September 29th, 2023

How to Color Life Outside the Lines with God


Lines Created to be Crossed

I work with children, young girls, as a Girl Scout troop leader. In the summer, I have girls that I wouldn’t normally work with during the school year, so we do introduction activities.

Well, one day, we made name tags, you know, as a fun way for me to learn their names. The activity was pretty simple; the girls wrote their name and colored a piece of cardstock to their liking, and we put it in a name tag holder.

As one of my girls finished hers, she giggled as she shouted, “I just love coloring in the lines!” I laughed a little (you would’ve too). Then I began thinking, as a child, I considered it terrible if I accidentally went outside the lines on one of my favorite coloring book pages. I even neglected to complete some pictures because of it.

I even recall, while working at an elementary school, teachers having talks with children about why they needed to color inside the lines.

But, when did it become a crime to color outside the lines? And, who caused us to believe that it wasn’t allowed? I then realized that, as an adult, I considered it terrible to “color outside the lines” of life.

Do We Need Lines or the Line Maker?

Many of my most amazing life moments happened “outside the lines”. Initially, though, I didn’t recognize that these moments were even acceptable.

See, God does not operate within the confines of any lines. He is an “outside the box” kinda God, if you will. But there was a time when I failed to see that the things outside the lines were of God, and not necessarily the things within the “lines.” God had to train me to understand that many of the things that were to bless me, were outside of the realm of what I deemed worthy to be “colored.” I have even let the way others made me feel about going outside the “lines”, cause me to walk away from some of what God called me to.

Our Playbook says in Jeremiah 1:8, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” I had allowed their disapproval to draw lines around what God had already removed the boundaries from.

So many times, instead of “stepping out on faith”, I folded in fear, forgetting that “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). What difference does that make? Well, have you ever tried coloring with your eyes closed? That’s what faith is!

So, What’s The Play Call?

It can be difficult to “color outside the lines” and walk in the call that God has placed on your life. What you must understand, though, is that if God was not going to be with you and equip you, then He would not direct you to it. Here are a few things to help you “scribble” your way out of your comfort zone:

  1. Trust God. A simple instruction that often seems so difficult to do. We put so much confidence in the ‘experts’ who have nothing to offer us that we should have no problem having faith in the One who offers us everything. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalms 118:8
  2. Stop choosing the obvious. Sometimes, what looks like it must be the correct way is far from God’s idea of how things should go. Look for His approval in the matter, not for the cookie cutter ways of the world. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things with are mighty;” 1 Corinthians 1:27
  3. Don’t be afraid. I know that going against what others consider to be normal or the “rule of thumb” can be nerve-wracking. But know that all the back up in the world cannot compare to God being by your side. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
  4. Ignore their voices. Often, our fear comes from the fact that others are so afraid of the consequences of coloring outside the lines, that they choose to project their fear upon us. Ignore them – return to sender.

I pray that you let go of that stigma that causes you to throw away what is outside the lines. Step outside of where everyone else has told you that you should be and go where God is.

Alecia M. White
Author, blogger, lover of coffee, and all things Jesus. By profession, Alecia is a teacher and administrator. She recently published her first book "The Thing Is...", a poignant look at suffering and endurance. She is privileged to share her love for Christ through her writing.
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