Resigned at 29 is officially 30! For my birthday, my sister bought me one of those adult coloring books. I’m normally not into the latest trend so when I initially heard about adult coloring books I wasn’t interested. (And when you tack the word “adult” onto anything it automatically sounds scandalous in my head. Therefore, I will hence forth refer to it as an “advanced” coloring book.) When I saw one of these advanced coloring books in real life I realized they were actually pretty cool and I wanted one too.
Coloring is pretty relaxing and mind stimulating at the same time. Aside from talking on the phone or listening to the TV, you can’t really multi-task and color. Sometimes we adults need to just slow down. I believe these advanced coloring books could knock antidepressants and anxiety meds right off the shelf. Personally, I think it’s the next best thing since journaling. (By journaling I mean writing in an actual personal journal; not your Facebook status. Yup, I went there.)
I just finished my first masterpiece and I wanted to share what coloring has taught me.
1.Take it one piece at a time. Upon first opening the book the intricate designs can be overwhelming. Where to begin? Instead of looking at the big picture, I decided to tackle the picture one element at a time. I colored each element as if it were a separate picture; not worrying about how the end result was going to look. When I finally finished the whole picture it all naturally flowed together. I feel like God does that with us. If we really saw the big picture of our lives we would be overwhelmed. Instead, He broke it down into minutes, days, weeks, years etc. so we could focus on one piece at a time. Even though things in your life don’t make sense right now and seem disjointed, when the picture is complete it will all naturally flow together and form a masterpiece.
2. Don’t over think it. My friends know that I can be horribly indecisive. It’s really because I’m afraid of making a wrong choice. Along with my coloring book, my sister bought me a pack of 40 gel pens. Not only were there a variety of colors, they also came in neon, pastel, glitter, and metallic shades. There were leaves in the picture that I was working on and I obviously wanted to color them green. When I pulled out my colored gel pens I had 6 shades of green to choose from. My analytical mind instantly began weighing the pros and cons of each shade to help me select the best option. Then it occurred to me, it really doesn’t matter which one I chose. They were all green. Just pick one. And if I don’t like it, I can chose a different shade. There was no way I could do this wrong.
3. It’s important to stay inside the lines. Of course you are free to color outside the lines if you choose. Coloring books don’t have rules. However, when you disregard the lines, you mess up the picture. You can’t see what it was meant to be. You can choose to color outside the lines of life and ignore boundaries but you risk messing up your picture making it difficult or impossible to see what your life was supposed to be. Thank God for redemption through Jesus Christ! Before you were born, God drew the lines that create the picture of your life. The picture is already done. We’re just here on earth to color it. When using gel pens even coloring on the line is too risky because the ink is thick enough to cover the line. When lines get blurred the picture doesn’t look as crisp. As you become more advanced/mature the tools you use become more advanced also so you have to be more careful. To whom much is given, much is required. Obey the lines. On the other hand you are free to chose what color(s) to use inside those boundaries. So get creative! Color the apple purple! It makes a more interesting picture. Just don’t forget that the apple is an apple.
4. Completion is better than perfection. It took me a few days but when I finally finished my picture I felt a strong sense of accomplishment. I sat on my bed beaming as I looked at what I had done. Not only did I finish it, it was beautiful! I was genuinely proud of myself. It felt good to finish. I hate to admit it but I have a terrible habit of not finishing things. This usually happens when the thing I’m working on doesn’t seem like it’s going to turn out how I want it to so I abandon ship. If it’s not exactly how I want it, I don’t want it. There were some elements of the picture that I didn’t love after I colored them, but when the whole picture was complete it somehow worked. If I would have stopped and dwelt on my seemingly poor choice in color at the time I would have never experienced the beauty of the completed picture.
I know it may seem like I’m over spiritualizing everything. It’s coloring. Three-year-olds do it. I get that. But my point is God truly is in everything. We just have to take the time to recognize Him. The answers you have been seeking may be right in front of your face…or at the tip of a gel pen.