If You See Me Coloring in Church

Copyright: Happy Color

Don’t freak out.

It seems I’m always learning new things about myself. Or perhaps, more accurately, I’m gaining more understanding about what I’ve known for years. In school I couldn’t just listen to lectures; I had to take notes. I may never look at them again, but they made all the difference between getting nearly nothing from the lecture and getting…well, maybe not everything, but certainly a whole lot more. Taking the notes, handwritten notes, helped my sometimes overactive brain focus on what I was hearing rather than running off in a hundred different directions.

So let’s head to church. Like most, I used to sit in a pew with my Bible in hand. I had to take notes, of course, but I eventually realized that I also had a secondary problem. Way too often, my eye would be caught by a verse near the one the minister had us reading and my self-propelled brain would dash off into thoughts about that verse, sometimes never to return to the ministry going on in front of me.

I tried all sorts of things through the years, eventually settling on restricting myself to a Bible app on my phone, thus limiting the rabbit trail options, but that only helped with part of the problem. Hand writing the notes wasn’t helping as much anymore, so I switched to taking notes on my phone. Switching between apps slowed me down and helped, but I still had trouble concentrating and retaining.

And then I had some fascinating conversations with a friend who has dealt with similar issues. She explained that she needed to be doodling or sketching while listening if she wanted to retain, that it helped her stay focused. I don’t sketch, but I do have a color-by-number app on my phone, so I dared to disobey tradition and open it during a sermon.

Oh

My

Word

It made all the difference! Being color by number, it’s a virtually mindless activity. It’s not enough to distract me from the message, but is enough to keep my eyes and hands occupied so that THEY don’t distract me from the message. It gives my antsy brain that one little bit of extra work required to make it settle down and actually concentrate on what’s being said.

Since I started doing this, I am more connected with Pastor’s messages than ever, take better sermon notes now than I have in a very long time, and leave service without the frustration that used to stalk me when I knew I’d missed too much. It is an absolutely amazing solution that works for me, and I’m so glad my friend helped me head in the right direction.

So if you see me coloring in church, don’t freak out; it’s a good thing.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Sermon in a Box

Cocoons

In my office desk, at the very back, is my sermon in a box. It has preached me many messages, most of them about comfort zones.

One of the fun things we did as homeschoolers was raise silkworms. It was fascinating to watch them eat and grow, then spin themselves into amazingly compact cocoons. Then we waited…and waited…and waited until that morning when we saw the first moth fluttering around in our observation box. We waited some more until the second came out, but the third never emerged.

I’m sure we studied silk at that point, and that I explained about how the worms must be killed while still in the cocoon or the silk thread is destroyed. We unrolled the pieces of thread from one of the empty cocoons so our boys could see the silk and how it is supposed to be one long thread. The two remaining cocoons I kept, placing them in this box, because while I was teaching practical lessons, I was learning spiritual lessons.

As Christians, we live a spiritual cycle that is similar. We grow, we enter a new state, we rest, we transform, we emerge and step into the next phase of our walk with Him. In each stage of life, we have things to do, a purpose and plan laid out for us. Ideally, we move from one stage to the next naturally…but what if we don’t?

What about those times when we’re at rest inside our cocoons, in our comfort zones? We know what has to come before we can emerge – transformation. We have to set aside the old and take up the new. The problem is that the old is familiar, comfortable in its own way, and like the Israelites who were about to condemn themselves to 40 years in the wilderness, we see the required transformation and think it’s too much to ask of us.

That whole generation – the adults who decided not to move on with God – died in the desert, never becoming what God wanted them to be or having what God wanted them to have. Many Christians choose the same fate today by opting to stay in their comfort zones. Instead of accepting the transformation God offers, they stay right where they are until they die, be it a spiritual or physical death.

It’s sad to think that, inside the one, still perfect cocoon, there is a dead body, a life that should have been, a life that should have grown to reproduce, create more life. It is beyond painful to see the same happen in the life of a Christian because they will not take the risk, will not move out of their comfort zone so they can be transformed into a new creature that is prepared to do all God has designed them to do.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C