Inspired by the verse in Isaiah 64 that says, “I am the Potter, you are the clay”, I recently did a teaching for the women’s group at my church. Not knowing much about pottery myself, I ventured out and became a student of a local potter. With camera, pen and paper in hand I headed out to record information that I could pass on to the women.
Little did I know how transformational that information was going to be for my own heart.
I thought I would share what I learned since it has come up in a lot of conversations since the gathering.
Pottery needs to be fired in an oven (kiln) for a specific amount of time. That made me think about the many times I have gone through seasons in my life where the “heat was turned up”. Times when things were challenging on the outside while God was shaping and molding me on the inside. Preparing me for the tasks that He planned in advance for me to do. (Eph. 2:10) The Pug Mill. Sometimes pieces didn’t dry properly or were warped or dented during the drying process. So the potter would put it into the Pug Mill with some water turning it back into a usable form of clay. So as to re-purpose the clay. I have certainly experienced that more times than I can count. However, I didn’t always see those situations as a way of God re-purposing me. In the moment I regarded those seasons as a time of shutting down my dreams or leading me in another direction. I’m not suggesting He doesn’t do that, in retrospect I think they were more specific to my re-purposing. (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Has God taken you back a few steps in your journey and you are wondering why?
Intentional vs Accidental. The potter said to me, “marks are good but they need to be intentional in order to be appreciated”. So many times in our lives we go along accepting God’s “marks” in our lives in an accidental way. Perhaps in the form of a post on FaceBook or a sermon that has “perfect timing”. I am not criticizing social media, it can be a great tool of support and encouragment for many of us when used appropriately, but so many people use social media to “hear from the LORD” and take little or no time to intentionally hear from His Word. I realized at this point in my learning about potter that the Holy Spirit had made some intentional marks on my heart….tattoos, if you will. Character traits that He put in my life during the many storms I traveled through over the years. It was as though Matthew 6:33 has been permanently burned into me as one of His marks. It says, “seek first the kingdom of God….”. During those storms if I had solely relied on catching the newest poster on FaceBook or scriptural quote on Twitter as a reminder of God hearing my cries and prayers, not only would I be frayed and weathered at my edges but I would also not have a strong foundation to stand on when the bigger storms came. I was intentional about cultivating an intimate relationship with the LORD in order to truly “overcome” in those storms and the ones looming on the horizon.
Centrifugal Force. When a piece of clay has been thrown down on a wheel and the wheel is spinning, if the potter doesn’t keep a good grip on it with the right amount of pressure, the centrifugal force will pull it farther out and make it unmanageable. In our lives, that force shows up as the world, the flesh and the devil. They pull us out into different directions and away from the Hands of The Potter. Over time, we believe that those centrifugal forces are stronger than God’s Hand in our lives. A lie that the enemy crafted from the day he was created. (Ephesians 6) Keeping the clay centered is key. When the clay is centered on the wheel, not only does it have a better chance of being shaped into what the potter has hoped it would be but the potter has control of the clay. How do you center yourself? Who is in control of your life? I can’t stress enough how undivided time with the LORD and His Word need to be non-negotiable for us to get centered. I want to be in the center of God’s will and I want His Word and His Power to be the center of my life. Are you a person who likes to “dig in their heels?” Well, then dig your heels into God’s Word and hold on to the Cross and by His strength you will be immovable, especially when the strong winds come. And they will!!!
Keep your eyes on the hands not the clay. If you keep your eyes on the clay then you can’t appreciate how much pressure you need with your hands. Since we are the clay and the LORD is The Potter, then we need to learn to keep our eye on His Hands in our lives and not on how we are shaping up. Allow yourself to lean into His Hands as He is shaping you. Don’t look at yourself as a finished product because then it might hurt when He has to apply a little more pressure than usual. We are never too old to be shaped.
Timing is everything. Every step in pottery is timed according to the needs of the piece. The clay the author used was prepackaged and came with instructions for timing certain steps. For our lives we have an instruction manual that helps us along in understanding the timing of our situations. The Holy Bible. I am sure I am not alone on this one but I have struggled with patience over the years and with God’s help and the reminder that “God’s got it!!” I press on and have learned to wait on Him. His timing is perfect but mine—not so much!! God is the Author and Perfecter of our faith and in His time all things are made perfect.
So how about you?
Are you in a “kiln” and feeling like you are over-heating?
What is God teaching you?
Has this journey you are traveling become more about you and your needs and less about the God who is creating you with His loving hands?
Where are your eyes?
What kind of impact is the world, your flesh and the devil making in your life?
Thank you for joining me on The Potter’s wheel.