Tag Archives: becoming

I Am the Artist

A friend of mine wrote this and posted it to Facebook. Such a valuable concept that I’ve been thinking about it over and over. Too often I’ve given the very design of my life over to others. To their opinions or expectations. But when the metal hits the road, I am the responsible for my own canvas. I choose to look to the Creator with a capital C to help me discover all He intended for this canvas. I often seek wisdom from the world around me, trustworthy people, good books. But in the end I choose. Thanks, David, for giving me permission to share this!

I AM THE ARTIST by David G. Colister

I am the artist and I am the artwork on the canvas of my life.

This canvas is and always will be mine. If it bears unwanted graffiti then I did not guard well enough my canvas. If my painting lacks the color, perspective, style, composition, or mastery I desire to represent my life then only I, the artist, am responsible.

If I lack the talent, tools, resources, and vision necessary to paint my life’s picture as I desire it, then I must devote the time, effort, study, ingenuity, and discipline necessary to realize the beauty I want for my life. And I will remind myself, demand of myself, and force myself, with all vigilance, to own up to the quality of my artwork at all times and in all stages of its development. My life is my design.

I must deny the incessant interruptions that would distract or delay my work. I must persevere in refusing access to the endless line of uninspired critics who insist on invading, without invitation, the studio of my mind.

I find nothing more heinous than the thought of someone forcing me to paint upon my canvas according to their vision. I will not let this happen no matter how much I admire, need, or fear a person — be it a relative, lover, friend, boss, co-worker, financier, celebrity, or ruler. This is my life, not another’s. I hope others love what they see on my canvas, but I will not sacrifice my authenticity for their approval, regardless of the cost to me or our relationship.

Likewise, I will refuse any selfish temptation to force my vision upon or touch my brush to the canvas of another at any cost to myself. Each one must take responsibility for the results of one’s own life’s canvas. I must give others the freedom to paint their life their way. Not only would it be wrong to take credit for the art someone else creates, but it would be artistically criminal for me to force my vision upon another’s canvas.

Therefore, I will make no excuses for the quality of my painting and I will pass no blame. I am responsible for the final version that will ultimately define my life. My painting will hang for eternity in the Museum of Humanity. I am ever mindful that I am only allowed one painting in those hallowed halls, so I will make my contribution count. I will add to the collective beauty of human history, not stain it.

With God as my witness and by His grace, I pledge to maintain my resolve to paint my life on my own terms and with my own hand and according to my own vision.

My mind is set, my hand is steady, my heart is full. I am determined to paint a masterpiece of which I am proud, that represents my truest self, that satisfies my soul, and inspires other artists both now and for generations to come. Therefore, I will paint well. I will paint true.

One day I will place my signature upon my masterpiece when my life is finished. On that day I will kneel before my God, the Creator of creators, to reflect upon the art that is my life and will do so with deep gratitude, humility, and awe for the opportunity to paint a human life…

I am the artist and I am the artwork on the canvas of my life.

You can read more of David’s stirring thoughts by connecting with him on Facebook.

San Diego – And We’re Off!

Sometimes when you see the world, you can’t take a sidewalk, you have to stroll a jet stream.

It’s been years since I traveled west. In fact, best I can remember it was 15 years ago when we went to Hawaii. At the time Sarah was all of six years old. This time I flew with her and her HUSBAND! In case you’re wanting an update on the newlyweds, I think this picture says it all.

san diego 52Aren’t they cute??

Soaring above the snow-capped Rockies was breath-taking.

flying 2

I love to fly. I only wish the pilot would have announced it when we flew over the Grand Canyon. I’m fairly certain I recognized the landmark far below, but a confirmation would have been nice.

san diego canyon 2 (2)

For me, the trip was all about my new foray into the world of learning to become a business woman. Sharing the experience with Sarah and David was an added bonus. There are few businesses left where a family can work together for the common goal, but network marketing affords this rare treat. And even better, no one is the boss but everyone helps each other. I love this servant-leadership business model.

I had much to learn at the Life Force National Convention. Some of it I continue to process. You never know what’s going to bubble to the top when you get plopped into a new paradigm. But most of that story is for another post.

This day’s goal was to tour the home office. It was fun to pose in front of the sign of the company who helped bring Jerry and I back to health through its nutrition and weight loss products.

san diego 53

Maybe it’s homeschool mom hangover, but I love field trips. I even loved wearing the stupid hairnets,

san diego 55

seeing the bright blues rows of Body Balance and the huge vats where raw product is stored,

san diego 54

and touring the shipping area and office space.

san diego 56

Maybe I loved it all because I feel such a connection to this place, such gratitude for the people who formulated and marketed these products that have helped restore my health.

