A painter sits down to paint. He has his palette in one hand, raw colors spread around in little dots. Taking his brush, he swirls two colors together. Then adds just a hint of brown. When he is happy with the color he has created, he proceeds to paint a beautiful sunset, with brilliant colors and bursts of light.
What happens to the palette once the painting is finished? Is it framed and put up in the gallery along with the painting it helped create? No, it is washed and put away, no recognition for its part in the painting. No one wants to see an ugly palette with splotches of mixed colors, all messy and smeared. It is simply not attractive.
But the palette was essential to the painting.
Without a palette, the colors on the painting would be simple and unimpressive. The palette, ugly as it was, helped create the beautiful, complex colors that make the painting something amazing to behold.
In the same way, sometimes we fail to recognize the “unattractive” tools that the Lord uses to make us more beautiful.
Failures. Fears. A messy past.
We look at other people and only see the finished product: Perfect lives, not a single mistake or failure in sight. We can feel inadequate as we compare ourselves to them, because we see our whole selves, not just the pretty, framed, and finished versions.
The truth is that without the ugly parts of our lives, we would be less beautiful.
We would be shallow and boring. It’s our mistakes, our failures, our broken places, that grow us into masterpieces. It is the everyday wear and tear of this life that produces endurance, patience, and humility.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the unattractive things. The Lord can take your most ugly, shameful part and turn it into a work of art. After all,
He is the ultimate artist.
…To grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. | Isaiah 61:3