I’m okay with coloring outside the lines. Yes, I encouraged my young daughters to color inside the lines of coloring pages in order to encourage fine-motor skills. There’s a time for that. There’s also a time for coloring grass purple and the sky yellow and a tree blue. It’s creativity. It’s imagination. It’s beauty and self-expression that can extend beyond the lines. Coloring a circle is excellent, but additional lines and shapes might transform that defined circle into a beaming sun, a silly animal, or an ornament on a tree. The circle can become a speeding vehicle, a mansion, or a geometric design on a person’s shirt.
We might not see it at first, but as it develops, the new image emerges. Pictures are easier to define when they are colored within the lines. Most of us have had the experience of looking at a toddler’s scribbles and trying to guess what they confidently know they have drawn. It’s easier when we can make sense of the lines. But sometimes, the beauty is in the creativity, even the mystery.
I feel that way with God sometimes. I know he knows exactly where the lines are, but we can’t completely comprehend all the intricacies. So much will forever be mysterious for us. And that’s okay. I love that God invites us to be curious. He invites us to be creative. He asks questions and isn’t offended by ours. Sometimes I look around at situations and nature and people and it all looks a bit like a toddler’s scribbles, but then I begin to see some shapes and trends that make sense. I glimpse the intent, and even in my confusion and God’s mystery, it is beautiful.