Or maybe it’s a piece of the American Dream that beckons me, reminding me that a business can start in someone’s garage just because a man was determined to find a way to help his wife get well. That little dreams can grow into full-fledged companies that sell product all over the world, helping people like me overcome health issues. And that the success of this garage business grew into something that helps people like me grow her own home business.

That just might be it.

I talk a lot about freedom on this blog. Usually it’s the inside-out kind, like losing weight inside to help ensure the weight on the outside stays off. Or finding freedom from the negatives of life, shedding old thinking patterns, and walking forward less encumbered.

Many years ago the Lord showed me that the novel I was writing was about my life call–joining with Him in setting captives free. I’d been set free from  great spiritual and emotional bondage and wanted everyone to find what I’d found. I spent the next 12 years writing devotionals, Sunday School curriculum, articles, and stories to share my passion. Then the car accidents happened and I couldn’t write for a season and the Lord used that time to introduce me to another area of bondage in my life.

Almost exactly a year ago God brought Life Force and the Benew weight loss line into my world and started teaching me a new kind of freedom–freedom from the outside weight. Freedom of movement. New joy.

I’m still processing that learning curve, and now He’s sent me on a new one, learning freedom from financial encumbrance. As I was to find out at the Life Force Convention, this kind of freedom, like the weight loss journey or the spiritual and emotional healing journeys I’ve been on, is also an inside-out discovery. More on that another day . . .

Until next time . . . enjoy your world one sidewalk–or jet stream–at a time.

Tweetable:

Enjoy life one sidewalk (or jet stream) at a time.

Like Butter Across Too Much Bread

tree branches 2Don’t you hate stretching? The kind where you sense you must change–are changing–but it’s so foreign, so excruciatingly slow that you wonder who you are and even if you are.

Many times I’ve watched friends go through intense growth seasons. They felt nothing was happening, but I saw it in them. There are seasons when the exterior output seems minimal, when we can’t figure out what’s going on inside of us, but there is change. Deep. Real. Good.

But of course the person changing is blind to all that’s being accomplished.

I must be in one of those seasons.  I’ve felt dead inside, like I’m not changing, not moving forward, not accomplishing. But last week I heard the kinds of words I’ve said to others during intense growing season they couldn’t see. Only this time the words came back to me.

Perhaps this thin feeling which has made me quiet here on A Benew Journey isn’t emptiness at all. Maybe the stretching is happening so fast that I struggle to keep up with it. So deep that I have to step inside myself for a time to to let me catch up to it and once again fill the whole space.

So what does a girl do?

On occasion she digs in her heels. She’s quiet. She bakes. She reads until she’s bored.

Sometimes she cries.

She tries to work–to learn a new business, to write a novel. Some days she sees a little success. Other days she wonders.

Sometimes she forces resistant feet out the door, determined to maintain the hard-earned new body, determined to feel God in the sunshine, breathe Him in the fresh air. Other times she drinks a salted caramel mocha and eats dark chocolate and screams into her journal with big angry words.

She complains and moans to God, wondering if He’s getting completely sick of her.

Then she remembers King David of the Psalms, and how he was called the apple of God’s eye even though he could be a major whiner. And that King David was also a heroic warrior and a passionate worshiper. That a person can be all of that.

Even on the same day.

And she remembers that Jesus died on a cross for whiners like her, that He didn’t come to rescue perfect people who were always strong and good, but just the ordinary person who chooses to believe He is and He loves.

And she writes on her gratitude wall in an effort to show her God that she does recognize the gifts, not just the struggle. And sometimes she reads her Bible and pulls the Words into her heart, remembering that God promises to restore locust years and to give hope and a good future. (And sometimes she doesn’t. She tells Him she’s tired of trying, of doing Christian things and He’s going to just have to hold her together ’cause she’s done.)

Her faithful friends remind her of all God has promised and all the direction He’s given.

And slowly she begins to believe the thin feeling of being stretched like butter “scraped across too much bread”* is just that. A feeling.

That God is at work.

That after a season of stretching she’ll fill up her whole new self.

That His promises are simply waiting for when she will be able to receive them.

Friend~It’s humbling to share the ugly parts, the me who struggles, but really aren’t we on this journey together? Humanity seeking to be full and real and good . . . and often stumbling, bumbling and wondering. The temptation is to only write about the good, especially now that I’m stepping into a new role as a business woman. Shouldn’t I always put my best foot forward, show the successful Paula?

But maybe you have these times too–times as a business person, a mom, a dad, an author, or one seeking to lose weight . . . and maybe the old voices scream at you, too. Tell you nothing changes, and you’re just a wimpy, little whiner.

When maybe, just maybe, God is stretching you. Making you bigger and better on the inside, where it counts.

And maybe if we’re honest with the journey, you and me together, we can unfurl the tight places, stretch our wings, and fly.

Share the hope:

Like butter across too much bread

*Bilbo Baggins in The Fellowship of the Ring