As a teenager in high school, I took a class in Home Economics. My teacher taught our class to cook and sew. We had to learn to go strictly by a recipe to make bread or a cake or whatever we were going to cook that day. Not one time did she ever tell us to go in the kitchen and just dump any assortment of ingredients in a bowl and see what we would come up with!
The same rules applied to our sewing. We had to be measured to see what size pattern to buy. Then we had to carefully cut the pattern out and pin it on the material. The really tedious part started then. Very carefully we had to cut around the pattern pieces, making sure we cut a single notch at certain places and a double notch at others so we could make the pieces fit together right once we had them cut out. (If you sew you will know what I’m talking about….if not, that’s o.k.!) Oh my, but it was often annoying! Trying to take those odd shaped pieces of cloth and fit them together to make a garment was a challenge to most of us. Sometimes we would put them together backwards or upside down. We would get a laugh out of it but then we would have to pull out the threads and start over.
Once I was making a dress with long sleeves and my teacher made me take one sleeve out three or four times before SHE was satisfied with the results. By then it had so many little needle holes around the sleeve opening where I had taken the seams apart that I was almost afraid I would not be able to wear it out in public. I just hated taking the thing apart and starting over. But my teacher was trying to teach us to do things right.
I hated it then but now as I look back on it, I appreciate the lessons she helped me to learn. She taught me that we need a pattern for life. Alongside the lessons of cooking and sewing, she threw in lessons of morality and human kindness. She helped me to realize that things don’t just “happen”… there has to be a plan or a pattern and then good old hard work to make it happen.
So it is also in the spiritual realm. We don’t just grow in the Lord accidentally. We have to have a plan or a pattern. There has to be fellowship with Him through prayer and Bible study and then there will be growth. When we make our own plans without seeking the Lord’s will, then sometimes He has to “rip out the seams” and start over. This can be a painful time in our lives and we may wonder if we will ever be able to be seen again “out in public” when we feel like there are scars out there for all to see. But our Lord is a Master workman and his work turns out beautiful every time. If we will just follow His pattern, the Bible, then we will be able to avoid the painful process of starting over so often.
(1 Timothy 1: 16 “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a PATTERN to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”)
Praying that I will follow God's pattern more so that I have to start over less often!