Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Plastic slides across plastic, and wool constricts and twirls. I pull more from my yarn ball, and it hops from my side to the floor. I have not yet mastered balancing two (or sometimes more) needles and a fluffy ball of wool. Maybe it is time to invest in a yarn bowl designed with a slit that feeds yarn to the knitter as he or she needs. But I don’t mind reaching and lifting the fluff ball back up to me, giving my fingers a moment’s rest from holding every piece taut and my mind a rest from holding thoughts of my stitches. Knitting is my cozy activity.
I learned to knit at school. My fifth grade guidance counselor started an after-school knitting club once a month. All my friends sign up, and there were going to be free snacks—snacks way better than what my mom bought, according to fifth-grade me. Month by month, among chatting with friends, repeating many frustrating mistakes, and making a mess of my yarn by touching it with snacky-fingers, I slowly learned to create cohesive pieces from the multicolor strands.
After elementary school, other activities and responsibilities crowded me, and I no longer knit. It was not until my sophomore year of college that a close friend re-taught me to knit during a time that she and I were both struggling. Knitting is a great productive distraction from emotional pain. By it I could work on something that would go on to serve someone else, learn new skills, and do so at my own pace. I loved all that about knitting.
Today, I knit very often—nearly every morning and every night, at least for a few minutes. It has become entwined in my personal, quiet pursuit of God. While I get a great thrill from creating new pieces from my yarn and needles, most of knitting is not that grand-finale moment of completing the last stitch of a project. Most knitting is the repetition of stitch after stitch, row after row, mistake after mistake, and unraveling pieces so you can correct them. These steps slow me down. Impatience has no place in knitting. Impatience cannot be part of a pursuit of God, either. In teaching me persistence and giving me an outlet to obediently create what will serve others, knitting has become an “us” activity—me and God, together.
I dearly love this activity, but knitting itself is not a value of mine. Knitting is valuable because it brings me toward some of my core values—time with God and showing others His love. By the grace of God I have shared the Good News with a hat. I have helped build bonds of friendship with mittens. I am working on a blanket that I hope will warm someone’s heart. These are good things from God, sweet fruits He has brought from my hobby.
I encourage you to pursue activities that honor God by serving others and that increase your opportunities to share the Gospel. I want to highlight that I think this is a true pursuit; it is not about finding something you like to do. To me, “finding” often involves waiting and stumbling into something, perhaps feeling lucky when you’ve found it. In a way that’s how I found knitting, so it’s not that I think “finding” a passion is to be avoided. However, if you have not found a passionate way to serve and share yet, pursue one. Pursue servanthood rather than stumbling into something in which you are already comfortable. Distribute your time and effort toward an action in obedience. For example, Rebekah Snider told me last Sunday about her cake-designing abilities she learned from her mom. She used them last week to bake a beautiful, frilly, pink cake for a birthday girl in Harrison’s class. Rebekah also wants to get into painting as another way to create. She is pursuing a new passion. Like Pastor Dale, Worship Leader Mike and many others in the church have echoed for a long time, I want to encourage us to continue pursuing activities and roles that serve more than our own enjoyment, and that directly serve the church and community to which we are committed. If it knit everything for myself, I would have nothing but a pile of mittens. If I used the minutes and hours I spend knitting thinking about my troubles, I would be both disobedient to Jesus’ command to not worry, and I would be missing an opportunity to quiet myself and pray for the one who receives what I create. In partnering my pursuit of God with an activity I love, I get to be part of what He is doing in our community.
A few months ago we had a knitting lesson at the church. If you are interested in learning to knit or just want to give it a try, or if you want to brainstorm other ideas for pursuing an activity like I described above, hit me up! I have many supplies to share freely with anyone who wants to use them. We can even watch YouTube tutorials and learn new things together. Reach me on Facebook or Instagram. If you want to share your ideas for how to pursue an activity you love while pursuing what you value, please share in the comments below or on our Riverside Facebook page.