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The Art of Coloring Outside the Lines

“It’s amazing what we can do if we will trust God enough to step out of our comfort zones!”

Brett Harris

Seth Godin in The Practice writes: “At the heart of the creative’s practice is trust: the difficult journey to trust in yourself...” and I might add, to trust in God’s direction. One of the truths God has been developing within me these past few years is to give myself permission to color outside the lines. All my life I have been one that colors within the boundaries of lines. I looked to those in authority to tell me what to do and I would try my very best to meet their desires. I’ve been so trained in performance, with someone else setting the standards for me, that the creative process of writing a book and learning to trust my “gut” and listen to and obey God’s voice, has been difficult and downright scary at times.

In 2018, while at a Christian women’s conference, I received a prophetic word: It’s okay to go your own way. It felt like God was giving me permission to color outside the lines. “Going my own way” involves trusting my creativity as well as trusting God’s guidance. Even though the book I wrote doesn’t follow a traditional format, I knew I had to grow in my trust and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

I asked people for their opinions regarding the background color for the book cover. My bent toward people-pleasing caused me angst, not being able to make everyone happy. My son saw the tug-of-war within me and asked, “Which one do you like best? Choose the one you prefer.” Again, I needed to trust my instincts and not fear man or making the wrong choice. Preference isn’t necessarily about being right or wrong, but about our opinion. Why is trusting my creativity and God’s internal guidance so difficult at times and yet it can be simple and freeing?

The process of writing a book has helped me discover who I am, what I like and dislike, what replenishes me and what drains me. It’s like the Master Carpenter has used His tools with skill, to shave off parts that aren’t me and to create the design of the person He created me to be. The farther along He is in His work, the more clearly I see who I really am. The process of discovery is vital, for we can’t fully be us if we don’t know who us is! I echo what the psalmist said: “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous- how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14).

“The goal is to trust God while attempting to do his will. Then he will work in you in ways you never could have imagined.”

Daniel Colston

Relevant Reflection:

In what area(s) do you need to grow in your trust of divine direction and in your own creativity?

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