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Paint by Number

Updated: Nov 2, 2021


I much prefer Josie’s free-hand drawings of a “bird” and “mommy and jojo” signed with a backwards J and other barely identifiable letters, than her coloring book/color by number drawings. Staying between the lines and coloring the exact color that is predetermined is actually quite boring. And honestly, the more perfectly she follows directions, the less I like the picture.


Yet I find myself with God continually asking for a “paint-by-number” life. I want to know if the next step is blue or red. What color and where do I color? What decision should I make?? And I am often scared of making the wrong move. What if I color her shirt red and it's supposed to be blue?!?

If I’m made in God’s image, then perhaps He’s like me. He would much prefer my free-form life, using my passion, imagination and energy to create something to bring to Him, instead of Him prescribing a color-by-number road map. Sometimes I’ll offer Josie a certain color of paper, or markers of various colors, and heck, sometimes I even suggest drawing “a picture of her and daddy skiing.”


Even with some guidelines, I still prefer to see her creation. I stand in awe and wonder of what she makes, not critical judgement. YET, I often feel like God must be looking down with criticism or judgement, as I fumble my way through parenthood, marriage, entrepreneurial endeavors and all the things. So often my prayers are asking for a “paint-by-number” script.


I believe if my questions are legit (aka is there a cliff ahead…) he will keep me safe and on track. BUT I often wonder how often my questions are more like “apple juice or orange juice for breakfast?!?!?!? Answer me God!!!! And He’s thinking… “whatever you feel like is fine by me…heck if grape juice is your style...GO FOR IT!” He too takes joy in seeing us live into who we are and live our lives with creativity and passion.


Now, when I walk by a picture of Josie’s on the fridge, I’m reminded of the joy that comes from seeing what she creates. I love to see what her amazing mind and passionate skills come up with! I wonder if God is not the same. He will offer us guidance and direction, but oftentimes he will let us free, blank sheet of paper and some markers, and proudly hang whatever we create (as butt-ugly-beautiful as it might be) on his fridge, and walk past it with joy in his heart.


-Annika C.


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