Colouring within the lines

My life has failed to be a riotous whirl of colour. The corners creep out grey and edges are smudged and blurred.

As a small child I was taught to colour carefully within the lines. Keep to borders and boundaries.

Back in the day, that meant keeping to strict limitations set by teachers rather than self-imposed ones.

Now, as I pause and ponder how my life has turned out, I wonder if I am able to add touches of brightness to the grey, throw a bit of teal or a dash of purple over the sad places and bring the picture to life again.

Like many of you, I have health and strength limitations, confines to the corners of my days, pressing and pushing from challenging circumstances that squeeze me tight with their prescriptive lines.

How would it look to live cheerfully and willingly within that defined circle?

Could I colour within its circumference?

“What if you learned that even the mistakes that have marked your life can be redeemed? What if you learned, rather than to be defeated by the lines that have been marked on your life, to color inside the lines?” ~ Matt Appling in ‘Life after Art’

Herein lies a challenge to us all.

How to live fully and freely within the place in which we dwell ~ mentally, physically and spiritually.

For freedom is more a matter of the mind and heart than of any perceived box we may live in.

On the inside, where it really counts, I am as free as a bird. Though I tend to forget it at times.

I can live unchained and unfettered. And so can you.

The more we rest in God the less we’ll stress about situations we cannot change.

Jesus has paid the price for such glorious liberty. His blood splashes its scarlet hues over every aspect of our lives.

Meanwhile, we live in a world of confines, conflict and constraints.

Maybe God can help me and you to colour it bright by His grace? Its golden thread weaves its strands throughout our days.

How would it look if we coloured with confidence and painted with passion and purpose within the parameters of our lives?

I’m not sure, but I’m willing to try. How about you?

I’ve just started on a journey of writing brave and free as Holy Spirit inspiration comes.


To find out why and how, you can check out this post.


I’d love you to join me and share the way God is leading you too.

8 thoughts on “Colouring within the lines”

  1. Joy, a very thought provoking post. Not taking away from the limitations a chronic illness imposes on a person, but wondering if it is not a lie the enemy whispers when he attempts to make one think they are also limited in what they can achieve in & through Christ. The verse which comes to mind is, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36). It's that word "indeed" which gets me – indeed as in a fact, a reality, truly ( May your spirit stay free, stay creative & continue to bless so many. You have surely blessed me, time & time again!

    1. Joanne, I love that verse and the emphatic 'indeed' is beyond all doubt! So often it is our own limited ideas of what freedom means that keep us bound. There is freedom in every circumstance and place because we are set free by God's love and grace to live above it all. He reveals the ways we can see life differently and see it whole. Thank you for the lovely blessing! I am also truly blessed by your posts as well, my friend. 🙂 Xx

  2. Wonderful image, Joy. I hope all who read will through off whatever hinders and color bravely and freely whatever circle they find themselves in. Stopping over from The Weekend Brew!

    1. Hi Linda. Thanks for stopping by! It can be hard to colour "bravely and freely" within the confines of our lives at times but it's well worth the attempt. God bless you, friend. 🙂

  3. This brought tears, lovely Joy. My world is one of "confines, conflict and constraint" at the moment which are not just to do with chronic illness. It is as though the whole of life has hedged me in and locked me away. BUT I have been trying to find my freedom in Christ anyway. And this post helps me see that in a new way, which is precious. Thank you. xx

    1. Oh, Keren, my heart aches for you! You are feeling hemmed in on every side. In such a confined and constrained position it must feel like freedom is a pipe-dream. But our faith is not built on a nice dream but in seeing God in the gritty (and often grotty) reality we live in. I admire your attempts to seek freedom in spite of your circumstances and I am praying that you will sense a freeing in your spirit that lifts and enables you to rise above the many problems you are encountering. Thank you for letting me know how this post has been used to bless you, my friend. Love and prayers. xox

  4. This is very beautiful, Joy. It made me realise something else – you might not be aware, but you are bathed in Light, and as it shines from you it is refracted into a mesmerising rainbow; a gorgeous display of colours. In your writing and in your person, you are an inspiration.

    1. Helen, you have a way of making me speechless with your comments. I fail to see what you see but I humbly praise God for giving you such gracious eyes. Thank you, dear friend.

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