Lessons from Broken Crayons

If you’ve paid any attention to the news lately, then your heart is probably feeling similar to mine–broken. Senseless tragedies are taking place left and right.

Children left without their father.

An entire family tragically killed in a car accident on their way to a missions conference.

Accidents, sickness, loss, pain.

b r o k e n n e s s . . .


I hate coloring.

I don’t know if it’s because I like more complex art forms, because I couldn’t figure out how to color as evenly as the person sitting next to me, or because I hated to mess up the pretty rainbow pattern, but I just do not enjoy coloring.

But let me tell you–I love new boxes of crayons.

Perfectly sculpted tips, meticulously wrapped paper labels, unblemished pillars of colored wax, perfectly arranged by color, and smelling like Childhood Heaven (just because I didn’t color didn’t mean I didn’t admire those who were good at it).

A thought has been fluttering through my mind for the past few weeks, and I haven’t known exactly how to write about it…

 People are a whole lot like crayons.

You see, when we open our box of life, we are exactly like a new crayon: whole, pure, flawless, a lifetime of potential and creativity. But we can’t stay that way.

Because we use the crayons–and then they aren’t so attractive anymore. Dull tips, peeling paper, scuffed and marred wax–

and brokenness.

Sometimes I feel exactly like a used crayon: beat up and taken advantage of by the world, unattractive, left out, unwanted, and broken. I feel like I no longer have a purpose. Because, let’s face it, this world can be a mean place, and people can be cruel.

And sometimes the easiest solution to Life’s Struggles is to limp back into my safe little box and tape the lid shut. But there are a lot of things to be learned from a broken crayon.

A crayon doesn’t suddenly question his or her purpose after being broken. 

That’s right–just because we aren’t the same as we once were does not mean our purpose of glorifying God has changed. Yes, the means of bringing Him glory may appear a little different than before, but Matthew 5:16 clearly states,

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Isn’t that awesome? In the same way keep doing what you’ve been doing to glorify God. 

Broken crayons still do their job. 


Because the broken crayon still knows his purpose, he continues doing what he was designed for–to color. He might have to be held at a different angle, or he may even need to have his label peeled back or removed, but he continues to lend himself to the task at hand.

This should be inspiring, people! A broken crayon does not give up and lie down to die–he keeps pressing on.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).

Broken crayons didn’t stay in the box.

 Last time I checked, brand new crayons didn’t peek out of their little cardboard boxes, witness the brutal mutilations of their buddies, and then seal the lid shut for all of eternity and the sake of their own wholesome lives. Because that would be pointless (no pun intended).

As the saying goes, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not why ships are built.” In the same way, crayons–and people–are not meant to stay “safe;” rather, we are called to live life to the fullest! (John 10:10).


To stay in the box is to remain the way we are (safe),  but sometimes being roughed up is better for us.

When I was little, I had a nifty little Crayola machine (which was most definitely a fire hazard). I would fill the plastic trays with bits of broken crayons, which the machine would then melt down and harden into new, beautiful, multi-colored crayons.

It was awesome! But the point is,

sometimes the most beautiful things are made out of broken pieces.

And maybe, just maybe I hate coloring because I hate causing the brokenness. I hate to ruin what is perfect and to mess up what seems so pretty–in art supplies and in life. But you know what?

Those broken crayons make pretty good analogies.:)


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