Every year I receive the greatest gift in the form of a three day scrapbook retreat with sweet friends from our old church. Women from across our state meet up at a campground in the middle of nowhere and lock ourselves in with papers, scissors, junk food, coffee, and the sweet buzzing of those miraculous Cricuts.
Yes, it sounds dorky, if you are a non scrapbooker. For scrapbookers and crafters, though, it’s a dream.
But I’ve been thinking lately about why this weekend refreshes my soul, even when it’s something so seemingly “unspiritual.”
I’ve come to a few conclusions, and the application is for crafters and non-crafters alike ;)
1) Our spirit was made to be quieted. Especially in the land o’ the blog, it’s rare than any of us fully remove from the noise. Your house could be still and quiet and kid-free, but the blog feed is rollin, tweets are chirping, and the inbox is ever full. It’s hard to get soul quiet when the busyness of life, internet, and media bombard.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. -Psalm 23:1-2
If you close your eyes and get a mental image of Psalm 23, I doubt that smart phones and TV shows and people hurrying and hollering comes to mind.
Listen, all these things are a part of my life. Phones and emails and internet and television. Dare I say: I like them all. But we have to allow for quiet spaces. We have to let the Lord lead us to the quiet waters.
2) Relationship is holy. Being with old friends and catching up on our lives brings peace because we were made for relationship. Community is holy. The women I connect with over the weekend know me. They know my fears and my heart. We laugh and cry as our hands are busy cropping photos and making layouts.
And more than knowing me, they know Him. We love the same Jesus and so we breathe life into each other in the midst of both simple and spiritual conversation. My introverted self is typically content to be alone any chance I get, but God created me for more.
3) Creating is worship. It’s taken me years to fully recognize and appreciate the gift of my creativity. And by that I do not mean that I’m overly gifted artistically, but that I have come to appreciate that being creative is spiritual. It is a holy thing. We are made in the image of the God who created the universe, and creating is a reflection of His goodness.
Y’all, I’m a slow learner. When I say it’s taken me years to understand that creativity is a gift, I mean years. Years spent digging around and searching my soul to know what my spiritual gifts were; to try and uncover gifts that fit more neatly into standard Spiritual Giftedness tests and inventories. Nothing ever clicked like I wanted it to.
One of the beautiful things about the internet and being a part of the Etsy community has been discovering so many artists using their art to His glory. In the past I even felt tension over wanting to create beauty, like decorating my home, while something I love and enjoy doing, was inherently sinful. And here’s the thing: anything can become an idol. Decorating and shopping and stuff can be sinful when they reign supreme in your heart and become an idol, as can people or relationships or religion or beauty. Anything that replaces Christ on the throne of your heart is an idol.
But when our hearts are right before Him, creating can honor His name and reflect His image.
So, that’s what I’ll be up to this weekend: worshiping.
And for the record, I don’t believe that you have to literally pack up and leave town to find spiritual green pastures and quiet waters (although it won’t hurt!). We can make space for refreshing daily; still places we carve out of life for less of us and more of Him.
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength… – Isaiah 30:15