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As a child, I was the world’s best coloring book artist. I can see myself right now, lying on the floor in my bedroom… coloring the most beautiful pictures you ever saw of Cinderella, Tinker Bell, Yogi Bear, and Boo Boo. Each one perfectly outlined for a little girl who was all about staying inside the lines.

I needed those lines. I knew what to do with the lines that had been drawn for me… and that lines were not for crossing. Ever. Never in a million years would it have occurred to me to color outside the lines. Good little girls don’t do that. To do so intentionally was rebellious. To do it by mistake was nothing short of failure for the tiny perfectionist I had already become.

Where I come from, you toe the line…and dread the thought of disappointing those who expect you to be perfect almost as much as you hate the thought of falling short of your own need to please them. We know now, as adults, that it’s impossible to please others by being perfect, but certain tendencies can be so ingrained that we keep trying anyway, simply because we have no idea how to do it differently. Sure, we’re exhausted by it. We’ve been doing it a long time. But as worn out as we are, it’s just too exhausting to think about learning something completely new.

I get it. I was tired, defeated, and terrified when I moved to the ACTS House. With absolutely no idea how to change what needed changing in my life, I had all but given up on the notion that it was even possible. But I’m here to tell you today, “It’s not too late or too hard”… just in case any of you happen to be feeling that it is.

And the last thing in the world I thought I would learn so late in life is the value and fun of living in community. As scary as it was for me at first, I’m {mostly} over my fear of being noticed {up close and personal, instead of from a distance where I can carefully control how much I allow myself to be known}. At long last, I’m loving where I am in life… free to color with purpose and passion… safe and secure inside the lines God has drawn for me in pleasant places.*

And I pray the same for each of you.


*Psalm 16:6