Since I was a little girl, I have liked to make things. Some of my earliest memories involve cutting and gluing paper into unique shapes at the card table in my grandmother’s living room. I’ve always had numerous projects going at once. Sometimes I finish them and sometimes I don’t (I still plan to someday finish the unicorn latch hook rug I started when I was 7). For me, the joy is not in the finished product, but in the process of creation.
It came as no surprise when I was offered the position of creative activities director for the mother’s group at my church one year. What did surprise me was the attitude many of the ladies held toward making things. They would say things like, “Oh, I’m not creative at all,” or “I don’t have an artistic bone in my body.” I realized that what came naturally to me was sometimes a struggle for others.
Not wanting them to feel discouraged before they even began to craft, I started our lessons by reminding them we are all made the image of God, the ultimate Creator. He formed the universe and everything in it with the word of His mouth. Made in His likeness, maybe we don’t all share the same gifts and talents, but we each hold the propensity to create beauty.
Maybe you love putting foods together into stunning meals for your family. Maybe you find joy in arranging furniture, rugs and decoration to design life-giving environments in which to live. For me, I love nothing more than to take a flat piece of fabric, a needle and some thread and turn them into a three-dimensional garment reflecting my style and personality.
I’ve seen an uptick recently of interest in handicrafts: sewing, gardening, knitting, crocheting, cooking, cake decorating, cross-stitching, quilting and more. I believe that as our lives become more immersed in the digital world, our souls cry out for the tactile experience of making something real. While our spirits yearn to make something, though, our heads tells us we should be more practical and efficient with our time. Our culture measures our worth by what we produce and how successful we are—sitting down to complete a paint-by-numbers seems like a waste of time. We feel guilty, like we ought to do something more productive.
Where we do maintain hobbies, we feel the push to monetize them. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me I should open an Etsy shop . . . well, I wouldn’t need to open one. I learned long ago that turning a hobby into work no longer brings me the joy and satisfaction of the hobby alone, because of the added layer of demands and pressure to meet deadlines.
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (NIV). Our Creator is honored by the creation we do, because creating reflects His image in us. The work of our hands can be worship in itself when we craft for the glory of God, acknowledging Him as the Giver of all talents.
Our hobbies can be made even sweeter when we use them to serve others. A friend of mine gains great joy using her photography hobby to bless her friends with photos of their special life events. She’s been told several times to start a side business, but she’d rather use her talents to bless her friends. Even when we craft simply for our own sake, we can glorify God. Creation for the sake of creation is a beautiful concept we’d do well to keep alive in our culture.
From “Dead Poet’s Society”: “Medicine, law, business, engineering—these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love—these are what we stay alive for.” Our work and productivity are necessary scaffolds to support all other aspects of our lives, but let’s not forget the value of our ability to create. Though we may not gain wealth, recognition or achievement, we receive the joy of making something new, and honoring God as we thank Him for it.
This week, take some time out of the hustle and business to create something, bring a little beauty and joy to your world, and glorify the Lord.