I'm almost done with my first week on a new schedule at work. I'm on an evening shift so I'm not getting off until after 11 p.m. on weeknights. Adjusting has not been a smooth ride, as evident in my last post. I'm up too late some nights and up too early some mornings. Eating and sleeping patterns have are all over the place right now.
So I was really surprised when I was able to wake up this morning promptly at 8 a.m. without any problem. I got dressed and ready and even had a little extra time before I had to leave so I cracked open my Bible to the Book of Jeremiah.
I read a short portion starting in Chapter 18 where God sends the prophet Jeremiah down to the house of a potter for a "message" he wants to show him.
The illustration is pretty simple and Jeremiah picks up on it right away. The potter is working on a clay pot, molding and shaping it much as God wants to mold and shape His people. It's a fairly common analogy. Preachers have long been using it to illustrate sermons to convey God's ownership and our submission.
If you've ever had the opportunity to work with clay then you're familiar with the manner in which the clay is thrown down on the wheel and manipulated and worked into the desired shape. Maybe you've had the chance to sit at a pottery wheel in high school art class or you've at least seen it done. If not, then you can always Youtube it. To start, a lump of clay is slammed onto a wheel that's then kept spinning at a constant pace. With each revolution, the potter uses his hands to mold and shape the clay into the design in his mind.
It's a simple illustration of God as a potter so take it as you will. The part that stood out to me for today and this week was in thinking about the way that the clay spins and dries to eventually become the final form.
Spinning and drying. It's like a washing machine cycle - except not really at all.
The constant and even spinning reminds me of the passage of time, like earth's revolutions mark each day.
And that thought took me back to how crazy this week has been in terms of my schedule. Days and nights have been getting mixed up in my head and my body is still trying to adjust to a new sleep cycle.
I'm sure that eventually I'll settle into the swing of things but, with that, new patterns and habits will emerge. It's sort of like that drying process. New habits will set in place, like eating after midnight or having two cups of coffee in the morning. Or better choices like setting aside time for prayer and reflection or getting back to the gym. I have the opportunity right now to consciously make smarter choices when it comes to my habitual actions.
I think that's one thing to take away from the potter illustration. Whether it's submission to God or just listening to your own guiding principles that form and mold you over time, we have opportunities to make better choices when it comes to our habitual actions.
Anyway, it's just a thought.