May 09, 2011

Hobby Lobbying

Every single time I am filling out a form that asks me to list my hobbies I want to run and hide in a corner. I am the most un-hobbied person alive.

There's the standard "reading and excercising" response that seems to be very popular. I happen to love that answer because unless you indicate otherwise, reading People and walking to the mailbox and back make that answer valid.

I am always tempted to be flippant in my responses and put "eating chocolate and sleeping" just to shock the hobby police.

It's one of those questions that I always sit and stare at while I begin to feel more inadequate second by second.

About a month or so ago I happened to be in the office of the women's ministry director at our church. I popped in briefly to drop something off and found her in a meeting with the woman in charge of events at the church.

I was aware of a Spring Tea coming up and knew they were looking for table hostesses. As soon as I walked into the room I knew I would not be leaving unscathed.

Sure enough......I was coerced....I mean do it.

Let me just say that if it just involved sitting at a table and keeping conversation going? No problemo....sign me up.

Talking is a hobby I can claim as my own.

But no, it also meant DECORATING the table. A word that strikes fear in me like nothing else.

You have to realize, I come from Texas where events like this are popular. I have been to them. It is incredible what women can come up with........straight out of a magazine type stuff. Centerpieces with moving animals in cages. It's crazy!

I was assured by them that this was much more scaled down but that didn't stop me from being terrified.

Since procrastination can also make my hobby list, I promptly put the tea out of my mind.

It's a defense mechanism, people. Don't judge.

Last week I began getting the last minute emails and realized that no amount of denial was going to take away from the fact that I had to produce some kind of table for the tea on Saturday so I did what anyone else in my position would do.

I complained.....then I begged a friend to help me. And by help me, I meant design and create the whole thing for me.

My Texas friend, Tiffany, loves this kind of stuff so she got right to work creating a table for me while I cheered her on.

Add that to my list of hobbies.......I am a great cheerleader. Especially if you are doing something that makes my life easier!

My attitude was horrible but I qualified it with all kinds of churchy reasoning like:
"Hospitality really isn't one of my giftings" or even "I don't feel called to do this". Comments that anyone outside the church community wouldn't understand.

I went to Tiffany's house for a practice run where she made sure I did everything correctly. She told me I could do it, gave me plenty of instructions and sent me on my way with the promise that she could talk me through any disaster that might come up.

I dreamt the night before that I didn't get the table set in time and I came in last. Not that it was a competition or anything, but these kinds of things always seem to end with a winner and a "bless her heart, this just isn't her gifting" award.

I showed up at the church with all my stuff.....checklist in hand and walked into the room where the event was being held. I was slammed full force with major insecurity when I saw table after table decorated so beautifully for a tea.

A vegetable garden theme complete with fun things hanging from the ceiling, a butterfly theme with bows and birdcages with CUPCAKES inside. There was an English garden theme and chocolates at most tables.

I didn't even bring chocolates! I should know better than that! You always win....I mean minister better to women if you have chocolate at the table!

It was just beautiful in the room. Most women had been there the day before to decorate so it was just breathtaking. I have very few pictures because I was sending them to Tiffany while I was freaking out about my table that was not like the others.

I put my head down and got to myself a pep talk the whole time. Everything went in its place and I sent off a picture to Tiffany for her final approval.

That's right, we went all out Texas....complete with a cactus for every guest at the table. Tiffany lent me her awesome boots and I promised up and down that not one pastry or tea leaf would touch them.

As women starting filtering in and moving table to table to ooh and ahh over every single idea from the simple to the complex I started to realize that I was the one bringing judgement into this situation.

I left that day after the bandanas were packed up and the boots safely tucked away having learned a couple of valuable lessons.

How easy it is to assume judgement where there is none.

How easy it is to skirt obedience by claiming that we aren't "called" or "gifted".

The reality is that I had a Dutch friend and her cousin at my table that loved the decorations and 3 generations of women with roots in Texarkana that got a little taste of home that morning. It was perfect for them and that is what really mattered the most.

Add "getting a slap on the hand" to the list of things I'm good at.

There are a couple of things I've been asked to do that scare me. Plain and simple. I have been putting all kinds of labels on why I shouldn't do them but I have no peace about saying "no". I don't want to be dragged out of my comfort zone and I don't want to make myself that vulnerable. I want to just have Tiffany do it all for me.....or someone, anyone, else.

I want to wrap this all up with some deep theological insight, but I've got nothing. I have decisions that need to be made and lessons recently learned that aren't going to make it easy for me to anything other than say "yes".

But I have faith.

There.....put that on the list of hobbies.

Eating chocolate
Getting slapped on the hand

Now, where are those knitting needles?


  1. Every time you "confess," Keri, you amaze me. I too struggle with a lack of "hobbies." I mean, look at who are my parents and sibling! I'm the most "uncreative" of the bunch. I finally looked at my oldest daughter the other day, ashamed that I was saying I wasn't creative, and I said, "I am a WORDSMITH!" She started to laugh. But I realized that I lack confidence in my creativity and I too need to realize that life is not about judgment or competition; it's about trying, blessing, believing, and living. :) Sounds like y'all did some livin', and the table was beautiful--a refreshing reminder of "home."

    In my descriptions of you, I would put "focused" because you seem to strive to unclutter your life with hobbies. :) Just my observation. You focus on callings instead.

    Happy belated mother's day. Hugs from Texas. Know you are eager to get here this summer.

  2. I think many, many women can agree. And most of us need a good hand slap or knuckle swat:) Tell Tiffany great design and you had great execution! Beautiful table!



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