Thursday, February 12, 2015

How an Introvert Makes Friends Through Crocheting in Church

In the month that my husband and I have been in Cactus, I've gotten a reputation as a crocheter in our local church. This reputation is well-founded, because every Sunday School lesson, every Sunday service, and every Wednesday Bible Study, I am crocheting a scarf.

While to some this may seem rude or even outright disrespectful of the speaker & God, I do not crochet out of spite or in order to distract myself.

Why I crochet:  I am able to focus on the lesson better when my hands are occupied. Without something to keep my hands busy, I fidget terribly. In the past, I would play with my "fidget rock," a smooth rock to keep my hands busy, but I would often drop it or misplace it in my purse. Keeping my hands busy helps me to still my mind & not chase rabbit trails through the Bible (since a Study Bible, while wonderful, can change my focus from the speaker to the footnotes & side articles).

How it effects others: I let my teachers, pastors, and fellow church-members know that I fidget unless I have something to occupy my hands. By being upfront about what I am doing & why I am doing it, people don't have to wonder at my actions instead of paying attention to the speaker. Most of my work is done in my lap so it's not a huge distraction for others.

What blessing does it bring: My hobby gives me something else to look forward to about Sundays & Wednesdays. Most days, I do not crochet at all. Other days, I may just crochet in the evening while my husband & I watch a movie. Because I am connecting an activity that I like with church services that I like, I end up really looking forward to the services & the conversations that follow.

How I'm not distracted: I am doing simple repetitive stitches so I can put down my project to look up a Bible passage and so I don't need to be counting stitches. It helps me push out mental distractions & focus on the speaker's message.

Why I want to keep it up: Most importantly, I feel like this is a community-building activity. I am a shy person and it is a daunting task to begin to get to know an entire congregation. Since I started crocheting, I have met other crocheters, knitters, and sewers in the church. We are talking, not just about the weather, but also about our hobbies & our progress in them. Because of this, I am learning names & starting friendships. While people are nice when they don't know my hobbies, I feel valued when I am asked about the progress of my scarf & how well I am learning stitches.

When a friend of mine moved into a new neighborhood & got a puppy, she noticed that her neighbors talked more with her after she got the puppy. It's like people are waiting for an invitation to begin meaningful conversations.

I challenge you to look for ways of going beyond small talk. Find ways to learn more about new people & share about your own interests.

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