Coloring as Spiritual Formation

I’ve always loved to color. Being the introvert that I am, coloring had always been a safe way to introvert while being in the midst of a lot of people at school or while playing at a friend’s house. Markers, crayons, colored pencils? It didn’t matter.

Somewhere around junior high I put my crayons on the shelf.  And while they came back out for a brief time when I was in college (I found a really fantastic biology coloring book!), it wasn’t until the past couple years that I’ve started to re-connect with my love for coloring.

And it’s also during this time that I’ve found how helpful it is for me in connecting with God.

I’ve been using these two coloring books in the evenings to slow down, relax, and make mental space to connect with God. 

Restore My Soul

Restore My Soul: a coloring book Devotional Journey by Ann-Margret Hovsepian

Restore My Soul is much more than a coloring book. It’s an invitation to connect with God. Each coloring page is matched with a devotion, and at the end of each devotion, Hovsepian encourages the reader to pray or meditate on a particular idea while coloring the artwork.

This way of meditating and prayer has been nourishing to my soul. I’m the kind of person that likes to get things done. I want to have something to show for my work at the end of the day. Prayer and meditation often bump up against this mindset. Sometimes I feel like prayer and meditation are a waste of time because I have nothing to show for it.

But, I know that these two avenues of connecting with God are essential. What’s a girl to do?

Sometimes I just dig in and do the hard thing, allowing God space to meet me even when it’s hard (and He knows it’s hard for me!). And sometimes I break out a coloring book and color myself a pretty picture while I’m praying and thinking.

Wait on God

I’ve been working on this one about waiting on God. I find that I’m often waiting on God for something- whether it be for myself, for one of my kids, or for something in the life of our church. I’ve come to grips with the fact that waiting is a part of life, so we just have to settle in for the long haul and keep our eyes focused on that which is unseen. Don’t you love this picture?

 

life fearless

Live Fearless: Craft God’s Word Into Your Heart Through Creative Expression by Margaret Feinberg

Margaret Feinberg is a writer I’ve grown up really enjoying. Twentysomething. Organic God. Scouting the Divine. I’ve been a fan since the beginning. Recently she’s created a series of coloring books–  Live Loved. Live Free. Live Fearless— in hopes of helping women lean into who God has created them to be.

Margaret gives a few great intentional ways to use the coloring book to aid in both our understanding of Scripture and flourishing of our souls:

  • Read through the verse and memorize while you color.
  • Look up the verse in your Bible and read the surrounding context. How does this inform your prayers and meditations?
  • Dig into a commentary or Bible dictionary about the Scripture passage on the coloring page.
  • Doodle, journal, or draw on the page adjacent to the picture. How is God using this verse to remind you of who you are or how you are loved?
  • Share your picture after you’re finished using the the hashtag #livefree.

In this particular book, Live Fearless, the verses surround the idea of trusting God, leaning into Him, and asking Him to invade our hearts and remind us of who He’s created us to be. The pictures are filled with nature scenes– mostly flowers and a few animals.

Here’s what I’m learning: we have permission to lean into how we’re wired and figure out how we connect best with God… even if it’s a bit unconventional.

I love reminding others that connecting with God doesn’t have to look like a Bible open on our laps. There are so many ways to connect with Him outside of reading Scripture (in fact, it’s only within the last century that reading our Bibles on a daily basis has even been an option for most people!).

 

So be brave. Try something new. And then tell others about it! 

 

Note: I received these two coloring books from the publisher in exchange for my honest reviews. Also, amazon affiliate links are used in this post. 🙂 

 

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