I have always loved to paint. To me, it is one of the most relaxing and cathartic things I can do. I think what I like most about this process is how mindless it is. It’s not complicated and yet, it feels so substantial. Painting doesn’t fight back. It’s pretty effortless to glide a brush across a surface.
These days, I feel like I go non-stop, racing from one thing to another with no down time. Recently, I had a Saturday with absolutely no plans and decided to bust out the brushes and paint.
I have hundreds of paintbrushes, each with a specific size and shape to help create the perfect stroke. Over the years, I have learned exactly which brush I need for a particular piece. Each brush is important. Each brush has purpose. But, each brush gets dirty.
It wasn’t until my six hour painting marathon was coming to an end that something profound hit me. I was running each brush under warm water, carefully and meticulously cleaning each one, and was reminded of my own life.
I am a paintbrush in the hands of my great Painter. I can’t claim the work He chooses to use me to create, but I am valued and chosen to be a part of the work.
I glanced at my paintbrushes, each unique, and thought about their identities. I have painted hundreds of canvases, both large and small over the years. Some I gave away as gifts, some hang in my home and office, some still sit under my bed unfinished. I couldn’t tell you how many different brushes it took to create each one, but in the middle of the process, I knew exactly which one was needed.
Shouldn’t this be our lives? Shouldn’t we also always be available, prepared to be used? We aren’t responsible for the art we create; we are called to be willing vessels. I must be pliable in the Artist’s hands. I must be ready.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]He has fashioned us with purpose. It is our responsibility to be ready and willing to be used.[/pullquote]
What would happen if I just threw my brushes in their container without first preparing them for the next time they are used? The process of removing dried paint is a pain! I must get rid of the paint after each use in order to be set for the next time I will break out the brushes. Likewise, we never know the time and place God will use us. He has fashioned us with purpose. It is our responsibility to be ready and willing to be used. We are called to be prepared.
Watching the clean water run dirty as colors mixed is such a beautiful picture of Christ’s cleansing work in our lives through repentance and confession. Just like in painting, colors mix on the canvas, and brushes get dirty. Each one must be cleaned between colors or things just get messy and the art becomes less beautiful.
Similarly, we get dirty. We are human. Because of our sin nature, messy things may surface while we are doing the work of God. But He is ready and available to cleanse us (1 John 1:9). He is overjoyed to bring us back to a purified state.
Don’t miss the opportunity to be used because your heart and life aren’t ready. Allow the cleansing process to happen every single day. Each day is a gift from the Lord and an opportunity to be a part of His work. We are messy, flawed humans. But in the hands of our Beautiful Creator, we have the joy and privilege of partnering with Him to make a masterpiece. Let’s do “something beautiful for God and become beautiful doing it” (1 Timothy 2:10 MSG).
This is my prayer for each of us — to make beautiful masterpieces in the hands of our sweet Lord.
// image via.