Guest Blog from Lynne Hartke: The Joy of Coloring

by Joan C Webb on October 21, 2011

Lynne Hartke photo for blog 10-21-11A few years ago after one of my “Permission to Exhale”* retreats, a lovely woman quietly walked up to me and shared about the courageous next step she wanted to take. Little did I know that I had just met one of the best writers I’ve ever read: Lynne Hartke. You’ll love her blog. Today I’ve asked Lynne (who is also a preschool teacher) to guest blog for me. Enjoy!

Lynne writes:

Lynne Hartke photo for blog joycoloring 10-21-11When two-year old Tyler handed me this picture, I responded like most adults. “Oh Tyler, I love this picture. You used such nice bright colors. Did it take a long time?”

I have learned from past experience to try not to interpret the drawing by saying, “What a nice picture of your mom”, only to find out it was a dinosaur. I also did not say, “Are blue and red the only colors you know how to use? How about green? Orange? Or brown? When are you going to learn to draw a real picture? Take this back and do it right!”

I didn’t say these things because it would be cruel (and I would also be unemployed.) I don’t expect a two-year old to be able to draw as well as a teenager or an adult. I realize that a child is more interested in the joy of coloring than in producing the perfect picture.

In the book Dangerous Wonder by Michael Yaconelli, he compares coloring to Christianity. He writes, “Most of my life I hear the message loud and clear that Christianity was all about…coloring well. If I was a good Christian, if I loved Jesus and wanted to please Him, if I read my Bible, prayed, and went to church, then I would get better and better at coloring…and I would eventually be able to draw close to the perfect drawing.”

I know I have fallen into this trap. I have gotten caught up in trying to produce the perfect drawing and I have missed the joy of coloring. When this happens, my faith becomes a list of rules, rather than a creative adventure. Ironically, my best effort is still going to end up looking a lot like Tyler’s picture and yet God doesn’t rip it up in disgust.

Lynne Hartke refrig for blog 10-21-11No. He says, “I can see you love the color pink. I like all the hearts you made all over the paper. Good job.” And then He’s going to take my picture and put it on His refrigerator, right next to pcitures from Mother Teresa and Moses. Because that’s what proud parents do.

So although I might not draw the perfect picture, I can’t wait to get out my crayons and markers and create another drawing to show Him. What picture are you drawing today?

*”Permission to Exhale” events based on my books, The Relief of Imperfection and It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life.

Special thanks for my friend and writing colleague, Lynne Hartke, for guest blogging today.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan C Webb October 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Hi Blog Readers! I hope you’ve enjoyed coloring a lovely imperfect picture today in some area of your life.
And for you editors out there, yes, I do see the misspelled word! :-)
But I think it goes with the blog message, don’t you? LOL
I would change it, but something is wrong with my blog program and it won’t let me. So enjoy the imperfection!
Relief-blessings to you!

Lynne Hartke October 22, 2011 at 9:51 am

Joan, thanks again for asking me to be a guest blogger. I am so glad that God had our paths intersect. And here we are, drawing pictures together.

I think I’ll use a purple crayon next.

tentmaker October 23, 2011 at 3:38 am

love it!
i remembered how we had this activity in a summer camp – we had the kids draw a picture for Jesus. they were all so cool and different

Joan C. Webb October 23, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Lynne, I’m glad that God orchestrated our paths to cross, also. Purple is a lovely color. I’m using deep garnet. :-) Thank you again for your guest appearance here!

Joan C. Webb October 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

What a fun summer camp memory, Tentmaker! What colors did you use then? What colors are you using now?

tentmaker October 24, 2011 at 6:10 am

that summer i was contemplating more than coloring… and got some courage to start using brighter colors :)

Diane Markins October 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

This is a sweet yet profound post. Great reminder to all believers who keep striving to “get it right.” As long as we’re following our hearts, loving God and loving others, we can’t be wrong. This is what makes up each of our “pictures.”

Joan C. Webb October 25, 2011 at 11:55 am

Thanks for your comment, Diane! Your life backs up your wise comments. :-)

Joan C. Webb October 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

Tentmaker, I love that you got courage to use brighter colors during that summer. What colors are you using now? :-)

tentmaker October 26, 2011 at 6:39 am

i’m using yellow over blue and wondering why it turns green :)

Joan C. Webb November 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

So what is your fav color, Tentmaker??

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