I used to color everything in rainbow colors. Striping kindergarten worksheets with ordered lines of ROYGBIV was my artistic form of coloring outside the lines. I continued this self expression through first grade until the teacher pumped the brakes on my creative cruise.
It seems my technicolor bunny rabbit was her last straw. She called me up to her stuffy desk, my masterpiece spread out for both of us to see, and asked something like, “Michelle, have you ever seen a rainbow rabbit?” I knew I hadn’t, and I was pretty sad about that. I wasn’t sure where this question was taking us, since I couldn’t imagine how the confines of reality should force rules on coloring pages. The teacher handed me a blank bunny sheet and instructed me to color it again – in ‘normal’ colors. I think she felt very generous while listing the available colors I could select: gray, black, or brown. Three boring choices, not one of them part of my typical technique. I probably thought about leaving it ‘normal’ white and handing it back to her, but instead I complied, finished the re-do, and continued to hate coloring for the rest of the year.
You may know people who want to set your ‘normal’ within their ideals. It could be co-workers, family members, or the parents of your children’s friends. Maybe it’s someone inside your safe circle of fellow Jesus believers. No maybes…it’s definitely someone within that circle. People were imposing their standards on those around them when Jesus lived on earth, too, but human norms and measures are a trap. They get you caught up in the game of pleasing and impressing people, leaving you less focused on being the person God wants you to be. God gave us His Word so we can know His truth and His standards. We mature in our faith and understanding, but we can be sure that God’s truth never changes, not even with time.
God created each of us with our own unique personality, interests, knowledge, voice, and talents. Sin introduced character flaws, addictions, hang ups, and weaknesses. Don’t excuse your faults as ‘personal style’. Work toward becoming more like Jesus. He wants to use you uniquely and your obedience to Him, through faith, is the standard you are accountable for keeping. The expressions of your faith, splashed throughout the coloring sheet of your life, will look different from those of everyone else. Just be sure to stay inside His lines.
So what’s your God-given skill set and how creatively can you use it to love Jesus and love others? These days, mine is less colors and more words. Not that Mrs. First-Grade-Hard-Nose stopped my creative streak for good. My dad has my rainbow-colored Ten Commandments from second grade to prove it.