A Greater Goal: Condensed

{a short version for clarity and speed!}

In recent months, I have been seeking to find balance. There is so much I love to do that I can’t do it all, and so I decided to take a look at my life in light of scripture and assess my priorities, goals, and time use. What I aim to say here isn’t black and white; it requires a fine balance. We must learn to understand the usefulness of hobbies for relaxation, growth, and blessing others, without filling our time with hobbies so that we don’t “have time” for what God has commanded us to do.

As daughters, most of us know the pattern for biblical womanhood, are learning to work at home, and preparing to love our husbands and children, if the Lord gives them to us. These are good things that are laid out for us in scripture as God’s beautiful design for women. But they’re not the goal, and our hobbies also aren’t the goal.

I think we all would say we know that life is about more than being a good wife and mother, but it’s hard to live that way. As daughters, our discretionary time is often filled up with hobbies. We can turn a hobby into a business, or make quilts to bless mothers, bread to feed the homeless, and hats for crisis pregnancy centers. We learn character through ripping out seams to re-sew the quilt square, scrubbing sinks, or patiently waiting for bread to rise. But we can also be so busy with hobbies that we have no time to do what He’s commanded us to do. We think we are being fruitful – after all, we’re busy and we made five quilts this week! But we can produce a lot and not be fruitful. We can check off all the things on our lists and not be faithful. Being busy does not equal being fruitful, and it does not equal being faithful.

This begs the question “What is being faithful?”  God doesn’t leave us floundering in this regard! He gives us very clear guidance with how we as women should be spending our time.

Proverbs 31:10-31. Note that while the Proverbs 31 woman is skilled, busy, and productive, she is praised not for what she does, but because she fears the Lord. Why are you praised?

Titus 2:3-5. This emphasizes that while we need to know how to keep the home, character traits are also important. Are you learning godly character?

1 Timothy 5:9-15. Why a passage about widows? The widows who are supported by the church are women who are already doing these things when their husbands die. Are you doing these things, or are you too busy with hobbies?

We don’t have time for all of this and our hobbies. We need to be sure we’re preparing for the right things and investing in what really matters. A meek and quiet spirit is harder to learn than making bread and cleaning sinks, and it’s more important than a clean house and good food. But even so, you don’t learn a meek and quiet spirit in books. You learn it in real life – when the baby gets ahold of your knitting or when schedule conflicts mean you give something you really wanted to do to cook for the sick. You learn it when you’re cleaning sinks, especially when the sink is your own family’s and there’s no glamor or pride in saying you helped the single mother.

The question isn’t if hobbies are good or bad – it’s “how am I using my hobbies?” They can keep us from spending time with our siblings, or they can train a girl’s hands to better care for her home and family. They can be used to turn your house into an immaculate display or to make it into a home that is comfortable and aesthetically beautiful. But, they can take time from what we should be investing in, and when we get so excited about them, they can actually hide what is of the utmost importance: God and the gospel. While we can and should enjoy them, they’re not a focal point of life, conversation, or blogs. If we’re Christians, shouldn’t we be known for Christ? Shouldn’t our conversation be about Him? Shouldn’t He be what makes us stand out, not our “goodness” or skills (though they both come from Him)?

If our goals and pleasures come from these things, we will be disappointed. Our greatest joy and hope should be Christ; our investment in His Kingdom. We so become preoccupied with the little things in life, being content with eating mud pies when there is a feast. We need to examine our lives: are we more about our hobbies or about the glorious God who has saved us? Do we care more about homeschooling and dressing modestly than we do about the gospel? While other things have importance and the gospel has implications for them, salvation by grace alone in Christ Jesus should be our first priority, and we should first and foremost be known for being His followers.

Living a certain way will not save you. Christ alone can save. Being a “good Christian girl” will not save you – whether that goodness is knitting and baking or caring for the afflicted and showing hospitality. But there is a way to live that shows His saving grace and that leads to a life that adorns the gospel rather than reviling His word (Titus 2:5). Don’t make an idol of His commands or a way of life. Worship Him!

If you aren’t a believer, repent! If you are, then you must take this to a second level. Are you living the way God wants you to, or are you living ultimately for yourself?

Ladies, let’s have a bigger vision than being “good” and knitting, baking, and sewing. Examine your time. Make the best use of it, redeem it. Search scripture to determine what your priorities should be. Examine your heart – are you being a “good Christian” or living for Christ above all?

Let’s not strive for good knitting, the praise of men, someday having immaculate houses, being modest, or just being good daughters. Loving babies, serving our families, knitting, and writing – all of these are wonderful gifts, but they are means to an end, not the end. Don’t be so busy with hobbies that you forget to do what God has commanded us to do. Knit – but do it to serve and not for your own gain. Bake – but do it to build up the church, not receive the praise of men. Hold babies – and help and bless mothers when you do so! Learn when you need to put your hobbies aside to spend your time elsewhere – but also learn when you need to pick them up.

As living sacrifices thankful for what He’s done for us, let’s press forward to the goal, not getting entangled in civilian pursuits, but being faithful with what scripture commands us to do, for our sanctification, for discipleship, known for good works, building up the church, evangelism, our families. Do it by knitting, cleaning, baking, sewing, praying, talking, serving, and many other ways, for the glory of GOD alone, that His name would be praised and exalted and that He would be worshiped.

 

 

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