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Daily Devotion

Paint by Number

By Hannah Goodwyn


Life would be better if it was like a box of chocolates. You certainly never know what you’re going to get. But, life is much more than that. Nothing and no one controls your destiny, except you. Ultimately, you decide your future.

The other day, God showed me a vision – a picture of how to live my life.

The room was pitch black with a spotlight illuminating a small chair and a painting easel. Holding my palette of colors, I sat staring at the white, untouched canvas. Then, nothing happened.

As the blank canvas awaited my first stroke, my mind’s eye foresaw inspired colors covering the paper. Picking up my brush, I anxiously paused. Feelings of failure consumed me. What if I couldn’t make something beautiful of my life?

Ashamedly, as I lowered my brush, I whispered, “I don’t want to mess it up.”

God gave me a good life to work with. But, this is me we’re talking about. I could totally screw it all up. What if I change my mind mid-stroke, and then the painting - my life - doesn’t look right?

Life would be much simpler if it were just paint by number. You know… those pages in children’s coloring books where you fill in the right color paint in a shape with a corresponding number. That way, we all could follow a set pattern to make sure that whatever ends up happening on the canvas of our lives isn’t ugly.

Then, I heard a calming voice say, “That’s not what I want from you.”

God impressed upon me in that moment something I’ll never forget. Even as I struggle to find my place in His plan, I think back to this picture.

With a color-coordinated number in each sketched segment, the artist could easily follow the set system to fill in the painting. But, our lives aren’t meant to be replicas of past believers. We aren’t called to live our lives like our fathers or mothers. God has spoken us into existence to be ourselves, to fulfill our personal calling. No matter how outlandish your call may seem, the Lord has created you – and you alone - for it.

Right then, an overwhelming peace flooded my soul. As long as God is my focus, I can’t make my life anything that He won’t consider a beautiful work of art.

When faced with life-changing decisions, many of us rush into panic mode, frantically questioning our ability to make ourselves useful. Our imaginations can paint the worst pictures focusing on every possible bad outcome.

For the most part, God doesn’t reveal our entire life plan to us. But, that’s so He can show Himself faithful and give us the opportunity to obey Him. God wants us to willfully listen to His voice, not robotically respond to a pre-set life. He gave us a free will to see what we would do of our own accord. Even if you make a wrong move, He will show you how to make what seems to be a failure a part of your life’s masterpiece.

Allow your life to be guided by the voice of a true artist. He won’t let you down.

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." (Jeremiah 29:11, The Message)

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