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!! 🙂