I’ve always wanted to take a pottery class, and a couple of months ago I finally did (thanks to my word for 2019, NEW). Since coffee is one favorite things in the world I decided to make a coffee mug. The instructor shared handles are only made in more advance classes so it would really be more of a cup. But I still had high hopes for my soon to be mug and all the coffee I would drink in it!
But creating something functional and attractive from a pile of clay is a lot harder than it looks! I spun and molded and worked really hard to create the best piece I could. Then it was taken to the kiln. Two weeks later it was ready to be glazed. I returned the shop and painted my colorless little cup. Then another two weeks later I came back to pick it up. I was so excited! I pictured myself sitting on my porch in the early morning sipping coffee from my mug, remembering all that I had poured into it to make this special piece. But when I saw my finished piece it was NOT what I had imagined, at all. It didn’t look like a beautiful mug, but more like something a 5 year old made at arts and crafts camp. It was lumpy, bumpy and so small I would need to refill it a dozen times to get my normal cup of coffee. I was also picking up my friend’s piece for her. When I saw that her finished piece (a small bowl) was gorgeous and looked like something you would buy at a fancy boutique it made my mug-cup-thingy seem like even more of a #majorfail. As I walked out holding the 2 pieces disappointment hit me and I felt like it was all a total waste of time. I didn’t even know what I would do with this oddly shaped object once I got it home.
Later that day I had a thought; I am actually a lot like my little misshapen mug. I too have a lot of imperfections and my life doesn’t look like I thought it would at this point. As I looked at my creation I felt that I needed to be kinder to it, and to myself. Instead of focusing on its imperfections and what it can’t do, I began to look for its beauty and what it can do; and the same goes for myself. I also stopped comparing it to my friend’s piece, one wasn’t better than the other they were just different. The same is true when I compare my life to other’s. Their lives aren’t better than mine; they are just different, and that’s OK.
When I started to look at the piece in this new light I found new beauty and purpose in it. I actually came to love my little creation, imperfections and all. I found the perfect place and purpose for it in my home, as a vase with a pretty flower to brighten up my living room. When I look at it now I am reminded to show myself more compassion and that maybe (just like my coffee mug turned flower vase) there is a purpose for my life too, something different that I ever expected. If my piece would have turned out perfectly I would have never had the opportunity to come to these beautiful realizations. And the same is true for life. The imperfections and challenges shed light so that we can see what God wants to teach us and His plan for our lives. My imperfect little cup (and life) can still be perfectly beautiful all at the same time. And so can yours.
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 ESV
Until next time, let’s live bright!