Before anyone gets upset with me for not posting more about my trip to Israel, let me say that I apologize and I will add pictures and more information when I feel like it. Haha…that wasn’t very warm and fuzzy, was it? Oh well… But tonight I have something on my mind that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about and I think I need to write it down and share it if I hope to fall asleep tonight.
There has been a lot of
interesting disconcerting media coverage on various things that have happened to some select members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are unhappy with the way different issues are handled within the organization; namely, these issues are women holding the priesthood and the level of I’ll use the word acceptance of people who have same gender attraction. I’m not going to argue one side over the other though I do know where my heart lies on the issues. I will, however, share something that came to my mind at Institute (a type of Bible study group/class) tonight.
The question was asked, “Can we deepen our souls?” and was followed by, “If so, how can we deepen our souls?” People talk about the word of God sinking deep into their soul, so I would guess that means our souls can have “depth.” I’m not sure how to explain that measurement, perhaps it’s better to describe it as your faith in something or your testimony of something. Given the scriptures we were reading I decided that it was possible and that it would require a strong desire and action on the part of the person striving to “deepen” their soul.
So here’s what came to me…
I think it has been said that God is the potter and will shape us as clay, fire us, and so forth in order to guide us into the person we could be, but I think this analogy can and should be used in another way.
When a potter first sits down to the wheel they will usually have a fairly round lump of clay that has already been prepared, kneaded, to rid it of air or impurities.
Next the potter starts the wheel and shapes the lump into something more manageable and hopefully more symmetrical.
Once the circumference for the base is established, which would largely depend on the desired shape of the piece, the potter starts to apply pressure. First with one thumb most likely.
Eventually, the potter will use more pressure and more of the hands to shape the piece. Fingers will pull the walls apart, guide them up, and even draw the top to a close.
After some time, the piece will have new shape an will, hopefully, reflect the potters design. It will be a product of their time, their skill, and their actions.
But what happens if the lump is not in the center of the wheel? What if the potter didn’t prepare the clay before placing it on the wheel? What if the potter tries to go too fast or is not methodical about the movement of their hand? Well, then you run into problems. The walls might become weak or thin and collapse. The shape might become uneven.
When the potter is ready to remove the piece, they use wire to cut the clay from the wheel. But they have to be careful not to cut too high and make sure they left enough clay on the bottom so there isn’t a hole in the bottom when it’s removed from the wheel.
Each piece can look very different.
The potter might decide to add more height by adding coils to the rim or maybe even to to the base of the piece.
Maybe the potter adds designs…they could carve into, add on more clay or other ornamentation, cut pieces out entirely, and add color to the piece.
We are like the potter. We can choose to apply pressure and create something wonderful. As we build our faith, our testimonies, our relationship with God and those around us, we are striving to reach a certain goal. We have an outcome in mind and we have all the materials that we need to get there. At times we will need to move slowly, plan, and adjust so that we can come closer to our final product successfully. We must make sure that we build and develop on a foundation that will not break or be easily destroyed if and when we are ready to progress and add the finishing touches. We must have focused patience and steady hands with the end result constantly in mind so that we can continue to create, add on and embellish, strengthen, and create a lasting product: an unshakable faith; a testimony of truth, of an unchanging, yet loving God who forgives sin freely while never condoning or excusing it.
That is part of my testimony. That my Father in Heaven has given me the material and the instructions on how I should create my masterpiece, but it is up to me to prepare those materials, follow those instructions, strive to be patient and diligent, strengthen and build onto those materials with a result in mind. It is okay if my work looks different from those around me, but I need to put effort into it. And lastly, I need to share my work with others, put it on display so that those around me can see and feel how much work I put into it and how much it means to me.