Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mandalas in Color (and a giveaway!)

Think of the last time you talked to God.

And now think of five adjectives to describe the time you spent with Him.

If you're anything like me, you likely have at least a couple of words like these: hurried, distracted, bored, disjointed....

In a world of technology-obsessed, multi-tasking overachievers, it's sometimes hard to put our screens and to-do lists to the side in order to just be.  Reflection, meditation, Bible study, prayer... heck, even sleep can leave us feeling guilty for not getting enough done in our day.  But at the end of that day, when every chore has been completed and every Facebook post has been read, we know that those quiet moments between us and God are the ones that keep us going.  Without Him, we lack the strength or motivation to fight our way through tomorrow.

Over the years, I've tried numerous things to make my prayer time more fruitful.  I've tried taking a walk and kneeling beside my bed.  I've written in a journal and had reminders pop up on my phone.  I've prayed outloud and in small, dark closets.  Each of these methods have their merits, of course, but none of them seemed to work for me.  What has worked is coloring my way through my God time.

Yep.  You heard me right.  Coloring... as in colored pencils and a coloring book.

I'm not sure if it's my creative nature or just my inner preschool teacher, but coloring is one of my favorite past times.  There are few things more relaxing than turning a black and white page into something beautiful.  Needless to say, I was all over it when my pastor encouraged our small group to color a prayer mandala as "homework" for our class one week.

I knew that coloring could be therapeutic, but what I hadn't noticed before was the way that keeping my hands in motion freed my mind from it's constant running.  When I'm focused on the color patterns and the physical act of staying inside the lines, my mind doesn't have time to wander.  Each time I put down a pencil, pick up a new color, and start on the next section of the picture, my thoughts are brought back to the task at hand.  Combining this exercise with prayer has allowed my time with God to be focused as well.  Suddenly the prayer and meditation time I struggled to hold together for 10 minutes before my mind raced down any number of rabbit trails can now go on for nearly an hour before my ADD kicks in and I have to get up and start doing something.   Unfortunately, I don't have time to color every day, but it's become my go-to activity when there's something God and I need to talk out or when I just want to take time to listen.

Because I love my prayer mandalas so much, I want to give YOU a chance to discover them, too!  If you'd like to win a copy of Mandalas in Color * (pictured above), simply comment here or retweet my post on Twitter- or both!  Entries will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, and the winner will be announced Friday morning. Good luck, and happy coloring!  :)


Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook said...

Wow, no comments yet? I would love to win this! Coloring is very soothing to me, too.

Have you tried walking a labyrinth? There are two in my area, and I usually go during Lent, but I am trying to get there during Advent this year....

Jen said...

I've heard of labyrinths, but haven't had a chance to walk one before. Stay tuned tomorrow to see if you win! :)