Let's just get it out there. I'm not a big fan of these verses. For now, I'll leave verse 22 alone, and focus more on Romans 9:21. Perhaps it's the control freak in me--the person who wants to feel the power--but I don't like to see myself as a lump of clay. And I certainly don't like to see my life as a common drinking glass.
After all, these drinking glasses--the ones I grew up using--are common and ordinary. Thousands of people use them and nothing about them is that impressive. And when I think of "common use," I think boring. I think not-so-special. And who wants that on their grave marker? "Well, she was just an ordinary girl who never did anything that remarkable." No, I want to choose my destiny, and as Americans we're told we can. We're told we can be anything we choose to be. Set your mind to it. Fulfill your dreams. Achieve your goals.
Hard work is great, biblical even.
But what if God's plan trumps ours?
Shouldn't it? Even if it doesn't seem quite as lofty?
I am a dreamer, imaginative and creative with entrepreneurial blood running through me. Books, movies, and people easily inspire me to do something more. I am always thinking of new possibilities and it excites me. What doesn't excite me so much, despite the comfort of stability, is sameness. Ann Voskamp asks the question, "What if every comfort zone is really a death trap?" We need to be moved to do something beyond ourselves, but the conviction falls when I follow up with another question.
That's all well and good, Kristin, but what if God doesn't have "noble" glory in your future, but the mundane "common use?" What do you really want unique usage for anyway? Is it for others--to help, to serve, to proclaim Him--or is it for something else? Is it for recognition, for pride, for greed, for personal glory?
When my husband and I registered for household items 8 + years ago, I wanted something unique to drink from. Aaron liked the more sturdy reliable-type cups you see above. Me? I picked these.
Dinner guests were intrigued and always made comments about them, but honestly, they weren't that practical. They were a little more tricky to drink out of and sometimes harder to clean. I still like them, but sometimes I wonder.
I Timothy 3 talks about the necessary qualifications for elders and leaders of the church. Is he self-controlled and able to manage his family well? Is he faithful, temperate, and above reproach? If you want your circle to get bigger, prove that you can manage the smaller circle God has already given you. For me, the irony plays out something like this: I yell at the kids to be patient and kind and keep putting them off because I am doing something "more important", like writing children's books to minister to other kids. It wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't so true.
I don't know what God has in store for my whole future: I can picture it through my own dreams and ambitions and I want to make it happen. But I have to hold it loosely and remember that He has given me the here and now... for now. I need to do well with the common everyday expectations and if He chooses to expand my circle, it will be because He opened the way.
Lately I've been praying for Him to show me more clearly what He wants of me, where He wants me to put my dreams and how He wants me to utilize my time. Because even though I bristle at Romans 9:21, I do want my dreams for my life to be His plan for my life.