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A Work Of Art

In theology yesterday, the professor said something interesting. She told us about a sister who had been told to go get a master's degree, but didn't enjoy studying. The nun decided that if she had to get this degree, she was going to take one fun class. She took ceramics and every Wednesday night, she'd go happily to that class. She said that that class was her way of doing theology.

One day, this sister came back, covered in mud from her work with the clay. On this particular night she said something interesting. "The Creator shapes the pot from inside," she told our professor.

This story has created in me a need for reflection. I took a ceramics course in tenth grade. Unexpectedly, it was one of the harder courses I've taken; I was not good at it at all, but I learned a few things about clay. What she says is true. The pressure from inside is what makes the pot and gives its shape, but without the proper support system on the outside, the pot would be nothing but a flat piece of clay with tears in it.

These truths aren't just true in pottery with clay. We have a great Potter who is shaping us. We are vessels of clay, learning and growing into a relationship with God. I've started to see how this pressure is applied in my own and others' lives. Sometimes, it's applied in the form of the pain I experience daily, a really bad flare up, a hard test, a bad route with Julio, a paper I can't understand or a dark night when I feel worthless and alone. These things all shape me, they are pressures.

Pressures are painful, but they bring changes. These things force me to examine prioities, stay in touch with God and find new ways of support. God, like a good potter, knows everything about me. A good potter can tell how the clay is responding to her touch. The potter modifies the pressure accordingly.

God is much like that. He is hollowing us out, making more room for Himself. He applies the right amount of pressure to make us grow, but provides the right amount of support to keep us upright. When, like this week, I am stressed out, nervous and in pain, I can remember who is in control. Then, when I do this, I can focus on the empty spot in me and invite God into my heart and share more fully in what He has for me.

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