I love to quilt and since the weather has turned to fall, the quilting bug is stronger than ever. One of the things that I love about quilting is the little lessons that I’ve learned from this beautiful art form. My character has been strengthened as I’ve persevered through learning new ways of putting fabric together. There may be more ‘quilt flowers’ in the future but here’s one for today.
I was helping a friend get started on a quilt one evening. She had all the proper equipment; a rotary cutter (this is like a scissor with a round blade), a cutting mat, acrylic ruler and her fabric, all the tools needed to get going and have success. (By the way she told me I could use this because she was sure I’d find a flower in here somewhere – I did.) I was helping her cut her fabric into the needed strips and squares. Unfortunately she was having no end of trouble with cutting straight. You need to understand that cutting straight is an integral part of the quilt process and not as easy as it may seem. We made sure she was holding her ruler correctly, lining up edges, that she was using proper technique and even wondered whether or not she was just too short. Finally, I took her cutter and tried it myself – and got the same nasty results. (We ruled the height issue out as I’m much taller than she is). I took a look at the cutter and realized that it was oriented for a left-handed person, my friend is right-handed, there was no way she would ever have any success with the tool the way it was. I changed the blade around and voila, she could cut straight just fine. It was a very frustrating time for her and fortunately we could salvage the material and had enough for her project. There were two flowers in all of this experience for me. One was how important it is to use the tools that are right for you. My friend had borrowed all the equipment from a friend, never thinking about what orientation her friend had. Sometimes we look at what someone else is doing and try to mimic their action, hoping to get the same results and meet with failure instead. The problem may not be that we are doing things ‘incorrectly’, the problem may be that we’re trying to use someone else’s stuff. God has created each one of us with unique skills, abilities, thoughts, ideas – ‘tools’ if you will. He has programmed them to work well especially in our hands and blesses the work of our hands. Even if you follow another’s footsteps, the pathway will have your unique flavour. This is a good thing. We weren’t meant to be clones. God is a multi-faceted being and He has created us in His image. It would stand to reason that we will all have different expressions of His character. May I encourage you to look at what God has placed in your hands. Use the gifts, talents, and skills that He has given you to worship Him. Even if you ‘borrow’ tools from someone else, make sure they work for you – change it up a little, get the kinks out and go for it. Whatever God has created you to do will be a thing of beauty as you surrender it to Him.
The second flower was that our life needs to be oriented to God. We must come under His Lordship or we will continually make a mess of the fabric of our life. My friend could have chosen to continue cutting with the blade facing the wrong way. To you and I that seems like a stupid thing to do, once you know what the problem is. However, we have a huge tendency to do that every day. We know that the way to peace and wholeness is to surrender to the Lord in every area of our lives and still we try to keep cutting through the muck and mire of daily life with our blade facing the wrong direction. We think that if we just hold this a little tighter, if we stand a little straighter, if we try a little harder, we’ll get it right. I have news for you, you won’t. Turn your blade around, orient yourself to His will and Lordship daily and you will have no problem cutting straight!!