Your values are of primary importance when it comes to creating your Life Palette for God to paint your life as the masterpiece He created you to be. But saying you value something does not mean you truly value it, to honestly value something you must live it, put it into practice, make it a part of your daily life. If you don’t live it, you don’t value it. It reminds me of what my dad often said to me when I was growing up. I’d see him doing something he’d told me not to do, and he’d say, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Maybe you had parents who said the same thing, or have said it to your children. Problem is it doesn’t work. What’s really being said is, “I want you to value this, even though I don’t.”
To say we value something isn’t enough; lip service does not prove we value anything. If we don’t live what we say, we may think we value something, even though we don’t. When talking to others about their values, it’s easy to discover what they truly value. When someone says they value living a healthy lifestyle, a few quick questions will reveal the truth. “Do you exercise?” “Do you eat right?” If the answer is “No,” they don’t really value their health. They like the idea of it, but it’s not a value because what we truly value is not only displayed in how we think but also how we live.
Are your values “off?”
Your values are vitally important to developing your Life Palette. I did a painting workshop at the Tucson Art Academy with an artist named Gabor Svagrik. I went home each night hearing Gabor’s voice echoing the same key phrase in my mind. He stated it incessantly, and it was profoundly simple: “Values, values, values.”
In painting, value has to do with dark and light. For instance, mountains in the distance appear lighter and bluer than mountains that are closer to you. An example of this is my painting in the middle of this book “Glory and Grandeur.” The values cause the mountains to look as if they are at different distances, yet we all know that it is a one-dimensional painting.
If an artist reverses the values, essentially, they will appear to be reversed in the painting. In other words, the mountains that are supposed to appear far away and distant will look like they are very close to the viewer. When an artist sees that the value of the distant mountains is too dark, they’ll say it needs to be “pushed back”—that is, the mountains need to be made to look like they’re further away. Anytime that happens the values of the painting are said to be “off.” If the color values are off, so is the entire painting. Everyone can see it. You may not be a trained artist or able to put it into words, but if the values are wrong in a painting, you’ll know it and you won’t like the painting because of it.
Align Your Values With God’s
The same is true with your Life Palette. When your values don’t line up with God’s values, as defined in Scripture, you end up working against Him as He paints on the canvas of your life. He’s working on a masterpiece, but the values you’re placing on your Life Palette may be limiting the look of your canvas to a cheap, drugstore painting, a “Velvet Elvis,” when it should be not only better than a “Velvet Elvis,” but a masterpiece.
In his book Fill Your Oil Painting with Light & Color, artist Kevin MacPherson says, “Many students say they have trouble finishing a piece, but most often the problem lies at the start of their painting process. Most people can’t finish because their foundation has not been properly laid.” The foundation of your life is your values, and they must be established as a core of who you are and all you do. If you don’t feel you’ve “properly laid” your values, the good news is God will give you the chance to start fresh and new.
Values On Your Life Palette
You already have values on your Life Palette. They are affecting your life every day, either positive or negatively. It’s important to always make sure the values you have are intentional and serve the greater purpose of your life. You may have unintentionally allowed negative or harmful values to become a part of your Life Palette, each of these will keep you from living life as the masterpiece God created you to be. Take time today to carefully consider what you truly value, that is not just what you say but what you live. You will be glad you did and you will see a difference in how you live, how God will use you immediately.
1. Are your values clear? What are they? Have you written them down? Begin with a few, 3 to 5.
2. What values are you living on a daily basis and which ones do you need to work on? Write down a specific action you can take today to begin to live your values.