One of the greatest problems we face in creating our Life Palette is relationships. Like color, relationships give life depth and dimension; energy and vibrancy; emotional strength and stability. Relationships are a necessary and natural part of life. They are also one of the most powerful and valuable assets affecting our Life Palette. Relationships make all the difference between living as a masterpiece or as a forgery.
Every relationship you have has an impact on your Life Palette and on how God, as the master artist, ultimately paints the daily brush strokes of your life canvas. Some add tremendous value, always encouraging you to go to new levels in your life; while others have a negative effect and when left unattended could keep you from your destiny. The apostle Paul says it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Of course, while we get to choose some of our relationships (our spouse and most friends, for example), we don’t get to select all of them. We didn’t choose our parents, our siblings, our co-workers or the neighbor who moved in next door. Even if we had that privilege, with our limited knowledge of the future, we’d probably still make wrong choices. Just take a look at the couples you know who have divorced, most divorcees chose a mate they had broken up with at least once while dating. At one point, they thought they couldn’t live without each other; they thought the other person added so much value to their life they wanted to spend the rest of their life with him or her. If they were comparing their relationship to a painting in those early stages, they would have described it as the vivid reds that gave vibrancy to their life canvas, the beautiful yellow that illuminated every day like a summer sun. In the end, however, it turned cold and gray.
To assure relationships add value to your Life Palette, it’s important to continually grow in your understanding of how to relate to others. On the surface you may think this sounds silly because you’re already relating to your family, coworkers, and neighbors. However, unless you choose to develop your relationships, they will soon grow stale and become a detriment to the success of your life and theirs. This is not God’s intent. As you continue to develop your relational skills, you can and should add value to the people you know and love, as well as to others who cross your path until the day you die.
Ask yourself how others—those who know and love you —would describe you. If they were to put their relationship with you in the context of color on a painting, what would they say? Would they describe a gray, gloomy day or would they speak of you like the orange of the sun? “The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18) No doubt you’re probably thinking of how you see others in your life as well, and you should. You may have quickly realized that you have allowed some relationships to develop that have a negative effect on your life as a masterpiece.
(From Chapter 6 of the book Life Palette)