In society today, we believe in being flawless. We are always striving for perfection and setting unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others so that it fits in our "flawless" box. Living in a time of photoshop, airbrushing, filters, and social media we believe that everything someone posts is truth, and that they “really look like that” when the reality is very different. Society tells us that if we don't like something about our body then we can have it sculpted and shaped by surgery. There is nothing that can't be fixed to look just the way it should in our perfect little world where everyone lives in harmony and has white picket fences. Countless amounts of money are spent on fashion, fad diets, cosmetics, and surgery to create the perfect "you". This is exhausting, time consuming, and expensive when you think about it. I have too fallen into this trap of wanting to "fix" some of the problems with my body. I desire to be beautiful and look stunning forever. We all want the perfect picture, the one that will generate leads for business, and cause us to be an internet sensation. I purposely selected the above pictures because there are those that are professionally done, but in the middle is the picture that shows the flaws. No makeup, no filters, just me.
What if I told you that you that you didn't have to do any of those things to be perfectly you? I know you think that is insane and completely foolish. I mean after all we know it really takes the 100 pictures to get the 1 good shot that makes everyone believe our lives are perfect. What if, just what if, you didn't have to worry about the perfection and flawlessness? What if you could be fabulous, flaws and all? Wow, did that relieve a lot of stress off your shoulders just then? Well do I have great news for you. Are you ready? God created you perfectly imperfect and caused your flaws to make you fabulous. Before you stop reading just hear me out a little bit. I know this blog is more on the life and not business side, but it really does apply to all that we do in our lives. The way God created you, the things God provided for you are perfect. You don't have to change a thing!
When you take a look in the mirror and see the person staring back at you, I want you to understand that you're perfectly made in the image of God, flaws and all. I know that allows you to take a deep sigh, and relax even if it is just for a moment. In no way do I believe that after a few sentences in my blog that your mindset will be renewed, and you will stop seeking perfection or being flawless, but I do want you to realize, that even in our flaws, we are fabulous. I want to take you on a journey, so if you will go with me, together we will learn why there are situations that we go through that cause pain, and scars. What is the importance of flaws and how they make us fabulous!
The journey begins with the prophet Jeremiah that was told to go down to the potters house and there God would share some information with him. So Jeremiah walks on down to the potter's house and stands at the door watching the potter work at the wheel creating a vessel.
During this visit God reveals to Jeremiah that just like the clay is in the potter's hands, so Israel is in God's hand. The interesting thing about this is that as Jeremiah is watching this he realized that the clay was marred in the hand of the potter. So the potter made it again into another vessel.
The full story can be found in Jeremiah 18:1-6. This is my paraphrase. I want you to consider 3 key things about this story the clay, the wheel, and the potter.
1. The Clay What attributes does clay have? I know it is difficult to think of any because you are looking at a “MESS” it’s dirty! It’s nothing more than an useless glob of dirt and water. I'm reminded of the scripture that says, “6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:6-7) So if you didn’t catch it, let me explain, God took dirt, and wet it with some water, and formed man. When we think about the blob of clay that is us in our rarest form. Now women, we were not formed in this manner, however there are some characteristics of the clay we need to be mindful of because while we were not formed by God the way men were, we are still part of his flesh which was created from the dirt.
The clay is lifeless, shapeless, ugly, dirty, messy, helpless, and hopeless. Without the Potter and the process, it will never become anything of value; it will be a form of matter taking up space. When a potter takes the clay in his hands, he already has insight as to what he wants to create. He doesn’t just take a piece of clay and say well, I’m not sure what I’m going to make but let’s see. No, he has vision, he has a specific direction, he has a need and a purpose for the vessel he will create with this clay. This is what God does with us. In the scripture he references himself as the potter of our lives, that he can decide and create whatever he wants to out of that clay. God had a purpose in mind, when he began to put you the lump of clay on the potter’s wheel. He said I need someone that will look at the imperfections of people like I do and see the value they have inside. God actually told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”(Jeremiah 1:5) This tells me that before I was created and formed in my mother’s womb, God knew the purpose and plan he had for my life; although I looked like a lump of clay with no life, no potential, dirty, and messy.
