Your Broken Vessel

I tend to be a perfectionist.

I have stick straight hair and sometimes I still have to straighten it. My friends claim that it looks the same before and after, but I argue that there are always some end pieces that could be a little straighter.

Most of my life I have been overly obsessive with my grades. In most cases I am only satisfied with a 95% or above. Talk about ridiculous. I am that student who will ask the multitude of questions, respectfully correct the teacher if they are wrong, and fight for the grade that I deserve.

I am also very competitive.

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This past semester there was a bowling competition at school that my friends and I entered for fun. I went in aware that I wasn’t awful at bowling and ready to have a good time. I started off being one of the best, but by the end of the three games I was throwing gutter balls at least every other time. To put it gently, by the end of the night I was huffing and puffing. I was so frustrated with myself. My friends just casually created some distance between them and me and stayed silent.

My friends have also learned that some of my favorite words to hear are, “Morgan, you won.” Those three words quickly put a smile on my face. When they are feeling generous they will sometimes just say it to give me a boost. I’m not very proud of this.

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With these two traits being very prevalent parts of my personality, I tend to find it difficult to take up a challenge if I don’t believe I can master it, be good at it, or win. If I feel the possible chance of failure weighing on the situation I tend to quickly make an excuse to get myself out of the situation- to take away my possible opportunity to fail.

While living this way might get me through life, I have learned that living with this attitude limits me greatly. Not only does it limit the opportunities I have, but it also limits the way I can impact the world for my Father’s Kingdom.

My Father has called me to be a disciple, and sometimes this job can come with challenging or scary tasks. It is in the moments of hearing His soft whispers telling me of a job He has for me that I can choose to run or rest.

Run away from a calling I worry I might fail at. Run away from the task put in front of me. Run away from the challenge.

Or I can rest. Rest in His presence and promise that He will go before me and never leave me. Rest in the power He has given me. Rest in the fact that with Him, the impossible is made possible. Rest in the gift He has given me by asking me to be a part of His work.

Once I make the choice to rest, everything changes. In the moments I choose to rest, I also choose to be a vessel.

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Vessel. “A person, especially regarded as holding or embodying a particular quality.

This is the most important job of them all. When we choose to be a vessel, we are choosing to embody the qualities of God. That is a huge task and not one to be taken lightly. What is most amazing is that our Father is waiting, so badly wanting for His children to choose to be a vessel. He wants us- dirty, mean, impure sinners- to embody who He is- the most perfect, unfathomable, majestic, and beautiful God. It’s like taking a broken and rusted flowerpot and planting an overflowing rosebush in it. Putting the beauty inside of the ugly. It doesn’t seem to make sense, but God does it anyways because He wants us to be a part of His mission. His mission to change the world by loving one person at a time.

Being a vessel for the Lord simply means giving your body as a sacrifice to Him. It means allowing Him to shine through you, speak through you, and love through you. It means being one of God’s many doors as a way to interact with His people and His world. It means giving up yourself. It means forgetting yourself. It means living with the goal of glorifying Him. Life is no longer about you. It’s about the beautiful inside that is shining out.

Embodying Christ is a big task though, and many of the tasks that are asked of vessels are daunting. This is where my perfectionism and competitiveness get in my way. If I feel called to be a vessel for a task that I don’t think I can perfect and win at, I easily back out. Pull myself away from the chance to fail.

After doing this many times I have learned something- God doesn’t ask us to be whole and spotless vessels. Sin doesn’t really allow that. Instead, we are asked to be vessels. Broken vessels. Bruised vessels. Sick vessels. Weak vessels. Hurting vessels. Jealous vessels. Impure vessels. Simply vessels.

Willing people. People willing to serve Him and His kingdom.

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21

This cleansing of our spirit doesn’t come from us. We aren’t clean on our own. On our own we are filthy. This cleanliness comes from the blood of Jesus Christ and comes from His power alone. We come to Him a broken vessel and through His goodness, grace, and mercy we become a vessel for honorable use. Not a vessel without imperfection, but a vessel that is set apart. A vessel that is willing to live a different way than most people. A vessel that will be useful to the Master.

And this is where I have to leave behind a few parts of my personality. In doing God’s work, He doesn’t expect perfection out of us. He expects to use our imperfect work and perfectly mold it into His plan. There is no competition in carrying out His pleasing and perfect will because whether or not I succeed at my job, He will always win.

Choosing to be a vessel means leaving behind all that you know and trusting in the things that are unknown to you, but known to the Master. Choosing to be a vessel means stepping outside of your own pride, hurt, and shame. It means offering your imperfect self as a sacrifice to the Creator. It means going down the scary paths, the daunting paths, the stressful paths, the joyful paths, all with the faith that He is one step in front of you and also right next to you. It means letting down your guard. Letting go of the fear. Breaking down your pride. Sharing your weaknesses. All for the glory of God and for the goodness of His work and His kingdom.

We have been asked to be a part of our Father’s plan. The perfect King wants to partner with His imperfect children. He wants to use you. He wants to use me. We have the opportunity to be a part of the largest and most important mission of all time and all it requires from us is one thing.

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To say yes.

“Yes, Father. Use me. I am your broken vessel.”

 


 

About the Author

blog photoMORGAN COLANDER

Hi! My name is Morgan Colander. I am a junior at Lee University in Tennessee studying to be an elementary teacher. I am attempting to survive these college years as I learn to rely more on God and less on myself while being surrounded by new opportunities and decisions. College has presented itself with its difficulties- college budget, college dorms, college food, an endless list of things to do, and plenty of homesickness- but through it all, I have never been more dependent on God and realized how incapable I am to do life without Him. God, family, and friends are all I need to survive in life but some junior mints, a hike up a mountain, laughter, and some sarcasm definitely add some joy to the journey.

  • Jana A

    As someone who also struggles with perfectionism, this was super encouraging! Thanks for the reminder that He still uses the broken vessel to bring about His Glory, that He puts the beautiful (Himself) in the broken (us)!