Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I do not get involved with things
too great or too wondrous for me. Instead, I have calmed and quieted my soul…
Psalm 131:1-2 (CSB)
I’m learning to crochet. Is that dorky? I have a feeling what the hipsters do with yarn these days is knitting. But I’ve heard that takes two needles, which is completely intimidating. So for now, it’s crochet. I took a class with my daughters at a local craft store, and after three hours we learned one stitch — if that’s even what you call it. We make rows in a line, turn, and make another line. It’s too narrow for a blanket, too wide for a scarf, and it doesn’t matter anyway because I don’t know how to read a pattern or do anything, really. I want it to be relaxing.
I like the idea of staying a beginner. I like moving my hands in a predictable rhythm to make nothing in particular except maybe some space for my soul to breathe. I like the absence of pressure, the complete lack of temptation to show off or get arrogant. This week, as I imperfectly practice this new craft, I’m discovering the spiritual discipline hidden beneath the uneven rows of yarn. Sometimes I need to engage in an activity for the single purpose of disengaging from productivity.
There’s an invisible world that lives inside our bodies, the inner world of the soul. And this inner world needs our attention, but it doesn’t respond to programs, agendas, or hustle. The soul responds to space, silence, and Jesus.
I’m discovering Christ in ordinary moments . . . both the ones where I feel capable and the ones where I am out of my element. I’m discovering Him, in the visible world I can see and the invisible one that lives within me. And sometimes I need to actively do things I’m not good at in order to remember how desperately I need Him. Sometimes I need to work quietly with my hands in order to settle my soul.
This message was written by Emily P. Freeman and appears in A Moment to Breathe, a 365-day devotional from the (in)courage community.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
There must be a calming effect to knitting and crocheting. I know so many women (and men) who enjoy it. I tried cross stitch for awhile and the running joke in our house is that I haven’t finished my children’s Christmas stockings I began (they are now 29 and 25 lol). In one of the stockings, I made a mistake and then didn’t catch it until many more rows down the line. I had two choices. Rip it all out to where the mistake began or put it down. I chose the latter and never picked it up again. Humbling? You bet. Lately, my choice for not being productive for productivity’s sake is photographing the flowers in my yard/garden. It’s fun trying to find just the right angle to best capture the beauty God has placed before me. I love studying the different flower formations and the intricate uniqueness of each. Color, shape, design, layout….God’s playground for this budding photography buff. And, yes, there is a humbling and calming in being a beginner and learning something new. Stepping away from the world, for even ten minutes, can be refreshing. Great post!
Lynn Koukal says
Great idea bev, you’ve sparked my interest I love flowers too.
Michele Morin says
Last winter I knitted dish cloths.
I had a bunch of cotton yarn taking up space in my house (Who knows where it came from?), and so whenever there was a family movie night or a long car ride, there I was, converting wasted space into useful squares of knitted cloth. Eventually, I didn’t even need the pattern, so it was sort of mindless and wonderfully relaxing–sort of like weeding the garden, which is also work for the hands that settles the soul.
Blessings to you!
I too crochet, but nothing too complicated, and agreed the calming nature it has. is soothing to the soul.
Thank-you for sharing a quiet moment with us.
Have a blessed day all,
There is someone very close to me that is struggling that I think this will be a big help.
Melissa Ens says
Yessssss! This: “Sometimes I need to engage in an activity for the single purpose of disengaging from productivity.“ (Sounds like Sabbath.)
My soul feels refreshed – Selah. A great reminder to find myself delighting in The Lord. Isaiah 30:15 “Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
15 For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said:
“You will be delivered by returning and resting;
your strength will lie in quiet confidence.
For me, it’s applique. Several years ago, I designed a simple quilt block and when I want to do mindless handwork, I just pick up a block and work on it. I just realized that I have 6 completed blocks and this quilt might be finished one day :-). That’s okay, there’s another one in my mind when I get there! I also realized last summer that handwork is a better project to do while sitting on my front porch than reading a book – it frees my mind to greet neighbors as they walk by and say hello and I can be entertained by the antics of children while I’m keeping busy!
Mary Hood says
How precious and true! My soul responds to space, silence and Jesus. I spend a lot of time alone. I crave it. Yes, I am an introvert, but more than that, I believe Jesus calls me away to have fellowship. I need a settled soul and a willing heart to fellowship with Him. I did have a time of knitting and crocheting. As much as I enjoyed it, I also was frustrated with it. Mistakes I didn’t know how to fix got in my way. I wish you well with it!
Pearl Allard says
Emily, this so resonates. I remember reading this in A Moment to Breathe and exhaling stress I hadn’t even realized was there. (I’m using it as my daily devotional this summer.) Thank you for validating our soul’s need for stillness. I enjoy drawing for this reason – no pressure, no expectations, just a chance to encounter Beauty and let Him refresh my soul. Thank you, Emily!
Jane A. says
I quilt for the same reason…it calms my soul. Actually, I make quilt tops, the quilting part is being left for someone else to do! Perhaps these handcrafts; knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing, etc., are what have calmed the souls of the American women for ages. Yes, it was out of necessity but I’m sure they gained strength and an inner joy which helped them face the hardships of their day. The same can be applied today. Not the same hardships but struggles nonetheless. Wonderful post…staying a beginner is okay!
I recently learned to crochet, too! I also know exactly one stitch! But I have been amazed at what can happen and emerge when that one stitch is applied consistently! There is probably a bigger lesson right there that I need to explore!
I am so surprised at how relaxing I find it, I wasn’t expecting that!
Kathy @ Devotions from the Heart says
This reminds me of why I enjoy the simple flower gardening that I do, it isn’t so much about producing a beautiful garden but the slow and graceful movement of quietly tending to a garden and my soul at the same time.
Beth Williams says
You are spot on. We were created by God to have a relationship with Him. Our souls yearn for calm, quiet & Jesus. This world is noisy & clamors for more doing, being. We don’t realize how stressed out we are. It is impossible to have any quality quiet time with God. It is during those times that petty nuisances & little things will bother you & cause problems. I’m not crafty in any way. I find simply watching something funny on TV, sitting quietly playing games or listening to sermons via computer are quite calming to me. After busy weeks I like to have a little time alone at home just piddling around. It refreshes my soul. People would be surprised at how good they would feel if they’d slow down & took a Sabbath Rest. You might even discover Christ in some ordinary moments within the day. Go find a hobby, slow down, enjoy this life & watch Christ show up.
“Sometimes I need to engage in an activity for the single purpose of disengaging from productivity.” speaks to me so much! How does one disengage from productivity? There never seems to be enough hours in a day… The need to just do nothing for a short period of time is so overwhelming at times. Maybe someday.
Julie Garmon says
Me too! I crocheted many years ago and have just picked it up again. Sooooo peaceful~~
Brenda Lee Renwick says
I crochet well now, and I’m able to make some pretty nice things, but the best stitching sessions are when I have the pattern memorized and don’t have to think about it. Then I have time to pray.