I stole the title of this post from my MOPS devotional book.
I just read Chapter 8 today, Confidence Over Conformity: Remembering what we love.
The author talks about how she made a friend at a playdate for her son. They were talking about finding time for the things they like – writing for the author and painting for her friend. The author was writing a book and her friend lamented having no time for art anymore.
I have encountered that sentiment a lot as I somewhat publicly pursue my own interests. I have had people tell me that I’m lucky to be able to do what I love because not everyone can. I’m told that there just isn’t time for mom or dad to focus on themselves. I’m told that to do lists are just too long and the days too full and the nights too short to spend ourselves.
The author goes on to share a story of when she was in a spelling bee in second grade. She got second place and her mother considered it a waste of time. The author never entered another spelling bee. And she struggles to pursue her creative interests because they are “time wasters”.
How often do we all fall into that trap? There are so many more things I could DO instead of knit. Or write. Or run. Or read. Or create. Or consume. Or enjoy.
I could do that load of laundry that’s been staring at me for days. Or just quick unload the dishwasher… and then load it… and then wash down all the counters. Or clean this thing. Or that thing. Or find something “developmental” for my kids to do. Or whatever else. The list just goes on.
In the past few years, I’ve really started to embrace who I am and what I enjoy. At first, I felt like I needed to make money doing these things to make them worthwhile. If I could sell what I knitted, THEN it would be worth my time to spend hours knitting. If I could just get paid to write, THEN it wouldn’t be a waste of time to write. If I could just start on the path to being a famous, sponsored ultramarathoner, THEN it would be worth all the training time required.
Now, I do these things simply because I enjoy them. Because I need to do things I enjoy to maintain my sanity. Because I am me. I am Cari. I am not JUST mother or JUST wife. I am not defined by my relationships to others. God has given me gifts that are intended to simply be enjoyed.
It’s hard to break out of that mindset, isn’t it?
That our interests are only worth pursuing if they accomplish another means. Because enjoyment somehow isn’t a good enough reason to engage in our hobbies.
Growing up, my parents, like all parents, weren’t perfect. They did stuff that screwed me up just like your parents screwed you up and like I will screw up my kids. One thing they did really well, though, was to encourage us exploring interests. I was in Girl Scouts and band and choir and track and cross country and plays and musicals and church and youth group and on and on. I was never the best one, though. I wasn’t first chair. I wasn’t section leader. I wasn’t the perennial winner. I didn’t even get my Gold award.
What I did get, though, is much better. I got support in the things I liked to do. And now, as an adult, it’s been pretty easy to throw off the chains of “I should…” and embrace “I do it because I enjoy it.” I don’t need to make money to make it worthwhile.
How about you? Did you feel supported in your interests? Did you have to be the best for it to be worthwhile? Did you have to have the right interests? Were you completely different from your parents and they were totally cool with it? Did they pursue your interests with you?
What struggles do you have with pursuing hobbies today?
What lies are you believing that say carving out time for yourself is wrong?
God made us all unique. And that includes our hobbies. That includes finding things to do that make us happy. Finding our passions and our interests and using our skills. Even as a Christian, not everything we do needs to be overtly Christian. Perhaps simply enjoying who God made us to be is a good enough testimony. I am worth spending time on myself.
Being creative for the sake of creativity is a great use of our time and energy. God is the ultimate in exploring creativity. How could a creative God think that spending time in creative pursuits is not worthwhile?
Friends, you are worth spending time on yourselves doing things you enjoy simply because you enjoy them. We need to stop believing the lies that say unless we make money or are “accomplishing something”, that our pursuits aren’t worthwhile.
If you like to write, write even if no one will ever read it. If you like to run, run even if you will never race. If you like to read, read even if you never discuss what you’ve read with anyone. And so on. Even if you never make money. Even if those around you don’t understand. Even if those around you try to make you feel bad for investing in yourself.
I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. That’s what Jesus said. The thief comes to destroy and Jesus comes to give life.
Are you believing the thief? Or Jesus?
What can you do today to start eroding your belief in the lie and start building your belief in the truth?