I Corinthians 12: Unity and Variety.
Now in regard to spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be unaware….
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit;there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit;to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes.
When I first started this post I had a pretty specific situation in mind I realized that writing it might make a challenging situation worse by making it totally public. That would not be good. Since I started writing this I’ve had a bit of an attitude change or more to the point I’ve had time to think before reacting and that is good and holy. The situation will resolve itself and I can focus in on something a bit more specific.
“Quilting is a beautiful and complicated art” was once the tagline on terificreations and it is still the title of my talk. Quilting is, indeed, a beautiful and complicated art. There are rules and those rules are meant to be challenged Quilt Market and Festival tell the story in one place. Debuting this week: fabric lines from every major company, new machines and features for others, vendors from all over the country with new patterns and notions. The possibilities in quilt making are endless! One of my very dear friends is approaching fabric companies to see who might be interested in her fabric designs. Then there are the quilts. Oh! the quilts, each one as unique as their maker and quilter (not all are the same). Even when you look at quilts that have been made from kits there are differences – usually in the details like the quilting and the type of batting which give subtle hints about the quilt maker.
Looking at the different styles of quilting gives us a further clue to the uniqueness of the quilter. With hand work, machine work, applique (hand, machine and fused), patchwork, whole cloth, art quilting and long arm quilting, machine quilting on a home sewing machine, hand quilting (lap, hoop, frame, no frame). Each quilt maker is drawn to the style that is best suited for them. This happens over time as we’re exposed to the different quilts and quilt makers. Each style gives us a broad expanse to explore with endless variety to grow and develop a personal style allowing us to delve more into the Creativity that God rests in our hearts and minds.
I’ve struggled for years with an “I want to be like this quilter” or “I want to have that quilters career” or “I’ll never be as good as this quilter”. There came a moment when I recognized 2 things: 1) jealousy diminishes and 2) by listening to God, pursing the things that I really love and putting in a lot of work I’ve found my own style and in that my own giftedness.
Jealousy oh jealousy. Jealousy. I can wax on and on the depth that jealousy plagues us as quilters. Truthfully I think we all get how jealousy effects us. The negative, “I’m not good enough” things we tell ourselves.
The truth of it is
Unless we do the work, play, practice, struggle we’ll continue to be mired in the ugliness of jealousy, not do the work. The work by the way is not just about creativity, it’s about honoring God. When we actively participate in the work God gives us we honor him. I know that I sometimes forget that…to honor God in my work, to be grateful for the work, for the learning process, including the frustration of learning.
The quilts in this post have something in common. Both quilts were born in the challenges of working in the quilting world. Debby was getting her paperwork in order to go teach in Russia; and I was struggling with so much as a quilter. Knowing Debby’s story and the image that inspired her quilt I had an immediate idea for a quilt. I decided to make this one – in the middle of a hard due date of course.
Debby’s quilt uses her strong suit, good imagery and quilting. Read her full story here. I loved the quilt immediately and had some ideas of my own. The first quilt I made I left at Houston for a mug rug swap. The second is pictured here and Debby owns this. The third is above and I love this. It’s currently at work waiting to be hung on the wall.
One concept, two quilters entering into the Creative process with very different outcomes. Of course I’ll say without a doubt I copied Debby’s homework, but the truth is…we each have our own style and pursue that style with reckless abandon. It’s taken us both a lot to get here. But like quilting it’s a process learning what our gifts are and how to thank God for them and enter into the process.
It does mean letting go of jealousy and other emotions that lead us away from what God wants of us – our gift, our work…