Coloring Books

My first (and only) piano recital was a nerve-wracking affair.  I had been taking piano lessons for a while when my teacher told me that the recital was coming up.  I was to pick two songs and perform them in front of a small audience largely consisting, I’m assuming, of people who were really only there to hear their child perform.

I picked out “The Piano Playin’ Chocolate Eater’s Blues” (It was a jazzy tune from my piano book about a piano player who ate too much chocolate and had sticky fingers when they tried to play the piano, something that I could potentially identify with.  Don’t make fun!) and “Pachelbel’s Canon in C.”  I also picked out a nice outfit.

I fidgeted and tried not to hyperventilate until it was finally my turn to approach the stage, which I did with some level of dread.  I remember setting my music up on the stand and thinking to myself, “Why did I pick these songs?!  ‘Chocolate Eater’s Blues’ has some really random note combinations and the canon I know mostly from memory.  So if I get lost, that’s the end!”  Also not helping was the fact that Pachelbel’s Canon played an important role in my parents’ wedding, so they were rather familiar with how the number was supposed to sound.

There is a point to this little tale.  Do you know why I got so nervous about playing this one time and not every time I played it at home?  It wasn’t because of the audience- I typically get really nervous before performances in front of audiences and then am completely fine once I step on the stage.  I think the reason I was so worked up was because I only had one shot.

I really don’t like having only one chance to do something.  One chance to play those songs up on the gorgeous piano on the stage, one chance to make a first impression, to do the right thing in a certain situation…

Unfortunately for my dislikes and I, life is one of those one-shot type of things.  And I’m messing it up dreadfully.

I can’t redo the few months after Prince Caspian came out and be less annoying.  I can’t go back and do better in friendships that I’m sad to have lost.  I can’t be cooler or dress better in high school.

But somehow, this isn’t about regrets and fear of messing things up.

Here’s one way of thinking about it: Life is like a coloring book.

I know, I know.  Just stay with me.  It won’t turn into me singing songs from preschool shows- hopefully.

When you’re little, you really can’t color nicely.  You scribble, actually.  Your color scheme makes no sense.  But when you brought that mess home to your parents, they probably didn’t tell you it was disgusting, and that you failed, and that they were throwing it out.  I did a very poor coloring job on a Christmas ornament sometime in preschool, and though my mother usually refuses to let me put it on the tree (it’s rather large), we still have it.  And I’m pretty sure my dad calls me a “little cutie” every time I take it out of the ornament box.

Would I make the same ornament today?  No.  If you look at the coloring that I did this summer (coloring is very therapeutic, but in this case I was actually doing it because I was working at a kids’ camp), you’ll notice some big differences.  The colors are actually inside the lines.  In fact, I probably traced the outline of the figure and then colored it in with precise diagonal strokes.  I added other colors to create texture.

Now let’s suppose I put all of those coloring pages into one book.  It’s just one coloring book.  Some of it is a mess.  There are times when, even though I’d grown, I was coloring out of the lines again.  A few times when I crumpled the page and messed it up altogether.

We get just one life. Some of it is a mess.  There are many times when, even though I was more mature in my faith, I was sinning again.  A few times when I completely messed up and doubted God altogether.

But when He looks at my life, He sees Jesus in His perfection.  And even when He sees that I’m coloring outside the lines, He’s calling me back.  He’s forgiving me and rejoicing when I grow closer to Him.  I haven’t obtained all this.  I haven’t already been made perfect, but I’m pressing on. (See Philippians 3.)  It’s okay that I only get one chance, because every step of it will be used for God’s glory, which is the whole point of my life in the first place.  And it’s not the end of the world if I mess it up now and then.  Through Christ, we have forgiveness and hope.

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God… Be very careful, then, how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil,” says Ephesians 5.

It’s my prayer that God will guide us to truly make the most of each opportunity and to imitate and radiate His love.  And thank you, Lord, for Your love and second chances!!

p.s.  I was going to try not to do yet another p.s. with a song, but this is a good one! =)

Writing this post reminded me of  a scene from “Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie,” which is actually in its entirety on YouTube!  Here’s the link.  The part I’m referencing starts at 46:40, ends around the commercial break, and kind of goes perfectly with this post.


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