50 Shades of Gray Done God's Way

I am falling in love with the color gray. 


For over a decade yellow has been my everything.  This past summer when we painted the house, I campaigned for yellow siding and a bright door to match.  It was an unsuccessful campaign, but the effort was fierce and yielded a fabulous turquoise door.

So the whole gray thing is taking me by surprise. 

I mean….gray?  Really?

Doesn’t the color wheel put yellow and gray as opposites? 

Actually, is gray even on a color wheel?  Isn’t it so drab and sad that it’s not even called a hue, tint, or shade? 

How can a lover for every hue, tint, and shade of yellow now have an attraction to gray?

The whole gray obsession (and it has indeed become an obsession) can be traced back to an acrylic painting class.  It was a very basic class for very basic “artists” such as myself. 

And by “artists” I mean people who aren’t artists. 

We did a lot of color mixing and what not.  We painted red balls and yellow vases in a shadow box thingie.  We mixed our primaries to make secondary hues.  We created various tints of each.

Next on the syllabus were the neutrals.

Neutrals bring to mind the color real estate agents tell clients to paint the living room.  You know, so it will be void of personality and appeal to the masses. Actually, for the exterior paint job of our home, it was a neutral that defeated my beloved yellow candidate.

Ho Hum.  Neutral. 

Ho Hum because is there really any happiness in a neutral?  Is there any LIFE in a neutral?  Heck no.  At least that’s what I thought until I learned how neutrals are made.

Okay, get this.

I always thought gray was made by mixing black and white.  You, too? Sure that’s one way BUT…

The best grays are made by mixing ALL of the colors. What????  Yes!  All of the colors, even yellow! 

Mind.  Blown.

Try it.  For real. Don’t trust someone who googled the meaning of hue, tint, tone, and shade for a blog post. Get some acrylic paint in blue, yellow, red, and white.  Go grab a gray rock from your yard and try to match the color. 

If you are an “artist” like me, it may take a while to get the match. 

In the process you will see all sorts of shades of gray as you work your way toward the perfect color match.  Sure, it’s a tremendous waste of paint, but it’s so fun!

Once I discovered the gray formula, I had to tell everyone.

No lie, Every. One. I called friends and told them to clear off the kitchen table because I was coming over with coffee, paint, and rocks from the driveway.

I can no longer look at the world the same. 

Now, when the sky is gray I see the blue.  I see the red.  I see the YELLOW!  When I took the above photo last week, I could hardly breathe. It was as if my senses were saturated and spilling over with an abundance of color.    

Now it makes sense why real estate agents want neutral living rooms.  The neutral color is appealing not because it lacks personality but because it is full of it. 

Blue? Red? Yellow?  Yep.  It’s on that wall if you have the eyes to see it.

So what color are we seeing when we look at our lives?

We can look at life and see only extremes of good and bad pairing black and white to create a gloomy gray OR we can really look and begin to see. 

We can begin to see the colorful blending of experiences God provides and allows.

We can let God do what He does so well and create a masterpiece. 

We can take the sadness of a diagnoses and absorb His paint stroke of blue rather than the enemy’s paint stroke of black. 

We can take injustice and let Him slather red on the canvas rather than the enemy’s splatter of black. 

We can start recognizing the shelter, clothing, and food we have as God’s vibrant shade of yellow rather than looking right past it as the Enemy’s white of apathy and void. 

We have the choice if we want the gray in our lives to be from the crashing of extremes or from an absorption of its fullness .

The special needs community can be a hard one to navigate. 

Recently I was reading an article challenging the way media covers happy stories of autism. The problem for the author being remarkable outcomes are not the norm. Rather, she prefers depictions how awful and hard and dark it is.  She wanted the reader to grasp how black it is. 

She had problems with articles that depicted “white” such as the autistic boy who makes a winning shot on the basketball team or the girl who sings a beautiful Christmas song. 

It made me so sad. 

It made me blue. 

This perspective of black and white makes us loose appreciation for how the gray in our life is created.  It is this mind set that can easily trigger our days to be cloudy and gloomy overcasts of fear, anger, and maybe even jealousy.   

Those are not the colors God paints with.

Remember, God creates masterpieces. 

He uses all the colors. He uses all the colors in a sunrise with obvious beauty and color, but also in gray storm clouds. 

He uses all the colors on a flower lined path but also the brown path full of mud (yes!  brown is a neutral with all of the colors, too!!). 

As followers of Christ, our response is to acknowledge Him as a creative artist and allow Him to use our lives as His masterpiece. We can also help others see the colors of His paint brush in their lives. 

If it’s too hard to see, then we bring not only our coffee to the kitchen table, but also rocks from the driveway and paint from the craft bin.

This week, I wish you a bit of gray. I wish you the ability to recognize His paint strokes. I wish for you to find hues, tints, and tones that when mixed together leave you in awe at the beauty swirling through your life. I wish for you to be in complete awe of our God and full of thankfulness for the masterpieces He continues to create.