Tag Archives: spiritual

When Colors Collide

watercolors

My colors collided. Again.

I didn’t even realize it; never saw it coming.

That’s what happens when you keep painting and painting and painting… never rinsing out your brush. Never acknowledging each individual color for the beautiful contribution that it is.

Because each color serves a purpose, you know. Each one is necessary to complete the overall picture.

And I’m not talking paint, by the way. These “colors” are what I use to refer to as feelings. So, for instance, yellow would obviously be a happy feeling. Dark blue, not so much. Red? I’m thinking anger, right? Green… hm, maybe greed. Or perhaps envy. And orange, I think I’ll assign that as thankful. There are so many more…

I remember as a little girl having a watercolor set with a variety of eight colors and a thin, nylon paintbrush that was so flimsy, you couldn’t paint a pin-straight line with it to save your life. (Not to mention the brush hairs that kept coming out and sticking to your precious art piece. Fun memories.)

Nevertheless, I loved to paint and was always excited when it was art time in grammar school. It was even more exciting when my watercolors were brand-new. Each color looked perfect in its oval bed, not yet tainted by my incredibly artistic talent. But, alas, before I knew it, I would be painting away…first green, then yellow, maybe brown, then midnight blue…and it wouldn’t be long before those colors weren’t so vibrant anymore. Or individual.

I have to tell you, as a former, professional second-grade watercolor painter, it’s a disaster when your colors all start to blend together because you went a little overkill on the water usage. And never rinsed out your brush after dealing with each individual color.

You no longer recognize each color for what it is. It all becomes one dark, murky-gray puddle.

And even more, it means you can no longer use each color individually, brushing their unique essences on just the right spot of your canvas so that they each work in perfect harmony with one another. Complementing each another. Making the bigger picture.

Kinda like our feelings.

The last six months, there have been so many highs and lows, I couldn’t even tell you… one yellow, the next dark blue…then orange, and a few times green…I got so busy trying to cope with all of life’s colors the “Christian” way that I crashed the other day. Hit a wall – big time. All of the ups and downs, so many of them – too many of them – collided together and became one dark, gloomy mess.

So, what do I mean by the “Christian” way? Reading my Bible. Reading devotionals. Memorizing Scripture. Listening to Podcasts or watching Beth Moore on Wednesday’s with Beth. Praying. Fasting. Letting things go. Forgiving. Moving on. Forgetting what lies behind. All the prudent things any serious Christ follower would do.

But…can it ever be too much? Or better yet, can the “Christian” way ever be a way to avoid – so you don’t have to deal with all your colors?

I was talking to a good friend of mine. She told me to hang in there. Christ’s power is in me – use it. Don’t let the enemy get to me. Don’t give up.

What an amazing friend. And I agree with her! But I have to be honest. Those words just bounced off of me like a rubber ball off that same grammar school blacktop I used to paint at. I couldn’t “do” anymore. I had been frantically doing so much ‘Christian way’ stuff to keep me going, I wasn’t addressing all my colors.

I ignored my feelings – good and bad – so I could press on and, in wanting to do things the “right” way, not hurt this person with my red color. Or make that person mad with my green color. Or that person jealous with my yellow one.

I fell right into the trap of legalism; legalism that says you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re a Christian. Legalism that says you shouldn’t feel too good if you’re a Christian. Legalism that says denying yourself means denying the very essence of who you are – human. Body, spirit, mind, and emotions. Legalism that says you can’t feel opposite feelings at the same time; like you can’t be thankful and angry simultaneously.

I beg to differ. Right now, I am very angry at some things and extremely thankful for others.

So, amongst my many musings over the last few days, I came to a conclusion:

The problem isn’t having all of those feelings at the same time; it’s believing the lie that it’s either impossible to have them all at once or wrong to have them at all. And when we buy into that trap, we stuff. We deny. And all our colors start bleeding together, creating nothing more than indistinguishable and unusable chaos.

Since I have finally come to the end of myself, (yet one more time), I’ve been thinking. It would have been so much better – and right – for me to, instead of hiding behind religiosity, acknowledge each colorful feeling for what it was, talk about it and be okay with it. In fact, if I read my Bible correctly, confessing and dealing with truth are also part of the Christian way.

