Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.
(picture drawn by AMJ at age 4-rainbow/angel)
Several years ago, one of my Beauties represented our county in the state Jr. Miss Pageant (now Outstanding Young Woman). She did not win because she told the judges straight up she did not “color inside the lines.” I wish I could find my copy of her monologue. She nailed it! Her Dad knew he had witnessed a glimpse of all the future would hold for her. My bestie from high school, who is active in politics and hears speeches all the time, had come to support my Beauty. She and I will never forget the look on her face as this Beauty completed her thirty seconds (“lots of content in a short amount of time”). I knew there would be no better soliloquy that evening whether she won the division or not. Her spirit and God-given personality were shining in this moment for a watching world to see. (Pardon the pride in this piece of my heart…you just had to be there.)
Coloring inside the lines is what society expects and when anyone is bold enough to dare to be different they are met with resistance from the establishment. But, the ones oppressed by the system that was meant to protect, these the marginalized begin to wake to the hope of new possibilities.
Jesus did not color inside the lines. In fact, He completely erased the lines. He used uneducated, blue collar workers. He called outcasts of society to join Him. He went where no “good Jew” dare go. He ate with sinners, forgave prostitutes, touched lepers, cast demons out of men and women, healed many, and raised long since dead folks. He dared argue with the establishment and He scolded their prejudice, favoritism, and selectivism. Yes, Jesus “stirred the pot” and did so knowing all the turmoil it would create and exactly what it would cost HIm and His band of misfits.
After the resurrection of Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit, His followers also began to color outside the lines. Most would pay for this break with society with their lives just as Jesus did. We see them doing what by conventional standards they were unprepared to do. For example, Simon an uneducated fisherman becomes Peter the highly proficient orator, writer, and evangelist; Saul the zealot persecuting Christians turned Paul the planter of churches and encourager of the faithful; John the tender-hearted fisherman/disciple becomes John the courageous one boiled in oil, exiled to a desert isle to die a lonely death but writes a vision of heaven. The stories of what the power of God working through a willing servant can accomplish are endless All defied convention and colored outside the lines. The Acts of the Apostles were God-sized!
God the Father loves His children who color outside the lines. They are brave and bold for His kingdom. He has been proving this since Noah! Noah took one hundred years to build a boat. Moses defied the very “father” who raised him to lead his own people out of slavery. David used a sling and a stone to bring down a giant. Solomon built a Temple to the Lord. Samson destroys the Philistines. Deborah judged a nation. If God calls you to it, it will not make sense! I think this is test number one for “is this God speaking?” IF it makes sense to our human perspective, it is not God because it is not God-sized. For if it is not God-sized, we take the credit and the glory and He will share His glory with no one. (Isaiah 42:8) The enemy will certainly not encourage any activity which will bring glory to God or cause you to depend on God for strength, wisdom, and courage..
What is God calling you to? You will know it is God when it is beyond your scope of knowledge, outside your “typical” personality, and exceeds your resources. How do I know this? You are reading the proof! This is God’s idea. I would NEVER be this vulnerable. I NEVER believed what I might add to a conversation was needed or wanted or of any value. I am sure my education (science not English) does not really contribute. But for me the proof is this: After nearly 21 months of writing God continues to provide inspiration and lays out the design, financial resources, content, and contributors week in and week out. Has it panned out like I thought it would? Not at all! For me, I am truly coloring outside the lines because as a science major, I NEED parameters; I need a hypothesis to work from; I need expected outcomes; I rely on KNOWN results. This gives me none of what provides me with security and courage to move forward. Just this admission is HUGE! I depend on Him for every single word and trust me when I tell you I am the most shocked by what ends up on these pages and who bothers to read them!
Today, coloring pages are very popular because they are relaxing. The reason: They are controlled and the only decision is what color do you choose. I remember as a mom of young
children when they would scribble all over a page I would get frustrated. I was part of the world attempting to mold them into citizens who color inside the lines for their “protection.” They bucked me all the way to success on their own terms and I could not be more THANKFUL they did! In order for them to follow God’s plan for their lives, they had to color outside the lines! Now they bless others every day.
So for all of you who color outside the lines……………kudos! I am standing on the sidelines learning from you every day!!!
Treading in beautiful blue-green waters,
Dedicated to AMJ, I love you more than you could ever comprehend. Only God could love you more! You taught me to color outside the lines and gave me courage to step out on the water!!! Thank you for allowing me to share your story, and I thank the Father above for placing you in our family!