I have a friend in Wisconsin who recently discovered her great love and talent for knitting. She’s made some amazing things this winter! I adore this picture of the smile on her face coupled with the display of her fabulous craftsmanship. Chris has found something special – a way to express her strong attention to detail, perseverance and love for her family.
There was a time I thought I would find those things in knitting, too.
Eight years ago when we lived in Wisconsin I was pregnant with our first child and exploring what it looks like to be a homemaker. My friends were particularly adept at the art of homemaking. I was inspired by their passion and ability to garden, cook, sew and…knit. I didn’t have much interest in these skills until the reality of motherhood began to hit me. As my baby bump grew I felt an increasing desire to imitate my friends so I could create a similarly homey atmosphere for my little family.
I went to the store and purchased knitting needles and yarn. One of my friends taught me the simplest knot and started me off on my very first knitting project. It took a couple of weeks but I was excited to see the scarf grow from the labor of my hands. I finished and held my triumph before me, then realized…one end was twelve inches long and the other end was six! I have no idea how I lost so many stitches! I looked at it and just started to laugh. My knitting project was quite similar to all my other projects requiring precision of hand: a hot mess! I made the instantaneous decision that I would never knit again.
My declaration was not made out of embarrassment or defeat, I simply accepted that I am not made to pay detailed attention to projects I do with my hands. It was an empowering, exciting moment. In minutes I was at my knitting mentor’s home, surrendering my needles and yarn.
And I never looked back.
My heart swells when I see friends in their game – doing their thing. I celebrate them, learn from them, benefit from them and am inspired by them. But…
I don’t need to be them.
Through trial and error I continuously explore what it means for me to be a homemaker. Now that I’m not nurturing tiny children, I’ve found that I can nurture a garden. I enjoy cooking healthy meals for my family. I write. I think. I have deep conversations. And I throw parties. When I focus on developing my strengths that are highlighted in these activities – rather than tying myself in knots knitting – I feel more alive.
This morning my friend and Strengths Coach Laurie Hock led our small group in discussion about our strengths (take the Clifton StrengthsFinder here). With her guidance we are all beginning to understand how things that have made us feel different, weird or wrong in the past may actually be our brightest and most unique contributions to the world. She offered this very important point: “You can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be more of who you are.”
Another friend, referring to her small stature, said “The idea that we can be anything we want to be is not true! I will never be a great basketball player (no matter how hard I work at it)!”
You can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be more of who you are.
I could have spent my entire pregnancy working on knitting a scarf with equal ends. But what interests and strengths of mine would I be neglecting to develop or offer as I trudge through the effort of becoming simply proficient at knitting? I ended up spending that time painting items for the nursery and reading.
Here’s the thing:
I could huff and puff on my weaknesses and end up with a nice bunch of party balloons but no energy left to party.
Or I could apply effort to developing my interests and strengths and find that the fire I ignite fills a hot air balloon that brings the party to the sky!
So here’s to you, my beautiful friend who knits up in the clouds!
I will meet you there with ideas and questions.
You will offer me warmth. I will offer you depth.
And together we will make a home for the world.
For more information about Strengths Coaching and Speaking, contact Laurie Hock through her website www.growingpoints.biz. She has helped me tremendously in the past few months as I’ve begun to step into my calling.
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What are your interests and strengths? Are you willing to offer them?
Let’s meet in the clouds!
Click to Read this related post: Stretch Into Who You Are – like it’s your JOB!