination run wild. You’ll be given an opportunity to do a self-portrait, idealize your living space, re-create your workspace, and define what you want in your relationships.

Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law, Author, Speaker

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