I’ll never forget when I first learned to drive. Before I turned 16, I bought a 1952 Volkswagen Beetle with a standard four-speed transmission; it had a stick shift. It stayed parked in front of our family home until I got my driver’s license. It wasn’t much of a car: it had five different colors peeling through the previous paint jobs; the heater only worked in the summer, a distinct problem during Colorado winters; and the starter didn’t work, which meant I had to push start it everywhere I went. No wonder I paid a whopping $200 for it, but it was my car!
As a beginner driver, I could only do so much. My biggest challenge was learning to let out the clutch, give it just enough gas, and turn the steering wheel just right while trying to watch oncoming traffic and shift gears—all at the same time. I grew up in a small farming community in Ohio, so the big city traffic was terrifying to me. I thought I’d never get it and that driving would always be a lot of work. Then came that glorious day on my way home from school when, without realizing it, I shifted from first to second gear while turning into our neighborhood. I was no longer learning the technique; I was actually driving intuitively! I began to experience the joy of driving and having my independence. Traffic no longer made me nervous. I quit worrying about stalling the engine at a red light. Sometime in those brief months after getting my license, using the clutch, shifting, and navigating traffic became innate. Driving a standard transmission had become, well, automatic.
It Becomes Automatic
Developing your Life Palette will become automatic for you as well. If I asked you to list those whose lives you admire, that you believe represent God’s masterpiece, you’d name people like Mother Teresa, the Rev. Billy Graham, President Abraham Lincoln or perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. You might also list those who’ve impacted your life but are unknown to others. Perhaps it’s a business person who succeeded in your line of work or a great teacher who influenced your life either in the classroom or in their ability to make a difference in the lives of their students. Some would list a clergyman, a coach, a parent, or perhaps a sibling.
Yet regardless of how you arrived at choosing the names on your list, the one thing they all have in common is how the development of their Life Palette became automatic. The fundamentals they put into place to create their Life Palette simply became a part of who they were. People like this would struggle to recall what they did or even how they learned to develop their palette. Sure, they had to work at it, just like I did when learning how to drive a stick shift. But ultimately they did it, and it forever defined who they were and the impact they had on others.
At the start, developing your Life Palette will be technical, frustrating, and even nerve-racking. But as you practice the God-given principles set forth in this blog, you’ll live your life in such a way that the master artist can paint each day with the brush strokes of His creativity and destiny for you. (I explore how to do this more in depth in my book Life Palette, God made a masterpiece…and it’s you!)
Living, like painting, is a process. Your Life Palette is a means to an end. Most people spend their life concentrating so much on earning a living and learning how to do their jobs or advance careers, they miss out on living as the masterpiece they are created to be. It’s in living as His masterpiece that you find joy, peace, purpose, and fulfillment. The process of developing the fundamentals and disciplines of your Life Palette will ultimately allow or limit you to live life fully and completely.