I was told yesterday that I apparently like to tease people by starting a blog, posting one post, and then never coming back to it. I admit, I have done this several times. But only because I don’t make time to write the blog posts! And then I eventually get super inspired, but feel that it’s best to start from scratch.

Have no fear, I still plan to post on this blog. 

I have had a thought ruminating in my head for quite some time. However, I hesitated making a blog post about it because it’s something that I have not entirely mastered. But perhaps that is why I must write about it.

The topic is centering. I have been taking a ceramics class this semester and I learned a lot about clay and pottery. I didn’t even like touching clay before I took that class! But with every project, I was challenged. After a lot of work, I was successful with every piece. The final project was wheel throwing. The hardest one. It was all about technique and I had never used a potters wheel before. 

The most important thing to know about wheel throwing is centering. If your clay is not centered, then you’re in trouble. You will fail. Your bowl or pot or whatever you’re attempting to make will not look right. It takes so much strength to center the clay. I have thrown my ball of clay onto the wheel, started spinning the wheel, attempted to control it, and then watched it fly of the wheel. Many times I have shouted “What just happened?!” 

The muscles in your arms get sore. Your hands stiffen up. Your elbows dig into your thighs. Your skin scrapes against the spinning wheel. All of this while you apply the perfect amount of pressure on this little lump of clay. It is finally centered and you are scared to touch it again because it can be un-centered so easily. But a lump of clay is not a bowl. It still needs to be formed. Slow and steady wins the race. But not too slow because then the clay will get too wet. And not too fast because then it will be uneven. At this point, if it gets off center… you pretty much have to give up.

One day, while I was trying to center a lump of clay, I was thinking about how bad I was at centering. It’s frustrating because it’s the most important part. If it’s not centered, then the entire piece falls apart. Then it hit me. There are times in my life when I feel like my world is falling apart. I do this thing that I call spiraling. It’s when I start thinking all of these negative and anxious thoughts. One after the other. It’s not much fun. But I realize that it can be fixed. I need to center my life. Center my thought life. There’s a song that we sing in church that says “Jesus, be the center of my life.” He’s the one that will steady my heart.

It’s just like with wheel throwing. When I’m spiraling or feeling like my life is going out of control, I need to center myself. It might take some pressure and it might seem slow-going. I think it will take practice too. 

Philippians 4:4-9 gives pretty good instructions on how to center my lump of life.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

So I’m still learning to center. Both on the wheel and in life. But thankfully, I have Jesus and awesome people who help me along the way. And big thanks to the classmates in ceramics who gave me advice on centering and trimming and all that other clay stuff! I ended up making an A in the class! Woo-hoo!! 🙂

I have been thinking about starting this blog for quite awhile now. I have had many ideas and inspirations for blog posts, but just never got around to it. Today is the day.

As I was packing my lunch this morning, I passed by my mother who was playing Candy Crush on her new phone. She has been stuck on level 23 for days now and could not understand why she couldn’t beat it! As I walked by, I overheard her say “Aww man! I wish there was an undo button!”

Me too. I mean, there are so many times that I move the wrong piece of candy and miss an opportunity to have five in a row and get that awesome multicolored piece of candy! You know?!?

Well, maybe you don’t play Candy Crush, but we all have moments in our lives where we wish we could hit that undo button. “I shouldn’t ‘ave said that! I shouldn’t ‘ave said that!” You know exactly what I’m talking about. We all make mistakes that we wish we could undo.

As an artist, I make mistakes and can easily ruin my artwork. Maybe I’ll be painting and accidentally drop some paint on the canvas. Or somebody else drops some paint on my canvas! Somehow or another, it gets messed up. In art school, they tell you that there should be a reason for everything. If there is a random blue dot on your painting, then you better have an excuse for it!

So when you get that random glob of paint on your artwork, all you can do is turn it into something! I’ve worked with art teachers who won’t let their students use an eraser. They have to learn how to use their mistakes! You rearrange your plans and create something even more beautiful! Your mind can go in new directions because that horrible glob of paint has become an opportunity. An opportunity to paint something greater than you originally planned.

I think it is the same in life. There will be times in which we mess up or bad things happen to us. There will be days in which we struggle and wonder if we will ever get to the next level. But I know that my God is the Author of life and the Creator of all. In Genesis, a guy named Joseph goes through some tough times. Sold into slavery by his own brothers! Thrown into prison! Yet through a series of unfortunate (and fortunate!) events, he becomes a leader in Egypt where he saves the lives of many people. He says to his brothers that even though they had intended to harm him and planned evil against him, God had planned for good to come out of it.

So maybe your life seems pretty messy and you’ve got a giant glob of icky paint smeared across your painting. Give it to God. Let Him hold the paintbrush. Watch Him work in your life. When you hand Him that painting He will turn that mess into something beautiful.