Coloring Inside the Lines

My son’s K-3 teacher was named Mari Paz. She taught at a bilingual school in Madrid, Spain, and she had very strong opinions on how to properly educate preschoolers.

In our first meeting with her, Mari Paz held up a drawing of an apple and told all of the parents in the room that every child will color that picture inside the lines. If they didn’t color inside the lines, Mari Paz said she would throw the paper away and give them a new one. The children would keep working at coloring inside the lines until they got it right. She had plenty of blank apples for them to practice on.

I came home one day, not long after that talk, to find Thomas sitting at the table with a coloring book open, his little tongue stuck out, his tiny fingers moving slowly across the page, trying desperately to stay inside the lines. It made me want to cry, to give him a blank peice of paper and let him create whatever he wanted.

This is sad when we think about a sweet little three-year-old. But what about us? How often do we feel the pressure to “color inside the lines”? We females, especially, get this. We need to look a certain way, dress a certain way, fit into a certain “mold.” And we sit, our tongues stuck out, our stomachs sucked in, trying desperately to stay inside those “lines.”

It’s just as crazy for us as it was for Thomas. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves us, he created us for a purpose. And that purpose is most definitely not to try to fit into someone else’s ideals. That purpose is to be exactly who God made us to be. And we are created to be different sizes, different shapes, with different talents and interests.

So toss out that “picture” you’ve been trying to fit into, and look instead at God’s portrait of you. Beautiful. Made in His image. His precious child.

Besides, life would be incredibly boring if we were all pictures of apples colored inside the lines.

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