Sitting still has never been easy for me. Since childhood, I find doing nothing extremely difficult. The older I get, the harder this has become.
God blessed me with an abundance of abilities. My awareness of this caused consternation whenever I thought about it. After all, the Bible says, “To whom much has been given will much be required.”
Here was my dilemma:
When it comes to hobbies, I like to sew, embroider, crochet, knit, garden, make exquisite bead work, arrange flowers, play guitar and piano, write songs, write books, record audio books, and blog.
In the skills department, I love to organize things. I can weld, put in electrical wiring, and gas lines. I can type fast, read very fast, cook delicious meals without a recipe, decorate tastefully, manage an office, handle mass mailings, direct people, and excel at making the messed up neat again. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
This is not meant to be bragging. There were days when I looked at all the talents, skills, and spiritual gifts that I didn’t bother to list here, and I was concerned. Why? Because I did very little with all I had been given.
Why did God shower me with this stuff, if not to glorify Him? Isn’t this the chief end of man…to glorify God?
How was I supposed to mix all of these things into something useful, and keep me out of trouble?
Several years ago we watched The Truth Project. During one of the sessions I discovered the answer.
It’s the difference between “producing” and “creating.”
Creativity is my forte. Give me a pile of stuff and I can figure out something useful to make from it. Give me a disorganized mess and watch me bring it to order. I once unraveled a 1,000-foot ball of crochet thread that my cat had unrolled all through the house. Not a room was without string wrapped around something…and I loved the project!
While I can create things and have a blast doing it, nothing is produced. By “nothing” I mean a paycheck.
On the other hand, my mom continually made things throughout her lifetime. It seemed like whatever she made, people wanted. One year it was ponchos with yarn fringe. She made one for herself and sold about 50 of them! Another year it was baby blankets with cute designs. Quilts…I can’t count the number she made and sold. She was amazing in that way.
Thinking I would follow in her footsteps, I tried various things. First it was puffy picture frames with lace, ribbon, and flowers. They were liked, but not well enough for anyone to want to make a purchase. Then it was the era of jewelry made from little plastic strips. Women loved receiving them as gifts, but no one wanted to buy the jewelry to give.
When I discovered beading, I fell in love with the intricate pieces that could be woven from beads. Everyone else I knew was selling their creations like hotcakes. I sold numerous earrings at my aunt’s beauty shop, but that was it. While others were selling beaded bags, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, I finally gave as gifts what I had made just to get rid of the stuff!
At the time, I recall asking God why nothing I made sold. He let me know that I was just to bless others with what I made by giving the things away. This was confusing to me. How was I ever to produce a paycheck if I made gifts of it all?
Thinking this was His polite way of telling me to quit wasting my time and His money, I put all of my hobby materials away. Whenever I would get out something to work on, I would feel guilty about the frivolous use of my time. My creative nature shriveled up, and I was sad to say goodbye to my “friends” (hobbies).
As I tell you this, I realize that some of my sweetest times with Abba have been while I’ve been busy making something. He and I have had some excellent fellowship – and during those times He gave me insight into questions I’ve asked Him about Scripture.
As a “producer,” I have nothing to offer. It doesn’t seem that I will ever earn a living from what I make. While we watched The Truth Project, I realized that being a well-paid artist is a late 20th century phenomenon. Prior to that, nearly every “great” artist died in poverty…but greatly fulfilled, having glorified God.
I very nearly missed the point of my life! It is this: to glorify the Lord. If I am doing that, then I will have done all I was created to do. God’s not interested in whether I can earn a paycheck. He’s promised to provide for me if I seek Him and His righteousness first.
God doesn’t need my money…
…He wants my devotion.
Even if that means making things to give away for the rest of my life!
This is hard to accept in today’s society. We are so “production” oriented: Those who earn an income, have value. Those who stay home and don’t bring home a paycheck, are “leeches.”
This is not true from God’s point of view.
What about you? Do you find yourself needing to earn more and more money in order to feel like your existence is a valid one? What is the last thing to which you applied your talents, skills, and gifts for the sole – or even primary – purpose of glorifying God?
Can you enjoy a time of crafting without feeling guilty?
Do you regularly allow yourself to be creative…
…to be “just like Father?”
It’s time to shut down the computer and work on a prayer shawl for a dear friend. I’m going to enjoy the time I’ll spend while I knit. Too often I have been riddled with guilt for not spending my time “more wisely.”
I have been given much. God will require much from me. Unlike the world’s way of thinking, that “much” will not be added up using my paycheck stubs, but in how well I glorified Him.
Lord, thank You for setting me straight on this and for setting me free, for I was…
…created to be creative!