September 15, 2020
We Are Imperfect...And Perfectly Loved
We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand (Isaiah 64:8, NIV).
Friend to Friend
I walk through the door of a room that smells of earth and dirt. The table is rectangular, surrounded by a rainbow of small chairs. My daughter and I are decades ahead of our fellow participants in this clay class. The others are pig-tailed and freckled, dark-headed and clad in neon tennis shoes. “Did you know it would be like this?” she asks. “Nope,” I reply. We grin.
I signed up for this class as part of my resolution to be a tourist in my hometown years ago, long before Covid-19 and social distancing. I wanted to do things I never had before. I’d pictured fellow adults around me, a serious and substantial exercise. Instead, it’s like art class in elementary school. Already the table is messy. Already it’s clear I’m not among Picassos or Monets. I’m delighted and relieved.
We sit and the instructor points to a block of gray in front of us. “This is your clay. Today we are going to shape it into hearts.” We trace outlines on the surface with a thin stick, then dig deep. All that is not necessary or useful is stripped away. We hold the hearts in our hands, and their cool, still surfaces grow warm and alive beneath our touch.
“Now you can design them however you’d like,” the teacher says. This work is intimate and personal. There is no mass production. No uniformity or conformity. It would be impossible to replicate one of these.
If we ever wonder if God wants us to be like someone else, ever worry He’s disinterested in the details of our lives, ever fret He’s after machine-like perfection with us, then all we need to remember is that He is a Potter.
I need to know this as introvert who has sometimes questioned who God created her to be. As a bestselling author and life coach who has now spent years studying introversion, I now understand we’re created to be introverts and extroverts, both with incredible gifts and potential. Who we are is wired into our brains and nervous systems with great intention and care.
In the class that day, we shape, then paint. But before this comes a disclaimer from the instructor: “When the clay goes through the fire, it will come out white.” This is beautiful and familiar to me, the way trials bring out something unexpectedly lovely and strong in us.
And I come to understand, too, this clay has but one role: to yield itself to my care. It has nothing to worry about, to fear, to strive for as long as it remains in my hands.
We are dirt and we are the crafts of divinity. We are dust and delight. We are in progress and already perfectly loved.
At the end of the class, I look at the places where those plain gray slabs had been. Each one now holds a new creation. Some thick-skinned. Others delicate. Pink and yellow and blue. Some decorated with ponies and others looking suspiciously like pizza slices. None of them are museum- or art-gallery worthy. But they all have this in common: each reflects their maker in some way.
And I realize, suddenly, this was always the whole purpose, the entire point. To display the vision of the Artist is what success looks like for clay. We, as introverts and extroverts, are just the same way.
God, Your love is so far beyond our understanding. Even if we can’t fully comprehend it please help us to receive it, embrace it, believe it with all our hearts. You are the One who created us. You have a good plan for our lives. You alone have determined our identity and destiny. We are unconditionally, fully loved by You.
Now It’s Your Turn
None of us are 100% introvert or extrovert. You can take Holley’s free one-minute “What % Introvert Are You?” quiz to reveal the introvert in you now!
More from the Girlfriends
Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal who loves empowering people to become all God created them to be. Her newest release is, The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You. Bestselling author Ann Voskamp described it as, “Practical, researched, and profoundly helpful.” If you’re an introvert or you love, lead, or share life with one then you need this book today!