I Am The Clay

There are those moments in life that put you in your place, bring you back to earth, humble you, open your eyes to the truth. There are those moments that become a turning point in your journey, when perspective shifts and the light enters in. I welcomed in one of those moments yesterday.

I do not shy away from sharing my struggles. I do not claim to have a perfect recovery. There are still moments I stumble with my thoughts and let the fears overwhelm me. I have my days where I despise my body, question what I have become, become infuriated with my reflection. There are many times I want to step out of my skin and not have to feel it on me. I fight to see truth. The defeating, degrading thoughts consume. Yesterday was one of those days.

I was getting ready for church, dressing myself in a new outfit I had just bought a few days before I was so excited to wear, and then there it was. I turn around to inspect my attire and it hit in full force; the dislike, the unhappiness, the dissatisfaction. I stood there picking apart my body, pointing out every single flaw, exasperated with the defeating thoughts and I had only been awake for ten minutes. I was already for the day to be done. “Not again” I said to myself. Please not another day like this.

The frustration at the reflection shifted to irritation at God for how He made this body. These are the instances where it gets ugly, when my peace and my praises transform into an inner uproar of criticism and I disconnect from true authenticity, from my gentle spirit. I kept questioning God. Why did you make me like this? Why did you place me in this body? It is flawed and imperfect and unacceptable in my eyes.

I had to eventually walk away. I continued getting ready in my bedroom, doing my make up by a compact mirror to avoid the temptation of inspecting my body viciously. If I had not left my reflection behind, I would have never made it to church. I would have been trapped for hours to come.

I managed somehow to get out the door but the thoughts still plagued me in the car. For what seemed like eternity I drove pulling at my clothes constantly, looking down over and over to see what I was up against, the mind drifting off to darkness into a place I hate in which to retreat. The thoughts to fix the issue come flooding in, calculating what I could do to make things more acceptable to my skewed vision and lie filled perception. My heart knows I will not act on anything. The time of giving in is behind me. But that does not mean the mind does not still try to win and get its way, attempts to take back control and bring destruction back into my life.

Exhaustion and anger cloaked me as I walked into church. I felt covered in darkness and hidden in hate but I could not let it show. Not because of anyone but because I do not like to expose that person to the world. My goal was to get through the service without my façade of contentment cracking. My goal was to just make it through in one piece. But God had other plans. God in the most glorious, beautiful way broke me down yesterday. He shone truth into my mind and obliterated the thoughts consuming me.

During the bible teaching, as we studied the book of Romans a verse was spoken that penetrated the heart.

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”-Romans 9:20

If that did not put me in my place as a child of God, as His creation, as His vessel, I do not know what would. Here I was all morning questioning God in what He made, demanding to know why He designed me this way, angry at His work. But who am I to do so? Where did I obtain such entitlement to not only question what He has done but to HATE what he made? Any ego I had vanished. Any pride I felt dissipated. I was humbled before God not in a demeaning, judgmental manner but in an empowering, grace filled way.

This verse relates to the commonly known biblical metaphor of the potter and the clay;

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.-Isaiah 64 8

A potter comes before his clay with an idea and brings it to life. What starts as a simple thought, with the investment of the time and care and attention, develops into a tangible work of art. With a passion and a joy, he molds and he transforms. From a vision, reality is born. The clay is the instrument for which the potter uses for its good. The potter’s hopes and talents and ability to be known rest in the clay for it becomes the pots in which he creates. The potter needs that pot for his works to be put on this earth, for his beauty and his gifts to be experienced. The pots are created to reach people, to serve people, to work in people’s lives. They are a symbol of the potter’s love. The potter needs the pot but never forget the pot needs the potter more.

So what is the pot of clay to ask its creator why?

You turn things upside down,
    as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
    “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter,
    “You know nothing”?-Isaiah 29:16

The pot would not even exist without the potter.  Yet I as the pot, instead of thanking my creator for placing me into this life, get angry at Him for how He made me. Should I not be giving my eternal gratitude for entrusting me with His word and His works to be on this earth working for His glory and being filled with His joy? And here I am cursing Him for what He did not even create!

The flaws I see are not even put there by Him but I take my aggression out on the creator. I blame Him for what is before me. You see I projected the cracks and the chips onto myself through the words and the opinions of what others said. I created what was not there. The pot was not born with destruction in mind. It was not birthed out of hate or pain. It was created in God’s perfect image, fearfully and wonderfully made. And this perfect pot made so beautifully suddenly was covered in mistakes because of what I chose to see in it and because of what lies I turned into truth. The painful reality is that to rid myself of the nonexistent cracks, I created real ones. There actually became something to see. Day by day I chipped and I cracked and I broke what my creator made just for me.

But this I know. God restores what is broken.

For I will restore Health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord…-Jeremiah 30:17

Ever stop to think that the potter who made you might also have the ability to bring you back to His original image? Ever stop to think He is not going to leave His creation cracked and hurting? He loves all His works and He has it within His infinite grace and mercy to love them all back to life.

God has a purpose matched with the design and shape of the pot. If I keep trying to change it and conform it to MY image, to MY idea of perfection then I am not only delaying but I am denying my calling. God has predestined a beautiful future for me, one overflowing with walking in his good works and with fulfilled promises He never breaks.

This is not my pot to destroy. This is not my pot to hate. This is not my pot to break. This is not my pot to question its creation. I may not yet love it, but I am willing to trust it. I trust what is to come, why it is mine, and what it will one day do. I trust my potter…

Hope, love, and blessings,

J.L.