Tuesday, June 27, 2006

lessons from playdough and new/old friends

I have a new friend. Well, really, she is an old friend… Actually, she is my sister’s friend. Anyway, the phone rang one night and this new/old/sister’s friend and I began talking, and kept talking. What started as an unintentional conversation is now recognizable as the grace of God in the lives of two young women that He deeply loves.

This new/old friend and I were talking the other day about the things that God is doing in our lives. As we were sharing our feeble and insecure attempts to “figure out” God (haha, that sounds so absurd in hindsight), I commented on my realization that sometimes I am guilty of taking my plans (in all of their logicality and reasonableness), shoving them recklessly into a mold of my own choosing, slapping some Jesus-colored paint on there, and calling it “God’s will.”

The image that ran through my mind was of a child with one of those devices where you put playdough inside, crank a little handle, and out comes the mushy concoction, now in the form of “spaghetti,” or some other creative pattern. Have you ever watched a child play with one of those? It’s a riot. They get such a kick out of taking a lump of something absolutely formless, and proudly creating it—all by themselves—into something recognizable and useful.

You see, there is only so much I can do with the lump of mushiness that is my life. And sometimes I get impatient and attempt to form from it things that only God can ordain. I pick a mold that I find logical, pour my heart and soul into it, pray dutifully while I’m turning the handle, and expect God’s best to be what is cranked out on the other side.

The problem here is not the clay, not the mold I have chosen, and not the turning of the handle. It has its origin in my own discontent with the lump of clay that I began with. It is rooted in a misunderstanding of the person of God and His irrevocable plan for my life. And from such a root grows fear and an intolerance for waiting. I am a block of clay impatiently longing to be a monument.

One thing I have learned from this new/old friendship is that some of the most monumental things take form when no one is trying to create them. There is no formula, no mold. Just the simple hand of God, who has shown two young women His grace in eachother.

As for my own devises… I think I’ll stick to playdough.


Oz said...

I think some times my problem is just being discontent with being clay in the first place.

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