The pottery wheel is basically a machine that can be used for shaping and molding rounded ceramics out of lumps of clay. Used correctly and with patience and care, beautiful masterpieces can emerge.
I feel like this pottery idea is a great metaphor for my life over the past year. If you read my blog, you know I’m all about making plans and reaching goals. But today, I’m thinking not only about how often my own life resembles a lump of of clay (in a good way), but also about how it has transformed, even in little ways, over the year.
With the holiday hustle happening all around, and the New Year’s Resolution season approaching, sometimes I tend to focus on my bad habits or things I want to change, which is a great way to learn and grow, but this year, I think I’ll pause first and take stock of my “wins”, before moving on ahead. It’s an exercise I definitely recommend!
1. DO THIS – BEFORE YOU MAKE YOUR NEXT RESOLUTION:
It’s your “awesome list”! Go ahead, make your list and check it twice. Write down all the things you’ve accomplished over the year, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Celebrate the small stuff. Did you cook more meals at home this year? Did you have a couple of good months where you really stuck to your budget? OK, maybe even ONE month? Did you spend quality time with your children? Did you start going back to church? Renew an old friendship? Learn a new skill? It may take some time, but if you really think, I bet you’ll come up with a lot.
2. NOW PLAN YOUR NEXT MOVE:
Einstein once said, “Nothing changes until something moves.” Now that you’ve analyzed where you’ve been and celebrated your accomplishments, you can focus on where you’ll go next, AND TAKE ACTION TO GET THERE. Choose a few items off your awesome list, and take the next step to move yourself forward. If the budget was NOT busted in the months of March and June, go check out your checkbook to see exactly what you did RIGHT in those months – then plan to do it again in 2013.
3. TAKE BABY STEPS:
Knowing that most resolutions fail by mid-January, what will you plan to do so that you have concrete action steps in place to reach success? Be as detailed as possible, start small, and WRITE IT DOWN. “I want to lose 10 pounds” generally doesn’t cut it. Instead, I bet “I will use (fill in the blank for your favorite smart phone app) to log my exercise and food daily, and connect with an accountability partner once a week for 60 days” will make your success a lot more likely.
4. RENEW YOUR WHY:
Do you have a strong enough vision? WHY do you want to get out of debt? WHY do you want to bury the hatchet with your neighbor and make peace? WHY do you want to quit your job? The reasons may be deeper than you think, so take a long time on this step and get down and dirty to the root of your why. The more emotional the connection, the likelier you will be to mold that piece of clay into a masterpiece that resembles the vision you have in your head and heart.
THE POTTER’S HAND:
The potter rotates his wheel, adds water, more clay, trims the excess, and applies just the right amount of pressure to shape his creation into a work of art. Sometimes he doesn’t like what he’s done and he squashes the clay back into a lump and starts again.
Isn’t it great that we are free to make our own choices, make mistakes, and then start again? This year, when you make your resolutions, be kind to yourself, yet be real. Have a vision, take steps to create it for yourself, enjoy the journey, celebrate the small victories, and go get it!
JEREMIAH 18:6 “As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand.”