Do You Color Outside the Lines?


In grade school, I worked very hard at coloring inside the lines.  I wanted the acceptance and approval of my peers and teachers.  When I had my own girls. . .I searched long and wide for the “best crayon” to encourage their creativity.  I finally found a tin box (so cute) of square crayons that fit perfectly in their little hands.  I gave them big, white paper and watched, with great delight, them scribble and scratch their way to budding artistry 🙂 (Young moms:  square crayons do not break: thus, no tears!) When I did not recognize their lovely color collage, I would say, “I love the colors you chose, tell me about your picture.”  I knew what was best for them.  I did not know what was best for me.

I’ve spent 50 “something” years trying to keep my love inside the lines as I’ve colored my way through marriage, mothering and friendship offerings.  I wanted it to be recognized as a crown, princess, or castle. (Okay, so I had high aspirations! LOL) I wanted approval and acceptance (yes still!).  Heart scribbles do not come out looking like a coloring book image.  They are messy, but full of color.

I think we all expect each other to keep our love offerings inside the lines, so everything is nice and neat.  And not just any lines, but OUR lines.  What would God’s Kingdom of love look like, if we colored outside the lines freely? Instead of rejecting or ignoring what we do not recognize as a form of love, What if we said simple things like, “Tell me about this. . .” (I had a friend say those lovely words once when I gave her a  gift I brought back from a trip!).

One of the “redemptive gifts” of this disease is the reminder that life is short.  Life is too short to color inside the lines with our love.  I’m tired of trying to stay inside of the lines.  It is boring and it feels stifling. I don’t think it is what God is looking for in love as we attempt to reflect HIS hand.

So, let’s pick up a crayon.  Chose a new/old (retired) color such as thistle, raw umber, violet blue (they are probably worth something, we should have kept those old crayons!) and color outside the lines with our love.  Scribbles and mistakes are welcome, just make some heart creations with the people God has put in your life.  I suspect when we get to heaven, those colors that moved outside the lines, will have places of honor and glory on a canvas with your name on it.  We will just have to wait and see. . .

If I offer you a messy picture of my love, I expect you to receive it like a Monet Watercolor Masterpiece! (I’m only kidding!!!!!!!)  But maybe you will let me tell you something about my effort to put my heart on paper for you 🙂  We serve a creative God.  I read in a book once, we are only “messy glory.”  I liked it and have quoted it since!  Messy Glory, that is you and me 🙂  Kingdom Play is always in color! Never in black and white!

8 thoughts on “Do You Color Outside the Lines?

  1. My favorite colors in that box of 64 were magenta and green-blue – not to confused with blue-green! I even liked burnt sienna…What a great image of letting God’s love overflow in our lives and in to others’ lives. Your canvas, my friend, will be a sight to see.

  2. I feel so blessed to have heard you speak at the Chapel and to get your beautiful blog. You are amazing and you have colored my soul with your grace. Thank you for sharing your beautiful writings and art with everyone. Everything about you is incredible. Would you put me on your prayer list… if could have an ounce of your courage, faith, creativity, love, talent and grace, I would be fulfilled. Much love to you and your beautiful family. Karen
    PS Where can I get some square crayons? 🙂

    • Hey Karen, You were the one that taught me about that rounded grasp! 😉 Thank you for reading! Of course, I will pray for you!
      P.S. I cannot find any square crayons :(!

  3. Hi, Tracey,
    We haven’t seen each other or talked in quite some time, so I was so saddened to hear of your diagnosis. But as I looked at your picture and read your blog entries and poetry, I still see the beautiful woman of God that you are. Thank you for sharing your heart in the midst of your struggle. I have such fond memories of our girls together years ago. I will look forward to reading what God is showing us through you. I will lift you up in prayer. Fondly, Raymie Bell

  4. Thank you Onalise. . .It was kinda amazing watching God craft the words before me. What a creative, playful God we love and serve! I love you too! You’re my first comment! You go girl!

  5. Wow, wow, wow… Mrs. Tracey…. I just love, love, love your September 9th entry on “Do you color outside the lines”? So very inspirational and just what the Lord wanted me to read today! He confirmed that yes, right now, I’m a “blessed mess”, and that’s ok, He loves me all the same. I thank Him for your colorful live, for being Jesus in real live skin, I just love you and thank the Lord for crossing our paths. Praying for you and waiting expectantly on the Lord to do mighty and wonderful things in our lives for His purposes and glory! In His Love and mine, Onalise

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