If you were a piece of pottery, what would you be?
Here’s a 10-minute imaginative exercise (devotional, spiritual reading, meditation, whatever you’d like to call it) to help you connect with what the Potter is doing in your life right now. Whether your vessel is fully-formed, cracked, broken, spoiled, full, wide-mouthed, colorful, over-used, plain or very small… may you sense the Potter’s pleasure in forming you over and over again.
The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will announce My words to you.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.
Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
Picture yourself walking into a potter’s studio, just like Jeremiah did, and watching the potter artfully form the flexible clay in his hands. Hear the whirring of the wheel as it spins and the bubbling of the water as it absorbs into the clay. Consider the master potter’s muddy fingers, and the look on his face as he forms the piece into the creative idea he has already formed in his mind.
You are the piece of art in the Master’s hands. Consider what it’s like for the clay to feel the potter’s hands pressing in, lifting up, stretching wide, smoothing out… Can you see what your piece of pottery looks like? What’s its form and function?
Something doesn’t quite go as envisioned. The potter is pleased to start anew, as this is the normal creative process. What happens next? Continue to play out the scene in your mind’s eye as you identify with the piece of clay.
What do you sense is shaping you in your own life?
Is the Potter actively involved with your formation right now?
What do the Potter’s hands look like?
What does his face look like? What might He be thinking about as he forms you and reforms you?
Is He pleased in what He’s making? Are you?
Has there been a spoiling or breaking? Is the Potter upset by that? Is he thrown off guard?
Does he have a new piece in mind? Are you willing to remain in the center of the wheel, to stay pliable and muddy in his hands?
What does the Potter expect of the clay?
Is there anything you want Him to know about the spoiling?
Jot down any impressions you have in response to the questions or the experience unfolding in your imagination. If more questions arise, write those down too, and hold onto them. Observe the differences among the potter’s perspective, your perception of the potter’s perspective, and your own perspective.
(Feel free to stop here if you have been able to connect with your Master Potter through the reading and questions. For more overt encouragement from me, read on!)
I want to encourage you, friends, that the Lord really is tending to you today, as the potter tends to his clay. He knows if you’re too dry or too muddy. He knows the end from the beginning. He’s not afraid to start over if things don’t go the way He has in mind. Mistakes are not too big a deal for our God. It actually pleases Him to start over if that’s what’s needed.
He is shaping you, right now, in this season. His hand is upon you. He’s right here. He’s holding you close. He cares about the shape of your heart. He cares, He sees, He knows the shape of your life and how much you can hold and where your vulnerable places are and who you are feeding and what has broken you. He knows what your future holds, and what shape you’ll need to be for the next season.
Is there an area of your life where you feel pressure? Maybe there’s something in that pressure that’s actually from the Lord. Or at least long-term working out to be something that will form you into a new thing, that will change a part of you that hasn’t been working too well. Pressure isn’t always a bad thing. Could it mean that the Lord’s hand is upon you? Could the spoiling result in something even more beautiful?
If you are in the midst of starting over again, I hope you see that it is not failure. It is not the end. The Potter has not thrown up his hands in frustration. He hasn’t given up on you. He’s a patient artisan. Trying again is a normal part of the creative process! He’s always creating, always making things new, as it pleases Him to do.
I encourage you to remain flexible in the hands of your Potter. To keep your heart soft. To be okay with the mess. To yield to His will. To stay in the center of the wheel, or else things will feel way too wobbly. To embrace the pressures of life and look for what God might be doing in the midst of you. There is grace here in the potter’s hands. He is very near. He is well-pleased to be this close to you for this long, making and re-making you. We are all works in progress, and that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.