I think sewing is too in-the-box for me. Following specific directions is not easy or enjoyable for me either. I prefer to exercise my creativity through experimenting and impulse. Take my cooking for example, I delight in using a little bit of this or that to make meals with the ingredients that we have on hand. This approach has gone wrong in the past, but over time, through trial and error, I have a handle on what tastes good together.
The second part of this verse, “[She] works with her hands in delight” is quite convicting to me. But maybe not in the way you might expect. You see, the other night, before our 10K race, my husband and I stayed up late, whispering. He said words that I desperately needed to hear but feared hearing at the same time.
However, in mid-February, as I launched this site, started writing a book, and got much more serious about my writing in general, I didn’t calculate everything. This was a good thing for me, who keeps herself on a short leash, to be somewhat impulsive and just “go with it”.
My fears, of just letting myself go and living free versus living disciplined, are that I will get out-of-balance and lose control. I tend to be an all-or-nothing kind of gal. When I am passionate about something, I am all in. These can be a good thing but it also can be detrimental.
I’ve often criticized others, in ministry especially, for being workaholics. Then I realized I was demonstrating similar tendencies with my creative endeavors…I was just doing them from home, thus the unhealthy behaviors weren’t as obvious. Staying up late, not getting enough sleep, and neglecting the present in pursuit of the future.
I was working with my hands in delight, but I was sacrificing my greatest delights, my husband and kids, in the process.
His timely words were a wake-up call. He was going to bed alone and waking up with me already gone. I realized, my “passions” were taking the passion right out of our marriage. Ministry was becoming a mistress. It was hard to hear, but also life-giving. It reminded me a little bit of when King Theoden is called back to life by Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Gandalf spoke powerful words to break the spell that had blinded Theoden. And then Theoden woke up…it is here we pick up their dialogue.
Gandalf: Breathe the free air again, my friend.
Theoden: [stands up from the throne] Dark have been my dreams of late.
[looks at his hands]
Gandalf: Your fingers would remember their old strength better… if they grasped your sword.
Unlike the curse that Theoden was under, God-sized dreams are a blessing and they produce life. But, when they creep up to a place of rule, taking over and keeping us from our greatest dreams, they begin to cloud our vision and the results can be devastating.
When I am confronted or hurt I am tempted to retreat. Hubby knows this about me. I am tempted to throw the baby out with the bathwater and go to the other extreme. As he spoke, I wondered if I needed to give up on this writing dream. But, as we whispered in the dark, he wasn’t asking me to give up or even delay this God-sized dream of writing, he was just asking for balance.
He was just asking for my work to not take over and suffocate the delights found in our marriage and in our family. My dreams were clashing and it was time to give priority back to the greater dream. Both dreams, of writing and being a present wife and mom, are good, but one is more important to me. However, just because these dreams clash at times doesn’t mean they contradict, just that I need to be mindful of my methods. It is true that God-sized dreams can take large quantities of time, but when they are taking most of our quality time, there lies an issue.
His words were life-giving.
These verses came to mind after we talked, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might santicfy her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such things; but that she should be holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
He washed me with the word. Isn’t that how Theoden came back too? He was called back with words, and then Gandalf said, “Your fingers would remember their old strength better…if they grasped your sword.”
His words were direct, not harsh, but gentle and full of affection. He wants me back. He’s not asking me to give up what’s in my heart, but to stop operating from a fragmented heart. He longs to clothe me in fine clean linen and present me as a spotless bride.
I want the work of my hands to be a delight to those I delight in most. I am thankful for my family’s continual support of my writing, and I want to honor Him and them by operating in health and balance, to be present and not miss the life that I am writing about.
What are your hands delighting in?
It is a good thing to have hobbies and interests but when they take over and hold us hostage it is time to reevaluate.
Does any of this resonate with you?
Maybe these whispers from our Heavenly Husband are for you too? I pray, if needed, they serve as a wake up call- to balance, to living free and full.