“Don’t press too hard with your crayon”

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I love the site “Humans of New York.” Each day, photographer Brandon wanders about one
of the greatest cities on the planet and shoots photographs of random people living life. Often, he asks them simple questions…”tell me your best memory” ….”what was the worse day of your life?” Or my personal favorite…asking young kids to give their “best piece of advice” to readers.
Today, a little girl who dreams of being an artist said this: Don’t press too hard with your crayons.”
Anyone who’s used crayons or who works with small children understands the principle…press too hard, and they snap.
But what if we move to the metaphorical? What if…what if “the crayon” represents creative force or gift we are given? A talent…a ministry…a child?
I have found it to be true that, if I press too hard, those break as well.
There’s something to be said about the importance of hard work and determination (aka – stubbornness). I’m not discounting perseverance. No, I think that anything worth doing involves learning, experimenting, failing and trying again and again as you perfect your craft, be that a work or art, a story, or a relationship.
But press too hard… impose too much of your own will, your own preference..and you end up with broken crayons. Sometimes they snap in the form of a lost opportunity. Sometimes, there are broken bonds of friendship. Others times, forcing an idea to submit to your will ends up in frustration and an abandoned project.

It’s a good reminder for me, in the midst of kids growing up and time becoming more my own and my heart crying out to simply create…don’t press so hard. Lighten up a bit in the crayon, and let the color flow and the drawing come to be. I don’t have to force it. I just have to be diligent to do what I know is right…pick up the crayon and use it. But I also need to remember…it’s a crayon, use to create. Not a hammer or a crowbar to break it force things a part.

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