On Friday night I prayed, “God, I have no idea what to write about for this week’s blog post. Can you please show me something before I sit down to write tomorrow?”
As I was winding down to sleep, I decided to color a couple of pictures on my Happy Color app. This app is super simple and soothing. You just pick a picture, pick a color to start with, tap all the shaded parts, and continue until the picture is done. I use it a lot when I need something to do with my hands while I listen to sermons, audiobooks, music, or even while watching movies.
I picked this coloring app because it requires little to no thinking on my part. However as I colored that night, the different techniques I used reminded me of the many ways God works in our lives, which then inspired this blog post. I love it when God answers prayers so quickly in everyday ways. So without further ado, here are my spiritual reflections on color-by-numbers!
When I first select a picture, I have an expectation for the color scheme. Certain styles and images just seem suited to different color pallets. However, with this app my guess is wrong at least fifty percent of the time. Sometimes the colors seem to clash. It looks a little chaotic and ugly, and I’m not certain I’ll like the results. Usually I’m proven wrong here as well. It turns out the original artist knew what they were doing, perhaps better than I ever did.
We have a similar approach to life, don’t we? We go into jobs, events, holidays, and even years with a set of expectations. This year I am going to get this, that, and the other thing done! Somehow life never meets these expectations. We’re left disappointed, discouraged, and depressed. It was going to be so beautiful! Why can’t we just get ourselves in gear? Why can’t a plan run smoothly for once? Just look at 2020!
In these moments it’s hard to trust the Artist knows what’s best, but He does. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV You may not be able to see it now, but God delights in making the broken beautiful, the chaotic clear, and the ugly unbelievable. Hang in there. God’s not done with your story.
Another trick I use when coloring on this app is I zoom in extra close. Then once everything is filled in, I zoom back out and get to see the whole picture at once. One of the reasons I do this is because my screen is small, and the tiny details are even smaller. Getting up close is the only way I can see, but it also limits my vision because I can only see what’s directly in front of me.
Sometimes we’re simply too close to see the big picture. We see details slipping through the cracks and pieces that are supposed to fit. But maybe the hard truth is, we’re too close to see the hole is a different size. Maybe something feels right but actually isn’t. Maybe we’re put through struggles for the sake of others rather than ourselves.
We’re too close to see. That’s why we have to trust in God’s foresight. He understands. He sees. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
Missing the Mark
Sometimes when I’m coloring, I’ll tap for a new color and start scanning for shaded areas. Except I can’t find any. Then I zoom in even further and scan for tiny areas that are hard to spot. Finally, I realize my mistake. I missed the button. And I’m not going to find anything to color in until I correct my mistake.
Sometimes problems arise in our life simply because we missed the mark. We pray and make a plan without stopping to hear God’s answer. These efforts, no matter how valiant, do not work out in our favor. Just because something is good, doesn’t mean it is God’s best.
But don’t lose heart. God is not hiding His will. We just tapped to quickly. When this happens, the best thing to do is go back to the feet of God and ask for wisdom. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ~ James 1:5 NKJV
Going in Order
When I’m coloring with this app, I usually go in the order the colors are laid out. Once you tap all the shaded parts, the dot of paint disappears. However, sometimes I get completely stuck! No matter how many times I scroll across the picture, I can’t see what I’m missing. The app has a solution for this too. By watching an advertisement, you can receive hints. These hints aren’t clues. Rather the app takes you directly to the missing space.
My friend, confusion is not from God. So if you find yourself stuck, lost, or confused, please talk to Him. God is not out to get you. He is not purposefully hiding His plans from you. Instead, He conceals them until we are fully ready. Maybe we think we’re ready to rush forward, only to find God is guarding the door with a gentle hand. “Not yet,” He says. “I need you to wait a little longer. Let me finish preparing the hearts and minds of everyone involved in your future.”
I once found my little brother playing with our glass jars next to a tile floor. Instead, of telling him no, I knelt next to him and said, “You’re not going to understand why I have to take this away, but believe me, I’m doing it to protect you. If one of those jars broke, it would hurt you. I’m trying to keep you safe.” Then I put the jars away and went on with my day.
The next moment God spoke so clearly it made my legs trembled. “Do you get it now?” He said. “You aren’t going to understand why I have to take this away, but I’m doing it to protect you. If I let you have it now, it would break and you would get hurt. I’m sorry. I do love you. This is for the best.”
Dear friends, God loves you. He knows your desires and expectations, but He doesn’t want you to miss the mark. He doesn’t want you to get hurt. Sometimes we are simply too close to see. We want to rush ahead, but we have to go in order.
I don’t want to miss a step because I was too caught up in my own desires. I want God’s vision to become my expectation. I want a heaven-bound vision that looks past my current circumstances.
God, I pray You will give us all a glimpse of Your vision for our lives. Give us the strength to follow You even when it doesn’t make sense. Keep our eyes fixed on You and our feet steady on the path You have laid out before us. Thank you, God. Thank you for never giving up on us. We love You.
All is Grace, Esther Noe