coloring outside the lines…

“Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit.” _Galatians 5:16 (msg)

Last night I wrapped up a 4-night speaking tour that I thoroughly enjoyed and that almost thoroughly exhausted me. I love having the opportunity to speak to new audiences about ideas and thoughts I’ve been wrestling with for a while, and being able to serve Christ in such a way is nothing less than a privilege.

I’ve also been enjoying a period of time off from teaching each Sunday at Awaken, having my friend Ken Chester leading us through a 6-week journey through the Chronicles of Jesus. This has given me time to recharge my creative batteries a bit and to focus on some of the details and check the pulse of our vision at Awaken. I have to say that I continue to grow in my admiration for people who are able to keep the creativity flowing on a regular basis, who have guarded themselves well against the crash-and-burn that comes with a sudden loss of creative energy by learning how to pace themselves day to day. I’m still learning.

As I take some time to refuel on this little creative hiatus, I came across a question a few weeks ago in some of my readings that I thought to be quite interesting. It was a creative exercise where I was asked to list 3 “champions” of my creative-self and 3 “enemies.” What I was able to see was how the ‘champions’ I listed all shared a common theme…people who believed in me, who recognized a raw talent and spoke to an area I desperately needed and desired to hear their affirmation (and by the way, I cheated…I couldn’t limit it to 3).

The ‘enemies’ of my creativity were identified as individuals or organizations who have wanted me to ‘stay inside the lines,’ to color neatly, predictably, just like others around me. Now, I guess my mom can bear witness to this little fact better than anyone…the fact that I’ve never been able to color inside the lines very well. I still can’t do it well today. Maybe it’s from my figgedy hands that always like to tap on something. Maybe it’s my lack of patience with creating certain things. Maybe it’s what I inherited from my dad who has the handwriting of a doctor. I don’t know. Nonetheless, I don’t color within the lines well and never have.

It’s interesting to see how this has become such a definitive of my journey so far and how it continues to be. I remember my public speaking professor in college telling me several times that I didn’t have a good voice for speaking, that I was boring…all topped off with a “C” for the class. Could it be that I just wasn’t that interested in what I was speaking about? Could it be that there’s a better communicator in all of us than we realize…it’s just that we don’t get to talk about the things we enjoy often enough? Maybe…

When it has come to the ‘champions’ of my creativity, they’ve all been people who’ve seen the value in how I color and the potential of what my coloring could become. People who believed in me, who continue to do so.

Besides, I’m convinced that it’s not those who color inside the lines who necessarily make the greatest marks on the things around them.

Living freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit today…

2 thoughts on “coloring outside the lines…

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