The Lord said: You have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clan doesn’t ask, “Why did you make me this way? Where are the handles?” Children don’t have the right to demand of their parents, “What have you done to make us what we are?”

Isaiah 45:9-10
The Lord told me, “Go to the pottery shop, and when you get there, I will tell you what to say to the people.” I went there and saw the potter making clay pots on his pottery wheel. And whenever the clay would not take the shape he wanted, he would change his mind and form it into some other shape.
Jeremiah 18:1-4
These passages really resonated with me, and they have made me consider how I am a clay pot, shaped by a Potter. I may not know what He has in mind for me, or what purpose he has in making me the way I am. I may not understand the shape He’s trying to make me, and so my stretching and striving has a purpose: to be the shape I want to be, to better understand just what’s going on.

I don’t make it easy for the Potter to shape me into the pot I’m intended to be, because I am always struggling, even when I think I’m just trying to cooperate. “And whenever the clay would not take the shape he wanted, he would change his mind and form it into some other shape.” Jeremiah gives me great hope for my many failings, for my many willful tendencies, because they can be used by the Potter, and he can, of course, make me into a shape that is good, that is right, that is intended. So I insisted on following Path B, even though Path A was obviously (looking back) the way I should have gone. Well, OK, then, Sarah. You will be a slightly oblong pot, instead of a perfectly round one.

The Potter can adjust. The Potter gives us free will to make our choices, and they make not be what He wants or intends. That’s OK. He can still work with us. We are still His clay.

The passage from Isaiah, and especially the line about being “merely a clay pot shaped by a potter,” keeps me from feeling too confident about my own “good sense” about just what shape I should be. So I think I should be X? Well, interesting idea, Sarah. But it’s quite possible that you will only be influenced by X, not a whole person of X. It’s probable that you will, instead, be Person YZ, with traits of X, and a smattering of AB with some CD for good measure.

The Potter continues to nudge and mold, nudge and mold. The Potter has infinite patience, and can sit at the wheel all day, waiting for me to cooperate.