The clay until it is mixed with water is hard. A potter is unable to use the clay for anything without adding the water. The water creates a mixture that allows the clay to be softened, the more water you add through the process the easier it is to mold that clay into the vessel you want it to be. If the potter’s hands are dry, and he takes the softened clay, it will only be pliable for a short period of time, because it will begin to harden again. So, the potter must continually keep his hands wet, and sprinkle water to keep the vessel moist while he is sculpting and creating the vessel. This is exactly how we are in the hands of God. He will sprinkle us with the water of the Holy Spirit (conviction) to begin to soften our hearts; he may use situations and trials that cause us to weep and cry to moisten our hearts so that they can become tender. The situations that you have endured are for a reason and sometimes you had to go through something because you were too stubborn, and God had to make you pliable. You had to be teachable. He had to mold you a bit more.
2. The Wheel
The wheel is the tool used to create the masterpiece. Have you ever taken clay or play doh and tried to create a bowl, or vase? It isn't easy and it comes out lumpy and you could probably use it, but it isn't a nice as the pottery you get from a professional. That is because the tools used by the professional are different and are designed to make the process easier and smoother. To create a useful vessel the potter starts molding the clay on the potter’s wheel. I’m going to call it the Wailing Wheel of Purpose. The reason I’m calling it that is because as this clay is on the wheel it is being molded and shaped. It is being formed. The process may seem effortlessly but as the potter works with the clay his heavy hands are softly molding the clay, they are shaping the clay. That can be painful. I’m sure if the clay could talk, it would not always be happy about this new process.
How many of you have looked in the mirror and not liked the person looking back at you? You say, I’m going to lose 10 lbs. Now the result will be great, but the process is painful. You must change some things about what you put into your body, you must work out more, and you have to do things that are not comfortable to you. That is all part of the process. That is what happens on the wailing wheel of purpose. As we confide in God, and ask him to shape us, to create in us a clean heart, asking him to make us “more like Him” it is a painful process because it goes against our flesh, our sin nature. The result will be victory, beauty, and blessings, but the process is very painful and at times it seems hopeless. The potter’s wheel is designed to sharpen your character, to build the fruit of the spirit in your life, to design and create you into the person God has always seen you as before you were formed in your mother’s womb. So as the potter has you on the wheel, and is shaping and molding you, remember it’s designed to be uncomfortable, but the result will be worth the pain.
3. The Potter The potter has vision, he has a plan, and he knows what he is doing. He is a craftsman; he is not a novice but has perfected his craft. He works diligently to produce what he sees. He works with his hands. He is creative; he takes nothing and creates works of art. He has all power and authority over the clay. God is all powerful, sovereign; He is all knowing and has full authority! The clay in the hands of the potter can’t tell the potter what it wants to be, it can’t see beyond its current state and condition. It takes the potter, molding it, shaping it, for the clay to realize that there is value and more potential in it than a glob of nothingness. That is how we are in the hands of God, we don’t ever see our potential and feel hopeless and helpless until Jesus steps in our lives and begins to remove the sin and starts to cut back the weeds of sin and destruction in our lives. It is a huge process that we go through as we commit our lives to Christ. We are saying not our will, but your will be done. Take me and create me into the version of the person you designed me to be. One thing that really stuck out to me about the potter in the story was that the vessel was marred in the potter’s hands.
There are going to be times in our lives that we are on the potter’s wheel and the flaw will come because God allows it to. There are times that we are flawed because of our own decisions, mistakes, and situations that we have allowed. Then there are times we have an experience like Job, where God knows the strength, he has built in us, and the character he created that he says, “Have you considered my servant Job” That is what I’m reminded of when it says that the vessel was marred in the hands of the potter. Then the potter started over and re-created it again. Isn’t it nice to know regardless of how we are flawed, the flaw in us, that God is still sitting at the potter’s wheel working and creating us into a useful vessel; one that can be used to bring Him glory?
Take a deep breathe, and exhale. All of this, there is hope you are flawed but FABULOUS! Your flaws remind you of the process of life. Everything is a lesson learned, and a trial to triumph! You are fabulously flawed! While the flaws come from many different aspects, you are still being molded and formed. Irrespective of the reasons why, you are still fabulous and a piece of art in the potter's hand. You are perfectly imperfect and flawed but fabulous! Walk in the strength of knowing that your setbacks are set ups for your next level. Remember, that for every perfect picture on social media it took 100 shots. Don't compare yourself to others and remember that you are fabulous! Hold your head up and embrace your difference, and uniqueness. Knowing that the potter is still at the wheel creating. You can change habits and lifestyles in order to become a better version of you.