For Creation’s Sake
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
Breathe in. Deep and ragged.
The air feels dry and lifeless.
Dust swirls around and gathers inside these barren lungs.
Breathe out. Hollow again.
I am grit and sand and earth, barely held together. Formed from the dirt, and waiting obediently to return to the dirt again.
Waiting to be more than an ugly clay jar, echoing the breeze with cavernous, empty howls.
Waiting to be filled with greatness.
I gave up on making New Year’s resolutions a while ago. Probably around the time I realised that most of my goals were kind of petty, and that I never delivered on any of them come February. Instead, for the past few years, I have taken the dawning of the new year as an opportunity to draw my attention back to God, and to dedicate the year ahead to Him.
The conversation between us is always similar. I make a list of requests and promises that sounds something like this:
Please lead me.
Please let me be open to Your voice and direction.
Let me be a vessel for You.
And then, I sit and wait for him to make good on those prayers. For Him to just slip under my skin and walk me down the path of His choosing. Sometimes I feel like I have been waiting my whole life. Waiting to be certain of something, waiting for a sign, waiting for a direction, waiting to be someone. Waiting for God to pour meaning into my life and to reside within this empty vessel anduse everything I am to glorify Him.
But lately, something has changed within me, and changed so profoundly that I feel like I don’t even understand the girl I was before, let alone feel I can ever return to living her life.
Truth, real truth, has a way of making space; of cutting away the frills and filigree that we fill our lives with, until you can no longer hide from the things that truly matter, and the parts of you that are truly you.
Scattered moments of revelation over the past couple of years have collided in bursts of colour and adrenaline within me. Small but monumental truths have connected and fused together…
and something has aligned inside of me.
I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s as if a part of my truest self has finally rotated around to the right position and clicked into place, like some sort of combination lock on a safe. And inside I found a new truth, except it’s not new at all, it is as old as time itself.
I am loved.
You see, a thought suddenly occurred to me recently. I was spending time with my eldest daughter and she said something particularly sweet and hilarious. I felt the familiar swoon of parental love; a visceral, hungry love that sweeps you up in moments where it overwhelms you, leaves you astounded at the measure of it within you.
And wow…all the ways I adore that crazy girl! I know her through and through and yet a part of her will always remain a mystery to me, her wild heart as turbulent and unpredictable as the wind and waves. Every day I discover something new about the way she thinks and feels and sees the world, and I cherish every teeny little part of her.
If she came to me one day, in all her unique glory, and said to me “Mum, the only thing good about me is that you made me, and that you are a part of me. I am worthless without you.”, I would be heartbroken, and I will have failed her as a parent.
But that is exactly how I viewed myself in relation to God, and I have spoken those same words to my heavenly Father countless times, expecting Him to be pleased with my admission.
And were you pleased Lord? As I whispered those words with head respectfully bowed, did you feel respected?
Or did Your heart break too?
Perhaps we have heard the sentiment “You are loved” one too many times in church and the impact of those words has been blunted by familiarity. Or maybe we have created a self-deprecating culture as followers of Christ in our best attempt to humble ourselves to God, and express how deeply we need Him. But I think somewhere along the line, we have bought into a lie. We have forgotten who we are.
You were not created for creation’s sake. You are no accident.
You were created for a reason, and with intention, and with purpose.
You were created because He loves you.
You. The jar. The vessel itself. Not your capacity for God to dwell inside you.
He doesn’t look at you and sigh in adoration because He can sense His own presence within you.
He loves YOU, His precious child, for all the things that make you authentically you.
There may be a line that needs to be drawn somewhere between self-love and arrogance, but I think
we as a community of Christ followers have drawn that line dangerously close to ‘shame’.
The Divine breathed life into my form, and that breath resides in my inner most being every day. Iam fearfully and wonderfully made. When God looked over my newly created form He said “It is good.”
I am not just a clay jar.
I am not designed to sit still and hold stagnant water.
I am a river, flowing with and from The Source, with as much to give as I have to receive. An integral and powerful part of the body of Christ.
This feeling, this sense of alignment and deep resonating truth, I think this is it - the place where we most experience the presence of The Divine. When something within and without feels connected and centred, and you feel at home and at peace with who you authentically are, and how you fit into the world around you. When you can love mankind, as we were commanded to do, and include yourself among the masses.
For a moment, I glimpsed God’s face, and as He passed by, I saw Him looking at me the way I look at my children, delighting in all the ways He made me, smiling on as I discover myself, and discover His existence here within my making.
Looking at me as an artist looks upon his masterpiece; his work taking on a life and beauty of it’s own, forever connected yet separate to the hands of it’s maker. A wonder in itself.
You are loved.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" 1 John 3:1 NIV
- Amelia Isaac