Life is like a box of crayons...

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From early elementary school days I remember being so excited about the start of school and fresh new school supplies. I was so excited to have all new pencils with intact and full erasers that were sharpened to a precise and lethal point. I loved the stack of fresh notebooks in colors that I had strategically picked out for each subject that were completely empty and ready to start a new year worth of notes, memories and doodles. However, my most favorite item was the completely new box of sixty-four Crayola crayons that had all its sides intact, a new sharpener built in, the multiple rows sorted by colors with all perfect and pointed ends. Even now as a grown adult the sight of the back-to-school aisles and the crayons bring a sense of excitement and anticipation.

As a homeschool mom, the sight of back-to-school aisles also brings anxiety (often times its overwhelming), and feelings of failure from the past year. I always start the year off for our family full of ideas, schedules, and ambitious goals of what we will accomplish for our school year. I start off strong. I generally end by limping and bleeding over the finish line in May. The start of a new year can bring with it the voice of past failure and an acute awareness of my inadequacies. Many times this voice drowns out my excitement. I want to finish my race strong but circumstances, stress and the enemy’s voice often leave me feeling defeated. My ideas and ambitious goals are left torn and thrown in the trash and I find myself saying things like, “why do I even bother trying if I am just going to fail anyway?” 

“Life is like a box of crayons”. I know you are hearing Forest Gump’s voice right now, but set that aside. Re-center your thoughts on God’s voice. Here are some of the things that the Spirit spoke to my heart using the analogy of a box of crayons. Let this truth wash over you.

First. Just like a beautiful box of new crayons is opened and looked upon at the beginning of a school year, our Heavenly Father gives us the sunrise of each new morning to remind us that it’s a whole new day and we don’t have to live in the failure of yesterday. “Great is his faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lamentations 3:23) 

Second. Those precious little masterpieces that hang on our refrigerators would have been impossible to create if the crayons were not taken out of the box and used. The crayon taken from its box and moved in the hand of the artist made wax into art so it could be shared with others. If being used up is what has to happen for His love to be shown to others, then so be it!! He is faithful and his word says that we are crayons in the hand of an artist. Celebrate the potential at the beginning of the year and celebrate the usage at it’s close. “O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the Potter. We all are formed by your hand.” Isaiah 64:8

Third. A crayon needs to be sharpened to be able to color into the smallest places and draw precise lines. We need God’s Word to sharpen us in our emotional, mental or spiritual health. Obviously the peeling away of the paper and the sharpening of the crayon changes its once perfect state, but the ability to be used again is worth the loss of the outward perfection. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17. A personal relationship with Christ where He speaks to me in quiet times of prayer or through His Word is paramount. The added bonus is close, Christian, relationships that speak scripture into our lives.

So, by the end of the school year what is left of those beautiful boxes of crayons??? They are usually thrown into a box or ziplock bag all broken, paper peeled off, dull with no remnants of the box where they were once found perfectly aligned. This sounds so depressing, bleak, gloomy and a less than fortunate fate for those once beautiful pieces of colored wax. But let me help us to look at this from a very different viewpoint. Those crayons should not be judged by what is left of them, but instead what they had a part in creating. Their mark (quite literally) is the masterpiece they produce and the legacy they leave.

"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10

At the beginning of this school year, at the beginning of this new season, embrace fully the idea that you are a beautiful new box of crayons - sharpened and aligned perfectly by God. Created, not to maintain your condition, but to be used to create a masterpiece. Prepare yourself for the joy of being sharpened so as to continue to be useful. Eagerly anticipate the beautiful legacy that God creates and displays for the world to see. 

The failures of the past are wiped away, the fears of inadequacy are crushed. We have beautiful, perfect, potential and are in the hand of the most creative artist that has ever been, and will ever be. Join with me in excitement to see what beautiful masterpieces he creates with our lives!

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Meredith is wife to Bryan, mama to Carson, Elijah, Luke, Kaylyn and Joel. She has served alongside her husband Bryan (who is the College and Missions Pastor) here at the River for 16 years. She also works at the Cookeville Pregnancy Center as a nurse and loves ministering to women and their unborn babies. She enjoys pouring into young women, camping and being outdoors with her family, cooking, reading a good book (whenever she has time) and bird watching from her kitchen window.

River Community Church