Outside the lines


I teach a handful of preschoolers once a week. They are in fact, the funniest group of people on the planet. If you’re ever having a bad day or perhaps are taking yourself too seriously, you need to hang out with a 3 or 4-year-old. You’ll quickly be reminded that life is simply beautiful in their eyes. It is colored by shades of green, purple, orange, blue and pink; their favorite colors.

As I observed them coloring this week, I was struck by personalities and God-given traits that were showing up on their papers.  They were filling in a very simple worksheet about colors, each one working hard and focused on their “masterpiece”. I looked down to see Owen coloring hard and fast and very much outside the lines. When he would look up every 30 seconds or so to see if I was watching, his eyes glowed in excitement. “Mrs. Lehr, do you see this?!” I didn’t dare look away.

Before I saw the sparkle in his eye, I realized that I had wanted to encourage him to stay in the lines. Have you ever watched a child color and spouted these words? “Try to stay in the lines.” I have.

But then it hit me, in this really great, be careful not to utter those words kind of way: He doesn’t need to stay inside the lines. In his little world, those blueberries are big and vast and stretch across the entire page. His “masterpiece” was perfect to him and who in the world was I to try to rein it in? Owen was enjoying himself and “creating” and that’s exactly what he should be doing.

But truth be told, there are a lot of adults who could learn from his example. Instead of enjoying the unique way God has made each of us, we compare ourselves to determine if somehow a mistake was made on us. We try to make ourselves feel better by focusing on someone else’s flaws, assuring ourselves, that our way is staying “inside the lines”. But, God doesn’t make mistakes. He’s the ultimate creator, who never ran out of ideas. His handiwork has intrigued and inspired artists for centuries. Jaws drop by the very sight of the sunsets and landscape He has painted. And yet, his very best work of art, was you. “We are His “poiema”, which in Greek means “masterpiece”.  (Ephesians 2:10)

Maybe you’re an outside the lines kind of lady and you don’t do life just like everyone else. Sometimes this discourages you, because you think you might be doing it wrong. I want to encourage you to revel in the masterpiece you’re creating! Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t worry about how perfect their “blueberries” look. Who cares that everyone else does it “that way”? You’re creating a masterpiece all your own. I believe when you embrace who God has made you to be, that sparkle will return to your eye and you’ll unleash the real artist inside.

The rest of that verse says that you have been “created to do good works, which God has prepared for you”. So do us a favor. Don’t let the world miss out on you any longer. In brilliant colors all your own, go make a masterpiece!

About shannalehr

My name is Shanna Lehr. I'm blessed to be the wife of Scott Lehr and mother to Ella, Ava, Janie and Gracie Belle. I love to cook, travel, run, and spend time with my family. My life has been changed by Jesus and I love to share him with others. Stop back often and join the conversation by leaving a comment. I love to hear from you! You can connect with me on Twitter: @ShannaLehr
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4 Responses to Outside the lines

  1. Scott Lehr says:

    Love the analogy. I may have to steal that one at some point.

  2. Pam says:

    Love it! Wise words!

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