Color Wheel

My place at the table was reserved just for me.  The Lord knew exactly when I’d be ready to stop striving and come in and rest.  In my eyes I’m late, but in His eyes, I’m right on time.  Change isn’t automatic, even when you know you’ve been set free.  But the new wine is beginning to flow, a few drops at a time.  I feel a shift—more peace.  I don’t seem to be carrying around the I should list in my brain and am able to be present in the moment more often.  

As the homeschool volunteer art teacher for my daughter, I had my little grands—Emma, 7, Ethan, 5, and Myla Grace, almost 2, at my house for art and some play time.  We learned about the color wheel, painting the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow on paper plates.  I gave Myla Grace markers to use instead of paint, and of course, she colored on her paper plate…and the table…and her little belly.  Luckily, they were washable!

Next I let them mix the primary colors, and presto!  The secondary colors appeared—orange, purple, and green.  After teaching them about which colors are warm and which are cool, the lesson was over.  Then we had cookies and hot chocolate, half milk and half whipped cream, followed by play time in the toy room.  As they joyfully laughed and played, I was content just to sit on the floor with them and savor the moment, fully present.

I was thinking about those primary colors this morning, the three colors from which all other colors are created. And I wondered, since everything in creation reflects attributes of God, do the three primary colors represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?  These three colors blend uniquely to produce an infinite number of reflections of their source, all containing nothing but pieces of the original colors. I thought of the imagery that Mark has written about, that we each uniquely reflect a piece of God’s heart.  And the color wheel with its infinite shades is another way of looking at how each of us express our Creator with our own special hue that was given to us when He designed us.

With the pressure building through this crazy and complicated year, I’m finding it’s a good time for me to go back to the basics, the simple truths that have always sustained me.  The Lord knows that for years I’ve chased simplicity only to find it elusive.  But with a new perspective from my view at the table, I see it’s not elusive.  Christ is offering it, arms wide open.  There is time for finding my truth and expressing it, my “color.”  But I know I will only find it when I am resting in Him.  

In “Late to the Table” I asked the question, Is it easier to follow rules than to walk in freedom? To be honest, I think we have to admit that in some ways, it is.  It’s often easier to do something than it is to be someone.  I believe that my true “color” has been hiding in plain sight all along.  I just haven’t been listening to the right Person.  Jesus is the only One who can tell us who we are and enable us to live our own truth. It’s time just to sit at God’s table and be with Him, the triune God, the Great I Am, to listen and to receive from the One who knows me best.

Late to the Table

The journey to full freedom can be gut-wrenchingly hard.  “Deconstruction” has been unsettling as I leave behind long-held mindsets of what is and isn’t acceptable.  What is happening is that everything that has “propped me up” no longer works.  Lord, you know I love you.  I just want to understand.  As painful as it is, going back to where I was before I started this process is unthinkable.  As I’m beginning to know and live my own truth, I’m happier in the midst of the confusion because this is real, and it is an answer to my prayer to love Him and know Him more intimately. 

Part of living my own truth is understanding that I’m an introvert and a highly sensitive person with a need for much solitude and peace, and along with that, greatly affected by overwhelm and overstimulation.  This is the way God designed me, and for most of my life, I haven’t respected it.  I’m looking at Romans 12:1-2 from The Passion Translation on my little chalkboard in my office, my Scripture for this year, and I see progress.  I have stopped imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around me, and I’m in process with the Spirit of a total reformation of how I think.  Finally, I’m beginning, a little at a time, to discern God’s will and live this beautiful life.

I know I’m not alone in the way I feel.  So many others have gone before me, but I am late to the table at age 65, late for my own feast.  Being “wired for compliance,” I didn’t ask many questions—well, some big ones I did.  Looking back, my questions were always about judgmentalism and “the rules,” my sense of justice kicking in.  But staying on board and drinking the Kool-Aid limited me.  Most importantly, it limited using my amazing mind to think and to reason, to come out of the box of false identityAs a result, I’ve been nibbling, scarfing down a bite or two or three at a time, but never feasting.

