Thursday, July 17, 2008

Having Many and Varied Interests

There's so many things I enjoy doing. From ballet to cooking to music to sewing, I never have a lack of things to do. So many things interest me, and it can be overwhelming at times as I try to learn and do them all. I've sometimes wondered whether it's even good to have a lot of interests, for the world today seems to be so focused on being good at one thing. After all, find what you're good at and do it. Right?

Well, I'm not so sure. I really enjoyed reading a post on the Girl Talk blog called "Not Her Best", where they quoted G.K. Chesterton. Go and read the whole quote - it's very good! It was encouraging to me, as a homemaker-in-training, to be reminded of the many and varied tasks that a wife and mother is expected to do.

Though it is usual to focus on being good at one or two things, it's also important to develop all those "second best" skills, the ones that you will use all your life. You probably won't be the "best" at any of them, but if you learn to do them well and "with all your heart, as working for the Lord" (Colossians 3:23) you will make a home that is truly inviting.

It's also encouraging for those who struggle with perfectionism. I don't classify myself as a perfectionist, though lately, I have found myself struggling with those tendencies. If I don't do things absolutely wonderfully, I can get down on myself, beating myself up for not doing better. However, there are many things that you simply can't develop to the level of perfection. After all nothing we can do will ever be truly perfect, and a lot of things won't even come close! But we should strive to do things well, and glorify the God in what we do - whether we're making a meal (though it may be quite simple), sewing clothes (though perhaps not with the straightest seams!), or dancing or playing the piano (though you may not be a prima ballerina or virtuoso).

While it's important to do many things to make a pleasant home - indeed having "not one trade but twenty hobbies" - we must remember that we can't do it all. I have tried to develop as many homemaking skills as I can, but there's not time enough in a day to do them all. I enjoy embroidering, but I have yet to take the time to learn well the skill of knitting or crocheting. I can cook nourishing suppers and delicious desserts, but don't ask me to decorate cakes with different colored icing! While I can manage a house fairly well, I don't know much about gardening and precious little about canning. The list could go on. It's not that I don't want to do these things, but I haven't yet been able to find the time. And that's okay! Maybe one day I'll learn, or maybe God will have me continue doing what I'm doing.

For all you homemakers or homemakers-in-training, don't be afraid to develop wide and various skills! Each skill will come in very useful! Accept God's grace and realize that you won't be perfect, but work wholeheartedly at what you can do. And if there's something you don't particularly like, but know is needed for running a household, there's no time like the present to learn! =)

10 comments:

Ella said...

Sadly, many people do expect homemakers to be perfect at all they do...or else we seem absolutely stupid =) Like you, I excel at certain things and not so great at others. I don't know how to can yet, I can't frost cakes like a bakery does, the list can go on and on.

But you know, as long we are giving the Lord ALL the glory in everything, that is all that is required!

Though you know...it does make me feel good to know that you don't sew stright seams all the time, either =)

Anonymous said...

I love how you keep things in perspective about not having to have everything absolutely perfect! I can completely agree with you about not having enough time to learn all the skills/hobbies that interest us.

I have often fallen into the trap of trying too many new things at once. In the end, I always wound up not having time to learn any of them properly and gettting frustrated with all of them. I must admit to throwing out knitting needles and crochet hooks on at least 3 different occasions because I wound up so frustrated that the only way to relieve the stress was to literally throw all of it in the dumpster.

After falling into this routine several times, I thankfully forced myself to stop. I now strictly follow the self-imposed rule of learning one (and only one) new craft or hobby each year. This gives me time to really do more than scratch the surface of each thing and to focus my mind on one thing at a time.

I have found that in the three years since I have implemented this rule, I am much more relaxed about learning new skills, knowing that I don't have to master it right this instant, but have a whole year to focus on it. This has also made it easier for me to maintain the skills that I have learned because now they are second nature to me (after a year, I would hope so..lol). So now, quilting, crocheting and knitting are so relaxing and enjoyable that even if I am working under a deadline, I find it to be stress relieving instead of being the source of my stress.

I love seeing all the pictures of the clothes you have sewn for yourself and others. You have inspired me to learn how to make clothes for myself and my family. But, that will have to wait to be next year's project, as I am determined to finish my one year of learning to knit (which is surprisingly easier than I thought it would be to learn). :)

Have a wonderfully blessed day!
Jenna

Mardi said...

Great post! I enjoyed reading it. I have various interests too! I tend to be a perfectionist at times, and I get down on myself if I don't do as well as I think I should. Other times I tend to procrastinate on somethings, but with God's help, I'm getting through both struggles! God is so good like that to help us!
Thanks for sharing! :) Let the Joy of the Lord be Your Strength! (Neh 8:10)

Maria Pauline said...

Thanks for sharing this article and your own thoughts, Anna. It has been really encouraging. :D

Tiffany said...

I really enjoyed this post. You are such an inspiration to young ladies! Over the years I have certainly had the change to hone my skills in different areas. I am a great housekeeper and cook but don't know how to sew. That is what I want to learn next. This site is a nice reminder that I need to make sure my daughters learn neccessary skills and sewing is an important one for me. My oldest and I are going to learn to sew together!

Anna Naomi said...

Ella: Trust me - my sewing is not perfect! =) Though, usually once the project is done, you don't notice the not-perfectly-straight seams, and you forget just how many times you had to use the handy dandy stitch ripper!

Jenna: That sounds like a good idea - focusing on one new project a year! That way, you get to really learn it well!

Mardi: I too struggle between going from being a perfectionist to procrastinating. God is indeed so good to help us change!

Maria Pauline: Glad it encouraged you! =)

Tiffany: That will be great for you to learn how to sew with your daughter! It's a very useful skill to have.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Thank you so very much for your encouraging post. I often find myself refreshed and challenged after reading the posts on this blog. I was learning how to sew but once I figured out how expensive it was going to be and how much patience it required,I am not really interested in becoming particularly knowledgable in that skill. I can buy skirts from the re-sale shop cheaper than I can make them and they look more elegant than my own. Plus, it leaves me with more free time to do the things I enjoy. Do you think this attitude is wrong????

May your day be blessed,
Maiden Princess
www.homeschoolblogger.com/undercover

Anna Naomi said...

Maiden Princess: No, I don't think your attitude is wrong. Each person will have their own interests, and not everyone enjoys sewing. Like you said, fabric can be very expensive, and you can often find cheaper things at re-sale stores.

However, there are discount fabrics you can get, and for other things, it can be much cheaper to make things. The dresses I enjoy you can't find in stores usually, and the more fancy ones cost a lot if you buy them! Plus, the bridesmaid/flower girl dresses I made were a lot cheaper (even with expensive fabric!) then if we'd bought them, and we were able to make them to our exact likings. Plus, sewing skills help a whole lot to be able to mend things, etc.

So, I wouldn't give up sewing altogether, for you never know when it will come in handy. However, not everyone will enjoy it as much as I do, or have enough time to do it. So, you've just got to follow the Lord as He leads! He calls some to some things, and others to other things.

eliasboudinotismyfriend said...

Miriam, how was the music conference??

Another Miriam :)

Miriam Rebekah said...

Miriam,

Music camp was wonderful!!!
I'm planning on writing a post on it soon, but I'm not positive when. The two weeks were over way too soon, as I was just getting to know some people and wished I had more one-on-one time with my teacher, but it was still an amazing two weeks!

The other Miriam (Rebekah). =)