New Year, Fresh Canvas

Like an empty canvas awaiting the first brush stroke, there is something infinitely exciting and refreshing about a new year. Difficulties and challenges of the year past fade into the background with the bright hues of opportunity that lie ahead. Decisions for change load a fresh palette. New choices brush away and cover past mistakes.

Ignite the new year by considering the following as you paint a fresh canvas:

Wait for the Vision

Many people choose a word for the new year, a word that provides focus and direction. Sometimes that word is immediate and clear. Other times, the word unfolds slowly. This year, I am still waiting for my word. The vision is slow in coming, but I will wait for it.

It is the same for artists. Sometimes they stare at a blank canvas for a long time before the vision takes shape. Perhaps they paint a few background brush strokes, take a step back, view the canvas from different angles, and wait for inspiration and perspective. You can do likewise. Don’t be in a hurry to forge into the new year with a flurry of activity, goals, and resolutions. Wait for clear vision on how to paint your new year’s canvas, allowing the picture to come gently and adding depth as you go.

Load the Palette

Colors are an important part of any painting. Colors have the ability to lighten the mood and bring pleasure. In similar fashion, you can paint your canvas for this year with kindness, generosity, peace, hope, and joy. Conversely, you can choose criticism, negativity, selfishness, and strife. Make wise choices as you load your palette, selecting colors that enhance your life and inspire you to be the best you can be.

Be Open to Fresh Concepts

As a writer, I sometimes fall into a pattern of similar sentence structures, familiar themes, and overused phrases. Perhaps it is the same for all creatives. Stretching beyond what is familiar requires pushing ourselves, risking failure, and embracing fresh concepts. Are you willing to open yourself to something new this year?

Maybe, like a painter, you need to risk the abstract rather than sticking to the concrete. Allow yourself to think outside your usual patterns. Look for and expect fresh inspiration and then act on it.

Avoid Distractions

So much about our lives can deter us from forward motion. We get involved in doing for others or waste time on activities that don’t help us grow or change. Following through with goals requires focus and determination. Painting that blank canvas may mean declining offers, carving out time, and employing self-discipline. Accomplishment involves parsing priorities and making challenging decisions. Don’t allow distractions to prevent you from creating a masterpiece.

Do the Work

Often, I meet aspiring writers who have ideas and plans, but never follow through with the hard work of writing. They want the accomplishment of “having written,” but aren’t willing to apply the necessary time and discipline to reach that goal.

If you want to paint a new picture this year, you must be willing to do the work. If you gain a vision and load your palette, but never make a brush stroke, your canvas will remain blank. Or if you begin and get stuck, be willing to start over. Uncertainty or past failures may overwhelm and halt forward motion, but don’t allow criticism or perfectionism to hinder completion.

Ask God to calm your mind, inspire your heart, and guide your hand as you paint this year’s canvas.

“And He had filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of craftsmanship, to design artistic works” (Exodus 35: 31-32a MEV).


Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including:,,,,, Focus on the Family,,, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).

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