I’ve also been reminded that each color – every feeling, every experience – will be perfectly placed on the canvas of my life by the great Master Artist himself to create a good and beautiful overall picture.

Each color has a place in my life. Each one will serve a good purpose. Because God said so.

I’m starting to separate my colors, one by one. (Yes, you can do that with a make-believe watercolor tray.) For starters, I dumped on my husband. (Don’t worry, he’s pretty friggin’ awesome and has learned how to handle me by now.) I also dumped on a few other pretty cool family members and friends – letting it all out. I’m going back through many of the experiences of the last six months and processing how I’ve felt about them. How I still feel about them.

I’m already feeling a little less gray, although I’m not completely there yet; wherever the heck “there” is.

I humbly accept your prayers. (After all, we should never really do away with the Christian way.)

My name is not Sherri Bennett. And I’m changing my blog.

I’ve been experiencing an awakening of sorts lately. Actually, awakening is the understatement of the year. Smack-me-upside-the-head epiphany? That’s more like it.

My whole blog is about confession – and being honest. Being real and being okay with it. I have to tell you, sometimes it sucks having a blog like this because, well, then I have to be honest. And believe me, I don’t always want to be.

But I’m going to, so, here goes. My name is not Sherri Bennett. My name is Sherri Stone-Bennett. Some of you who know me might be rolling your eyes at this point, And this is new, Sherri? Hang in there with me.

For those of you who don’t know me, I have been married before. He was, (is), a good man. I was a good person too; we were just too screwed-up to have a healthy marriage. I was a good, screwed-up person, not much unlike what I still am today (just hopefully a little less on the screwed-up part).

His last name was Stone so naturally, my kids last names are Stone. When I remarried, although it would have been much easier to take on my new husbands name, I decided to keep the Stone part, using the newer widely accepted hyphenation approach. I did this because I didn’t want a completely different last name from my kids; I wanted them to feel assured that I was still a part of them and they a part of me. I did it for them.

I also did it with the intention of someday ditching the Stone part after my kids had grown up. Truth? I didn’t want people to think I was trying to be cool with a hyphen. I didn’t want to announce to the world that I had been divorced. I didn’t want to deal with the really fun challenges a hyphen brings when you buy airline tickets, or register for something online, or get a new credit card.

But mostly, I didn’t want to associate with being a “Stone” anymore, as if I could erase all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.

I tried anyway.

When I got the contract for the book I was published in last year, there was a sweet little place for me to let them know how I would like my name to appear in the book. I put Sherri Bennett. They published me as Sherri Stone-Bennett. When I spoke at a women’s event not long ago, I wanted to be promoted as Sherri Bennett. I was promoted as Sherri Stone-Bennett. When I recently looked up sherribennett.com to change the name of my blog site, it was on sale for $1,100.  Sherristonebennett.com was only $19.99. I’m starting to get a clue.

I cannot run away from my past. Nor can I forget it. That being said, I am not defined by my past. Nor will I be defined by my future – good or bad.

I’ve known this in my head. I think it’s starting to sink down into my heart a little deeper.

I am Sherri Stone-Bennett. I have been divorced. I have a history. I have been needy, selfish, unfulfilled, ignorant, and stubborn – and not just in my previous marriage.

I am also good and have some pretty great qualities. I have a future. Moreover, my future shouldn’t be divorced from my past because

if I let them, my past and future can marry and create something beautiful; full of lessons learned, insights to pass on to others, and empathy that’s only created from shared experience.

I’m good with that. No, I’m great with that! Because ultimately, that’s what life is all about: sharing our experiences with others as a way to love them. Moreover, we love God by loving others. And to fully love God and others takes vulnerability, honesty, and courage.

It also takes faith, trusting that God really does love and accept us just as we are, crappy past and all. Because if we don’t really believe this ourselves, we won’t be able to take our bad experiences and use them to love others by offering them grace when they need it. We can’t give away what we don’t own ourselves.

I hope I’m finally getting it.

So, in order to create a more all-encompassing website, the name of my blog site has changed. For those of you who receive this blog automatically by email, you will continue to do so! The site sherribennettblog.com will still be in use but will now be promoted as sherristonebennett.com. And proudly so. :)

Thanks for walking through life with me!