Tulip watercolor in progress.

As a visual artist, I often learn much about life when I practice my craft. Today, I pulled out an older watercolor to see if I could pump the colors and make something better, more readable, of it. Structurally, it is a solid piece. The leaves are strong, but the blossoms seem faded and uninteresting. They don’t grab me with a sense of life.

However, when I add bright reds on top of the transparent pinks and purples, the reds stand up well on the paper and sing. The tulips come alive. Interestingly enough, because of the many layers, there is greater depth of color. The purples form the darker parts of the petals, and the reds pop against the lighter pinks. I appreciate this transparent nature of watercolor.

I see an important life lesson here. Recently, I heard a teacher, Tim Keller, mention his understanding of a mature person. He states that a mature person is able to be transparent. The mature person is genuine, shares his or her story both privately and publicly and observers are able to see depth of character. Mature people are able to share their “layers” so to speak.

Mature people are comfortable with their stories and understand the layers are part of the whole. Like a layered watercolor with depth, a mature person has transparency and depth.

This is in contrast to the immature person who hides his or her story, layers, life. He or she is closed off, unavailable or pretends to be one thing but is, in reality, completely different. This person keeps one guessing. (Does this make him or her feel powerful?) One can feel confused, doubtful, on guard around people like this. Conversations tend to be one-sided with these friends. Relationships with these friends tend to lack three-dimensionality, become flat.

Then, there is God and our relationship with Him. When we are willing to be transparent with Him, and come out of hiding from Him, especially in dark parts of our stories, our layered life can embrace His mercy, love and grace. We can enjoy the acceptance we have in Him through Jesus. God has seen us to the bottom of all our layers. He loves us so much; he has redeemed all the dark layers with bright, life-giving Color – Jesus.

“…so that you may be men of transparent character, and may be blameless, in preparation for the day of Christ.” Phhilipians 1:10


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