Why does religiosity (legalism) continue to rear its ugly head and stuff believers into old wineskins? This only divides the Church when Christ has called us to unity.  In Jesus’s own words, you cannot put new wine into old wineskins because the fermentation of the new wine will cause it to burst—it just doesn’t work anymore (Luke 5:36-38).  And look at verse 39: “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”  Are we uncomfortable with freedom?  They say there is a high recidivism rate when an inmate is released from prison because he can’t acclimate to the world as a free person.  Is it possible that it’s easier for us obey the law than to step out into freedom?

There is nothing to fulfill when we come to Christ because He fulfilled the Law.  It really is that simple. The Lord has prepared a table for all of us in a spacious place.  I know He is calling me to come sit down with Him and taste and see that He is good, that He is for me, and that I am His beloved.  I never want to settle again for “the old is good enough,” because that leaves Christ out of the picture. He is always calling us up higher into His ways and His love.  It may have taken me a while to get to the table, but there is a seat open for me. There is one for you also. Let’s go and feast together!

Safe Harbor

The words “safe harbor” keep coming to mind, that Christ is our safe harbor during all the storms of life. Sometimes the water is smooth, and we sail through easily with the praise of God on our lips. Sometimes the water is choppy, and we can manage okay if we send out a few prayer requests and dig a little deeper into the Word. Sometimes the seas are downright rough, but still we manage with the help of our prayer warriors and seeking godly counsel.

Then sometimes we are completely cast overboard.  So we look for someone to throw us a life preserver, something we can hold onto and stay afloat, and sometimes someone does.  We can climb back in the boat, praise God for our narrow escape, and go back to living life as usual.  But sometimes there is no life preserver.  You thrash around in the water as best you can, but panic seizes you. You realize that there is nothing or no one that can put you back in the boat. This is how I felt when my former husband died very suddenly.

Just as you are flailing around in the darkness in the water, you look up, and across the waves, you can see a dancing sliver of light. You frantically dog-paddle toward the light, and it becomes a teeny little brighter.  You think, “This is too hard.  I’m not that good of a swimmer.  I thought I was, but I don’t have the strength.”  But the light is beckoning.  And each time you bravely take a lunge toward that light, a wind seems to come up and push you a little closer.

“I am the light of the world.”  The words come from someplace deep inside of you. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.”  “I have come so that they might have life and have it to the full.”  “For I know the plans I have for you….to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.”  The words keep coming…“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The Spirit continues to bring the Word from your inner being and gives you the courage to keep slowly moving forward as the light gets brighter and shows you the way. You know those words and you know who the Word is. “Where can I go from your spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”  You stop struggling and let the wind of the Spirit carry you home.

As a light from a lighthouse, He beckons us on until we make it safely back to harbor, safely in His arms. He will never leave us or forsake us. But sometimes he doesn’t allow us to get back into the boat because the boat is not what we need.  He lets us feel the panic or the ache or the longing so that we will struggle our way to Him and know that He is enough. No matter how many times we are cast into stormy seas, He will always show us the way to safety because He is the light.  Just like Peter in his fear of sinking while walking on the water, we will find that we were never in danger. We were right where we were supposed to be, with Jesus at arm’s reach all along. And though we may lose our way for a time, in Christ we are never lost.

This post was written as an entry in my journal during my season of singleness after the death of my former husband in 2007.  Then, seven years later, Mark and I moved to Texas and away from family following the direction of the Lord.  It felt at times as though I had again been cast overboard as homesickness overtook me. Reading this post that I wrote so many years ago comforted me at that time because it reminded me He was with us and had a good plan for us.  Now, in 2020, we’ve been back in Arkansas with family for almost two years. Still, with all that is going on in the world and the angst that I feel, Jesus continues to be my safe place, the one who holds my heart.  He is your safe place too.  No matter what you are going through, look for Him.  Run to Him.  He is faithful.  He will carry you through.  And if you will say yes to His will, it will be an amazing ride.