During the past few months especially, I've been pondering the illusion of perfection or "good" because I've felt pressure to color inside the lines.
Like a bottle under pressure, I began feeling like I might explode if I kept it up.
And whose lines are these anyway?
As I began dissecting it in my head and in conversation, I realized they are ones defined by our culture, our society and our communities.
It's not impossible to color inside all of those many and differing lines because many of them overlap.
But what I've found is that it IS impossible to keep my colors inside ALL of those lines AND still be the me who God created me to be.
I have a few relationships that I've spent time cultivating since we renounced "busy" in our house and have been taking steps to slowly relinquish the responsibilities we don't feel fit with our values of intimacy, family, friendship and loving God and our season of life. Specifically, I've been focusing on growing my relationship with God, which has been an exploration of understanding more of who He is and more of who He really created me to be.
During this time, I've also been cultivating my marriage and a few friendships, specifically, that have encouraged me toward seeking more of God's heart for me. And in this, I've been challenged by people who know me well to simply be who God created me to be. These people have loved me in my imperfections and embraced me as I've struggled through my growing pains and with understanding who God really says He is and who He says I am.
He says He is
Restorer. Savior. Creator. Perfecter. Author. Good. The Beginning. The End.
And He says I am beloved. And that I've been wonderfully and fearfully made. That I am gift, not a burden. And that I've been created to walk next to people through all kinds of relationships, be an advocate for the least of these and be a careful crafter of story and beauty and passion that moves hearts closer to Him.
These understandings of who God is and who He created me to be have afforded me the freedom to color outside of the lines. And as I've sought God in this, I've realized His lines are a whole lot different than the ones I've been trying to stay inside.
I've found that in coloring inside of God's lines -- the ones where we love and obey Him and love others and ourselves -- there's a lot more freedom to be myself.