When two-year old Tyler handed me this picture, I responded like most adults. “Oh Tyler, I love this picture. You used such nice bright colors. Did it take a long time?”
I have learned from past experience to try not to interpret the drawing by saying, “What a nice picture of your mom”, only to find out it was a dinosaur. I also did not say, “Are blue and red the only colors you know how to use? How about green? Orange? Or brown? When are you going to learn to draw a real picture? Take this back and do it right!”
I didn’t say these things because it would be cruel (and I would also be unemployed.) I don’t expect a two-year old to be able to draw as well as a teenager or an adult. I realize that a child is more interested in the joy of coloring than in producing the perfect picture.
In the book Dangerous Wonder by Michael Yaconelli, he compares coloring to Christianity. He writes, “Most of my life I hear the message loud and clear that Christianity was all about…coloring well. If I was a good Christian, if I loved Jesus and wanted to please Him, if I read my Bible, prayed, and went to church, then I would get better and better at coloring…and I would eventually be able to draw close to the perfect drawing.”
I know I have fallen into this trap. I have gotten caught up in trying to produce the perfect drawing and I have missed the joy of coloring. When this happens, my faith becomes a list of rules, rather than a creative adventure. Ironically, my best effort is still going to end up looking a lot like Tyler’s picture and yet God doesn’t rip it up in disgust.
No. He says, “I can see you love the color pink. I like all the hearts you made all over the paper. Good job.” And then He’s going to take my picture and put it on His refrigerator, right next to pcitures from Mother Teresa and Moses. Because that’s what proud parents do.
So although I might not draw the perfect picture, I can’t wait to get out my crayons and markers and create another drawing to show Him. What picture are you drawing today?
*”Permission to Exhale” events based on my books, The Relief of Imperfection and It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life.
Special thanks for my friend and writing colleague, Lynne Hartke, for guest blogging today.
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.