Says the Potter to the Clay

Stop it. Right now. Act like you’re supposed to act.

I was sitting on a too-small stool while trying to form a pinch bowl (which is exactly what it sounds like), on the verge of screaming because the clay was not cooperating. It was the first thing we learned how to do, and as I watched my teacher gently mold a palm-sized bowl with his thumb & forefinger, I thought to myself, That looks like the easiest thing ever. 

Fast forward to me, coated in that white dust that is everywhere in a pottery studio, squashing my third attempt against the canvas table as I started over. Mr. Horton sat in his teacher’s stool above us, wire-rimmed glasses perched precariously on the end of his nose, his sparkling blue eyes watching the class as he pinched into existence another bowl. I sighed.

My first three attempts were terrible, to say the least. My first one wasn’t even shaped like a bowl. It was more like a heavy duty ash tray. Everything I had been doing was not working, so as I rolled my next lump into a ball, I decided to change my strategy. Instead of honing in on the clay and forcing it to work, I figured I would watch Mr. Horton. He wasn’t even looking at his bowl, yet it was coming out perfectly. Couldn’t I do that?

So I did. I didn’t once look at the next ball of clay. I kept my eyes on my teacher, watching his hands, and using my sense of touch to do exactly what he was doing. And you know what happened?

The bowl turned out. It isn’t perfect, by any means, but it is nice & well made. I keep it proudly displayed where people can see it & say, That’s cool! Where did you get it?

And I respond with maybe too much pride than I should have in a bowl with, I made it. 

Lately, I have been dealing with issues that I never thought I would deal with again. We have moved once more, and as we have tried finding a new routine & a new way of doing life, the enemy has been attacking like I never imagined he would. And the entire time, I have been fighting back, but in my own strength. I tried doing better, fixing my attitude, cleaning more, staying off Facebook. None of it helped, and I felt so defeated.

Then I realized my strategy was getting me nowhere.

You see, God holds us in his hands like a ball of that sticky clay, calling us to be something grand that He has designed. I mean, in an artist’s own way, God has sketched us out, drafted us. He pulled out an armful of clay & has rolled us out & kneaded us until the air pockets were all gone, knowing that if air remained, everything would explode once we were put to the fire. He already knows what we need to look like, and He has figured out in advance every little detail, from the designs He will etch into us to the glaze He will use in the end. He has even picked out the shelf He wants to put us on.

But sometimes we sit in His hands and resist. We try to form ourselves (because that always works). We push against His gentle hand. We argue & fight & hinder His progress.

We need to sit back & let Him work. And working clay is not easy. It takes muscle & discipline & patience. Sometimes we think we have to do it all, but that isn’t the case. Remember, I got nowhere on my first project until I stopped and followed the lead of someone who knew better than I how to form clay. So stop resisting, stop fighting, and stop trying to do everything on your own.

Because nothing is so sweet as when He looks down through those glasses with a twinkle in his eye and says, That looks just right, Nora. 

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