While on a recent trip to the Rocky Mountains, I was given the opportunity to purchase a piece of original artwork. When the customer representative first showed me the piece, I thought the painting of aspen trees set against a textured copper background was interesting, but I did not immediately connect with it.
Fortunately, the customer representative, Emily, didn’t leave it at that. She asked me questions about what “moved” me. She queried me about the aesthetics of my home and the “feeling” I was looking to achieve. And then she did something smart. She invited me to sit on a very comfortable couch as she placed the artwork up on the wall about 10 feet away and then she slowly began to dim the lighting…
Oh my word! No sooner did the light start to fade that I began to appreciate—or perhaps realize the depth of—the creativity in this artwork. As I marveled at the effect the painting was having on me, Emily shared some details about the artist, Rolinda Stotts, including her style, the intent of her work and the complexity of construct that is crafted into every piece. I began to feel a peace come over me.
Then Emily told me the title of this one-of-a-kind painting: “Bella Rotta” or Beautifully Broken. Wow! No wonder I had such a spiritual connection with this art. Not only did it seem to improve as the light changed, but the title that the artist selected was deeply personal to me.
On my flight home, I pulled out a brochure that Emily had given me about the artist and began reading. It didn’t take long for me to zero in on this statement: “In my paintings I want there to be an element of imperfection. Imperfect things give way to grace….” Speechless—hardly a common state for me—was my state of being for some time afterwards.
And so here is the Salt and Light that God placed on my heart to share with you:
1. Being BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN reminds us of the Cross and the sinless, perfect life of Christ, which was broken, intentionally, for us.
2. BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN is also what happens when our broken lives meet up with Jesus. He takes each imperfection, each cracked and uneven piece, and brings it together into a beautiful new creation. Like with my painting, we do not always impress on first glance, but just as when changing the lighting changed my view of the artwork, along with my perspective and appreciation for its true beauty, so too the light of Christ flows through us and illuminates our own state of grace. And sometimes, when the light is just right, it is our imperfections that reflect His perfection most clearly.
In my case, as with most, my brokenness was such that He had to break me further so that I could be beautifully used for His purposes, not unlike how the ground has to be broken for a seed to grow.
I’ve been a believer since the age of 14, but oh boy, have there ever been habits, traits and behaviors that God—thankfully—chose to break and remake in His image. And in fact, there are things in my life that He is still breaking and remaking.
We’ve all heard the platitude: “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Growing is often seen as acquiring knowledge, but think about it in terms of brokenness….the more we allow Him to break us from unhealthy habits, unhealthy people or unhealthy patterns in our lives, the more beautiful and the more useful we become.
I believe that every child of God was created for a purpose but often times our purpose is not a place we organically fall into or stumble on. It’s through the process of refinement and brokenness that His greatest work can be done.
Needless to say, I purchased the painting and am counting the days until it finally arrives. I know that I will feel blessed every day to look at this art that initially did not appeal to me, but only through the dimming of a light did I come to fully recognize the beauty that the artist created for the viewer. I do so greatly value this gift!