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Sharpen Your Pencil

I am an unapologetic, yet proud, drawer/colorer/creator/doodler.

I love to draw. I love to color. I love to create. And I love to doodle.

Let me share a vulnerable fact with you, my friends. I am addicted…was that strong enough? I am ADDICTED to the gathering of pens and pencils. As far back as I can remember. No lie. Colorful pens and, specifically, colored pencils. I bet I’ve collected 1,000 pens/pencils in the span of my lifetime (and I’m being conservative with this estimate.)

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I believe this must be genetic, or a family trait at best, because my dad does the same thing… or used to. I remember, even as a child, going to sit at his desk at our home, and seeing lots of pens and pencils and all manner of writing instruments.

I’m not a “professional” artist…although some of my creations have been purchased by, not only family and friends, but total strangers. And by purchased, I mean they actually paid money to acquire my stuff. It’s humbling…yet rewarding.

As an artist, I know the value of keeping your tools of the trade in ship-shape condition. I know that if one of my “tools” is going to be of any value to me, it needs to be in the best condition expected for said tool.

For example, I use colored pencils a LOT in my art. They’re amazingly versatile and blendable and shadeable. (Coining new words here lol) And as I do my art, whatever it happens to be at the time, it drives me plum crazy when the colored pencils start getting not-so-sharp. It’s very hard to be detailed in my drawing when my pencils are dulled at the point.

So, I go to my trusty and reliable pencil sharpener…
and I sharpen them.

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I’m very picky about my pencil sharpeners. In fact, I’ve probably spent $50 or more trying different sharpeners that I think would effectively sharpen my drawing pencils without breaking them. #dontjudge

Just last night, I was sharpening a bunch of colored pencils that I’ve been using and that had become “considerably-less-than-sharp” in recent days. So I sat at my desk for about 5 minutes, sharpening every single colored pencil I own (also being conservative in this fact. Cuz I have a lot of pencils.)

And suddenly, I had a thought sashay through my cranium…and I wanted to share it with you’s guys!

I have a substantial pencil sharpener. As I said…I’m picky. And it grinds and sharpens those pencils to a superfine point. And I like that. My pencil sharpener has 6 different “holes”, I guess you could call them, on the dial in front (see picture). Some of my pencils, depending on the brand, are different in their shape than my other pencils. So I’m delighted that my sharpener has different shapes/sizes for that purpose.

Ok, enough about that. Here’s where I’m going with this.

God gave me an insight tonight as I was sharpening my pencils. (He’s so cool!!)

God…is the great Drawer/Colorer/Creator/Doodler!
Me, myself and I…am the pencil.
My life story/my neighborhood/my office/the world…is the paper.

God wants to use us to color and doodle on the world. But because of life, we get really dull at times. We get comfortable because we’re okay that we’ve lost our edge, lost our sharpness, lost our point.

As a creative, I want my pencils to be as sharp as they can be so my creation is as on-point as it can be. Likewise, God picks us up and sticks us into a situation (aka ‘sharpener’) that is possibly very painful and uncomfy. I’m sure if my pencils could talk back to me as they’re in the sharpener, they’d say, “Ok, wait a minute! This really hurts, man! What are you doing to me? I’ve been just fine up until now. And you reward and repay me by sticking me into this contraption that’s really messing me up??”

Sound familiar?

God does this. We become comfortable, and round, and dull, and we become less-than-effective in our coloring of the world. So God says, “Ok, you were meant for more than this, chica! You were meant to drastically change the way this black-and-white world looks…to brightly and dramatically color it with My love, My joy, My kindness, My forgiveness, My mercy, and My grace. But you’re getting useless because you think you’re all washed up. You think that you can’t be used because you’ve been used up!”

Good news, people. 

GOD CAN STILL USE YOU.

But sometimes, to get you from one stage to the next, you may have to suffer a smidge. It’s not fun going into God’s “sharpener”…it hurts, it stings, it gives us a headache and it makes us gripey…and we often think, “Hey, God, this is just NOT fair! This hurts!! Me. No. Likey!”

But God says, “I want to use you, my son/daughter. But I simply must sharpen you up so that you’ll be prepared to go out and doodle my love-message on the pitiful paper of this planet!”

Look here! Can I draw/color/create/doodle with a dull colored pencil? Of course I can! But the chances of me getting out of the lines and losing the sharpness of the color of the pencil are pretty significant. Yes, it will be colored/drawn/doodled on, and people may actually recognize what it is when they look at it…but it won’t be as beautiful of a masterpiece as it could have been with a super-sharp pencil.

God so wants to use you! And if we want to be used to be the most effective in this world that we can possibly be, then we have to allow God to sharpen us, even though it may be incredibly painful.

So think of the tough/rough/bad/sad/ugly/painful times that you’re going through…see them as God’s pencil sharpeners…sharpening you, His instrument, to a superfine point so that you can be as beautiful of a reflection of God’s love to this world as you can possibly be.

~ Selah!

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