Sometimes do you ever feel like a piece of playdough? That sounds a little crazy but hear me out. Think about a kid playing with playdough. They spend time molding it and making their beautiful creation. Then when they are done the creation gets smashed into the table, and they start over again to create something new.
Life can make me feel like a piece of playdough. I go through experiences, good and bad, and those experiences mold me. They change me. These things make me into a new creation. And then just when I think I’m a good, lovely creation, I get smashed into the table, and it all starts over again, the process of molding and creating.
These life experiences are what make us - they form who we are, how we think, how we react, how we love, what we say, how we feel. Going through life means heartache. We were never promised an easy ride. God didn’t say, “Well, you are a Christian! Poof, no hard times for you.”
In fact, we are almost promised to have hard times:
In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.
It says right there in the Bible, we WILL have trouble.
Throughout our Christian history life has been hard - slavery, bondage, wars, wandering, separation and persecution. And now, death, money problems, divorce and health issues.
Walking through these hard times, we have two choices.
We can lean into these experiences. Listen and look to God. Let Him mold us. Learn from what we are going through and grow stronger in our faith. We can pray, read our Bible, listen to trusted friends, listen to God and find what we can learn from this experience. We can give up our power to God’s power. We can surrender to God and hand over our pain and hurt.
Or we can let the world mold us. Sort of like when you leave playdough out overnight. What happens to it? It hardens, it gets dried up. We can let those experiences harden our hearts and close us off to God. Do we let the world tell us how to get through these tough times or how life is unfair and unjust?
The funny thing is I seem to forget this and have to learn this lesson over and over again. When bad times come, I start with the hardened heart. I let the world mold me. I think “Why me? Can’t life just be easy?” But then I slow down. I listen. I notice that everywhere I look, God is trying to tell me the same thing. My heart slowly starts to soften to God’s word, his power.
Take for instance patience. That theme seems to be a reoccurring lesson God wants me to learn. Over. and. Over. and. Over. Something happens and I want to fix it, change it, be done with it, move on with my life. But there I am, stuck in the middle of it. Not able to change it or fix it or move it. With no real power of my own. I have to wade through this experience. Oh I guess I could just get in bed under the covers and wait for it to pass but who would feed my family?
And during this time, I notice that every Bible verse I see, every devotional, every song, its all about the same thing. Whatever that thing is that I’m supposed to learn. Verses, songs, devotionals, you name it, all pointing back to the difficult word, patience. And so I listen, I evaluate my thoughts and responses. I work to let the word of God fill me and change me. Make me more patient. Soften my heart. Mold me into a beautiful creation of playdough.
I’m not saying I’m perfect or have it all figured out. Every time I am faced with a difficult situation, it starts over again. But I hope that as I’m getting older, I will learn to turn to God first and experience His mold of my life and rely less on the world molding me. Maybe this repetition will make the table smashing times a little bit easier.
The bad times are going to be there. But what we do with them is up to us. Do we let God work through our bad times, requiring us to surrender and let Him mold us. Do we listen, look, notice and hear all the ways that God is trying to talk to us. Do we look to God for hope, strength, guidance, patience and peace? Do we notice the things around us that are all pointing back to growing in relationship with Him?
Or do we look to the world for answers? Do we let our hearts be hardened and our lives dried out like that old playdough that got left out overnight?
Its up to us – we can choose to do something with those situations to make ourselves a new, better creation in Christ.