Body & Soul: Planning in the Potter’s Hands
by Theresa Rowe
Planning is very important to me. Whether the family meal or a dinner party for fifty, every part of the process is written down. Like a lot of people my planning process has evolved with maturity, which is a nice way to say, “I have learned through my mistakes.” I still misplace my grocery lists and other times, fail to check all the items off the list, but that doesn’t keep me from making the list. I believe success is planted in the planning.
But like Webster’s, success has as many meanings as people asked. Proverbs 16:3-4 says “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” The simple translation; Successful works can best be realized when all planning is run through the Potter’s hands. He will give you the plan of action that will result in a success for His kingdom. In contrast, planning outside His will, on our own, can alter the success He has planned, even when we are doing good things. God does not bless disobedience. This brings to mind an experience I had a few years ago.
Five years ago God began to stir my soul. I became restless and sensed the Lord taking me in a different direction. Naturally, I attempted to figure things out in my own power but I didn’t have a clue. I began to pray specifically for God to reveal how I should pray. I would simply close my eyes and visualize God standing in front of me. As I worshipped, He drew closer to me and I drew closer to Him. God answered my prayers and revealed His plan and purpose. I waited for His timing.
To make a long story short, within a year of continued prayer about the stirring, I resigned my position at the YMCA and accepted the faith based fitness coordinator position at Owensboro Christian Church. But God wasn’t finished. I also resigned from several committees and boards, within the community, and gave up my television hosting position with OCTC. It wasn’t easy to give up things that I loved, but I must be obedient to God. The thing is I never really asked God if I should be doing all those things. Although the organizations contribute wonderfully to the community, I was serving for reasons other than the glory of God.
The last five years have brought abundant blessings in my life and a good deal of shaping and re-shaping to this vessel. Occasionally the going gets tough and I start the “This isn’t fair or what about me” selfishness but He is faithful in my pain. His molding and refining is painful to the flesh but when we are in His hands, He soothes the spirit. Isaiah 64:8 tells us, “We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” We must remember that WE are the clay and by allowing God to re-shape our lives, we place the proper emphasis on Him.
My advice is to ALWAYS pray and ask God what His will is for your life. I know the enemy uses what is good to distract us from God’s ultimate plan and purpose. If the enemy can distract us with something good, then he can come in and really make a mess of things, all in the name of Jesus. Better to be in continued prayer and off committees, than doing busy work, thinking its God’s work. Sometimes we must step down in order to move forward.
Recently I felt the familiar stirring and thought “OK God, hopefully I have learned something in the last five years, so I will be obedient first and ask questions later.” I sensed a strong urging to help those who are hurting and in prison. “God, I am ready and willing to be used by You. I will work in the prisons or anywhere You want me to serve. Show me your plan.”
Later that day I remembered one of my students being an attorney for end of life prisoners. We had spoken some time ago about working in the prisons but she had recently adopted a little girl and had been absent from my classes attending to her daughter. I prayed, “God if you want me to minister for You in this way, send her to my class tomorrow.”
Sure enough my prayer was answered and I explained what God had revealed to me. She glowed as she reflected about the past week and her discussions with the board at the local women’s shelter. She had just mentioned to the other board members that I would be the ideal person to minister to the women on both physical and spiritual growth.
I must say when we listen to God; He always works everything out for His glory and our good. These students have left a permanent mark on His pottery and my soul is forever changed. I am humbled and honored to share this life with them. It’s a Jesus thing! He sent me to help them and I’m being blessed.
About the Author:
Theresa Rowe is a nationally certified fitness professional and a motivational wellness speaker for various groups including the National Day of Payer and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). She is the host of Shape Up, a fitness show for Time Warner cable television, and Shaped by Faith, a radio show that is heard throughout western Kentucky. She has produced three faith-based fitness DVD’s; Pilates for the Soul, Strength Training for the Seasoned Soul and her newest, Pilates Stability Ball. Theresa is also an author of Guideposts’ Shaped by Faith, ten secrets to strengthening your body and soul. You can find more information about Theresa on her Web site: www.shapedbyfaith.com.