I've discovered a fun new hobby. The steps are pretty straightforward.
Start with a whole piece of fabric
Cut it into smaller and smaller pieces
Sew it back together
Discover a mistake
Rip out the seam
As many of you know, I picked up quilting as a hobby again this year, which I genuinely enjoy. I've even read that crafting, no matter the technique, can improve your mood and self-confidence and reduce stress. Some say it's a natural anti-depressant.
I've found all of that to be mostly true. However, as someone who struggles with spatial relationships and paying attention to detail, I'm making plenty of mistakes as I learn this new hobby. Sew, rip, repeat has become a regular pattern. Measure twice; cut once is a good mantra. But often, I still don't get it right, and I've decided that always buying extra fabric is a good practice at this stage of learning.
There are times when I'm frustrated by my mistakes. It would be easy to quit. Goodness knows I've walked away from other crafting attempts. I have yet to crochet a square baby blanket, but if anyone needs one that is polygon-shaped, I can set you up. A pair of baby booties in a different size for each foot? I got you.
I've learned that it's time to take a break when frustration and fatigue get the best of me. Plugging away at something doing the opposite of improving my mood and reducing my stress saps my energy. It doesn't offer any sense of restoration.
There's a vast difference between taking a break and giving up. Bill Bowerman was a legendary college track coach and co-founder of Nike, who popularized switching between hard and easy training days. He taught elite and everyday athletes the value of finding a rhythm for training instead of doing the same things repeatedly.
Our current worship series, "Connected," provides a way for us to consider our commitment to the practices of our faith. We're exploring the foundations of committing to membership and/or participating in a congregation like Grace UMC. Next month, we will each be asked to prayerfully consider the commitments we want to make to Grace over the next twelve months. We will ask everyone who believes Grace UMC to be their church home to commit to how they will pray, show up, share their gifts and resources, and let others know about the good things happening within our church and above all, sharing the good news of the Gospel.
I know the idea of making a commitment can seem overwhelming. Two questions often arise: "What if I can't do all I said?" And, "What if my circumstances change?" In the weeks ahead, we will discuss what it means to make these sorts of faith commitments. The decisions each person makes will be unique and fit their circumstances. There is room in all these practices to take a step back and give yourself space to pause, reflect, and return. There is room in all these practices to make mistakes and plenty of room to start repeatedly (sew-rip-repeat).
Above all, I hope we can embrace these practices as things that give us life and help us grow closer to God through Jesus Christ. I pray that we will gladly make these commitments, not because we must, but because we can. They are practices that hold the ability to do more than any crafting project might offer. They are practices that can restore, renew, and help us claim an abundant life—all the things that Jesus wants for us. See you in church!
Peace, Pastor Linda