Sewing Patterns – Life Patterns

by | Oct 25, 2017 | Devotional | 3 comments

I love to read. From Dr. Seuss to autobiographies to my personal favorite – suspense – I love the written word. As a kid, I even enjoyed reading the ingredients labels on lotions and perfumes! Okay…maybe I still do that sometimes.

But one thing I struggle with (even despise on occasion) is the instruction manual – the step-by-step guide to doing amazing things. Some, like cookbooks, are fine; sewing patterns on the other hand? Oh! Sewing patterns are the worst! I’ve been stitching material together for almost twenty years now – you would think the patterns wouldn’t be a problem for me. But they continue to be a source of irritation.

When I begin a new project, I cut the material, make my way to the sewing machine, and unfold the directions. I look at steps 1-5, expecting everything to fall neatly into place in my brain. After all, I’ve been doing this for a while now.

Invariably however, I barely get past step one (if that) before I’m squinting at the directions thinking, “What in the world are you trying to get me to do? Baste? You want me to baste pieces 2 and 4 between the dots? You’ve got to be crazy!”

Hoping that the more I read, the more I’ll understand, I look ahead. To my dismay, the next steps don’t make sense either because they are built on the foundation of the first ones. I turn the envelope over, stare at the color photo of a model wearing that classy dream dress, then look back at the nonsensical paper I hold in my hand, rereading what my mind refuses to grasp.

I like to see the big picture, to know how I’m going to get to where I’m going. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening. Frustration sets in as my gaze turns to the unidentifiable pieces of cut material.

Then something clicks. I don’t have to understand how all the pieces will come together. I don’t have to have everything in order in my brain before I start. I just have to follow each step as it comes. That doesn’t mean I’ll do it perfectly, and the finished product probably won’t look quite as good as what I have in mind, but it will come together.

Life is like a sewing pattern in some ways. No, God doesn’t hand us a sheet of paper and say, “Everything you need to know is right here.” But He does lead us, step by step, along the way. Many times, His directions make no sense – to us – but they are an essential part of His master plan (Isaiah 55:8-9). He knows what He’s doing.

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  1. Jessari

    I hate to admit that, although I have perused your website and read your flash fiction, this is my first time reading your blog. ¡Qué gacho! This was insightful, and your writing voice makes it very easy to read. Now I’m off to read more entries!

    • Angela Carlisle

      Awesome! Thank you!

  2. Katherine Swarts

    I have a similar problem: I procrastinate working on big goals because I want someone else to figure out the big picture and give me the step-by-step list for my part–and when that doesn’t happen, I freeze up. I’m a poor work-hunter: “sell yourself again and again until enough people say Yes” feels like a running-in-circles exercise in futility to my brain.


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Angela Carlisle

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Here, you are likely to see – well, anything related to books or the writing life and maybe even a short story on occasion. Grab a cup of tea and join me for a glimpse into my thoughts.

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