Crayola crayons. The smell of them takes me back to elementary school. At the start of every year, my parents would take me shopping for school supplies, and on a couple of those really lucky years, I was able to bamboozle them into getting me the box of 64 bright, new colors, in a special box that had a built-in sharpener so your crayons would never get dull. That was the universal elementary sign in the early 1980’s that you were “all that.” There was nothing like cracking open the box and being hit with that waxy smell that brought your olfactory to life. After a week of art class, the fresh, fast points were worn off of the “best” colors in your box, and sometimes even the labels were starting to fray on the edges. In only a short time, they started showing wear and even broke in two if I squeezed them too hard while coloring.
I am guilty of practicing what I’ll call “Crayola Christianity” throughout my life. Maybe you are, too. My first salvation experience happened while I was very young. I may not have been more than a kindergartener at the time. Needless to say, I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, but my faith walk was not defined. I knew that I had asked Jesus to live in my heart, and I knew that meant I needed to continue to be a “good girl.” Beyond that, I was too immature to grasp concepts of a true relationship with Jesus.
My “real” walk began when I was a pre-teen. At church camp one summer when I was 12, I responded to an altar call after the group of students from Mount Vernon Nazarene College finished worshipping with us one evening. I committed to following biblical principles and doing my best to apply them to my life. I was a new creature in Him. A brand new Crayola.
Just like those crayons, though, once my box was opened and I was back in the real world, life experiences threatened to dull my color. I quickly lost my new crayon smell. When school started that fall, I faced the pressures of junior high school. Because I had openly expressed my love for Jesus, a group of girls thought it would be fun to “dare” me to do things that were considered “bad.” By the grace of God alone, the “bad” things then were so much smaller than they are now. Regardless, I caved. They dared me to say a bad word, the one where the devil lives. Once I did it, they told everyone how much of a hypocrite I was. (At that time, it was called two-faced because our vocabularies weren’t quite that sophisticated yet.) I remember crying in my room and begging God to forgive me and deliver me from the bullies.
Over the years, my crayons have been worn, frazzled, and broken in two. There’s a difference between the broken crayons and me, though. Every time I’m worn, frazzled, and broken, I have the chance to be made brand new again. My edges get smoothed, my label repaired, and my brokenness mended. I am a new Crayola, ready for an exciting new day. My shiny new luster is restored, and by His grace, I get to try again.
If you’re feeling like a broken or worn crayon, give the hurt and brokenness to Jesus. He wants to take our pain and make us new! All we have to do is ask!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17