rebelling against low expectations

As Soft As Clay: A Teenager’s Reflections for the New Year


“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” — Isaiah 64:8

I look back this past year, and see how far I’ve come. The Lord has shaped me, and molded me, and I am slowly becoming more and more like Him.

I cannot boast.

I cannot boast in myself, but only that the Lord has taught me many, many things that have challenged, changed, stretched, and grown me.

But one thing I thought I’d share, one of the first steps I made on my journey.

Throughout my life, I had let myself stop growing, to become stale clay, clay that is not easy for the Potter to mold, to work with, to perfect.

I refused to let the Lord shape me and mold me into a better person, because I was afraid it would hurt too much.

And you know what? It did hurt. I’m not gonna lie.

But you know another thing?

It’s worth it.

It’s worth it because I love Him so, so much and I just couldn’t bear to to see Him disappointed in His creation, and I want Him to be happy with what He sees.

So my lips whisper over and over this year, “He is the Potter, I am the clay.”

If we are to be clay, we must be willing to let go, of our plans, what we want, and give ourselves up to be made holy in His sight, and to completely surrender to His soft, loving hands. If we are stubborn, if we are unteachable, if we are hard, stale clay, why should we expect God to do great things with us?

But we cannot become soft by own free will.

It is up to the Potter to make us soft & teachable again.

“Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?” — Romans 9:21

And you know, I know it hurts. I know it’s something we don’t want to do. I know we don’t want to give up our dreams, and our pride, and our lives for Him.

I know.

But, this new year, I want you to ask yourself this question, really and truly, in all honesty …

“Am I obstinate, or unyielding, or am I as soft as clay?”

Photo courtesy of Bogdan loan Stanciu and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

Rachel Hatcher

is an ordinary 16-year-old with an extraordinary God, who aspires each day to pursue God and to glorify Him. She enjoys reading, hiking, and drinking coffee on rainy days. She strives to be an inspiration to those around her by sharing her love for Jesus and being an encouragement in times of need.


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  • For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to do something that will make a big difference. Reading this post I realize that I’ve been stale clay expecting God to make it easy and as simple as possible for me to become something beautiful.

    • That’s exactly how I was. It wasn’t until God pressed upon my heart that I needed to open my clenched hands on my plans, my ideas, for my life & what I wanted to do with it, to His will for my life. And I have never, ever regretted it.

  • Great post, Rachel!

    Too many times we try to do things our own way and keep our plans in our own clenched fists. It’s only when we give our everything to God, and let Him shape our lives, that we become the men and women that God wants us to be. We can never, never get there on our own.

    Sometimes we think of it as a negative, but just imagine it: the same God that made the mountains, the sky, and every hue in existence is ready to shape our lives if we give them to Him! If no one on earth could paint a picture that comes close to the beauty of God’s creation, how much more beautiful will a Christ-shaped life be than anything we could do ourselves?

    This was a fantastic post to remind us all of the importance of surrendering our will to God in 2014. Thanks for writing it!

    • “If no one on earth could paint a picture that comes close to the beauty
      of God’s creation, how much more beautiful will a Christ-shaped life be
      than anything we could do ourselves?” So true, and great thoughts, Nathan! And thank you!

  • Wow, thank you so much for this article. I realize that I have been stale clay in God’s hands for a while now. It’s so easy for me to forget/ignore God’s soft whisper, just absorbing and conforming to the lost culture around me. Thanks again for this awesome reminder 🙂

    • I’m glad it touched you. It is so easy. God showed me that that was what I was doing, and He pressed on my heart to share this with others.

  • Fantastic! This has been SO true for me this past year, and such a lesson n true, joyful submission to Him. Your posts I’ve read are a blessing and inspiration. 😀

  • The earlier we realise that we need to allow God to shape us, the better our relationship with God will be. Like, exponentially. We aren’t really letting Him be ‘God’ if we don’t let Him change us. And yeah, it can hurt. Going through that right now myself. But one of the up-sides of pain is getting to see God’s response in helping us through it. I only just posted about my own experience this morning on my blog. And maybe God didn’t do this to me for the express purpose of making me grow; maybe this bad stuff just happened and He’s taking advantage of the ‘teaching moment’. Either way, I’d rather go with God’s plan A than get everything I think I want but know it’s not what He had planned.

  • Thank you so much Rachel! This is such a great reminder, as we begin this new year, that we need to be willing to let go of our own plans so that God is able to change us and shape our characters so that we may become the people that he meant for us to be!

By Rachel Hatcher
rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →