by Gwen Shipley, CFDM Northwest Faculty
This weekend, we could have been making progress on the bathroom remodel, but we popped popcorn with a grandkid or two, played pickleball and put together a jigsaw puzzle instead. I had a blog post to put final touches on, but Mr. S has had the luxury of a few extra days off due to a holiday work schedule so the routine was off. I succumbed to the fun.
So on this January morning when things returned to semi-normal, I returned to the business at hand and found that what I had previously written felt flat. Frustrated—mostly at my lack of self-discipline, I poured a cup of coffee and let my heart be open to how I might experience God’s coming near that we are celebrating in this season. January 6th is Ephiphany, after all.
My eyes fell on a stray Christmas gift lying nearby, an adult coloring book. They’re apparently all the rage this year. I picked it up and looked for a page to doodle on.
After the busyness of the last few days—and too much TV (let’s be real), it might be good to just be still, I thought. Me, God, a blank page—and a spot of color to break up the winter wonderland outside my window.
I responded to the nudge.
I chose to be as gracious to myself as God is with me.
I made an intentional choice to slow down and turn my thoughts to God for a few moments.
I remembered that my word for the year is OPEN and changed my grasping inner posture.
I ignored the impulse to obsess over the design before me. Rather, I randomly selected a color from the pencil box then started on the part of the design that caught my eye, letting it come to me rather than preempting the process with a plan of my own. Trusting, not controlling.
Before long, the more prominent figures began to emerge, then other parts. I followed the nudge to color those, holding my control loosely, doing what made sense then reaching for the next color, still without looking, to fill in what, as yet, didn’t.
The little project that began as a distraction, just a jumble of disassociated scribblings, took on beauty in which some sort of pattern could be seen. Could this be a metaphor for encountering God in our daily lived experience, I wondered? Is there a beauty to our lives that is difficult to see at first glance but when we turn aside, we begin to see possibilities of God’s workmanship? Can we trust it or must we control it? What if we…
Respond to the nudge to be still
Choose grace for ourselves
Intentionally slow down and turn our thoughts to God
Take an open posture
Refuse to obsess over what is not yet clear; begin anyway
Let Life emerge, moving forward when the next step on the path becomes clear
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
The coloring page is not finished, nor is any one of us. However, it is enough—as are we.
Although we may find ourselves uncomfortable that transformation is often out of our control, God assures us that he can be trusted, that what he is doing is enough. As the Beloved, we can be “confident of this, that he who began a good work…will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6 NIV)