Hobbies can be one of the most effective ways to rest our bodies. They provide us with avenues for developing secondary skills and interests, for maintaining physical fitness and mental acuity, and for cultivating relationships. Drawing our attention away from present difficulties, they present us with the opportunity to return to the “real world” with a renewed perspective.
That there are many benefits to developing a hobby is undoubted, yet the very activities which help us to rest can also turn against us. Before you begin integrating hobbies into your rest, take a moment to ask the following questions:
- Does this glorify God? Believers should never turn off their sense of discernment – even when at rest. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything fun, but it does mean that we need to ensure the things we do for fun are in keeping with God’s commands.
- Does this hobby boarder on or has it already become an obsession? Scripture teaches the importance of self-control in all things and this includes our recreational activities. (1 Corinthians 9:25, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 1:5-7) If a side interest begins to crowd out other obligations, it needs to be brought into submission or dropped altogether.
- Does this hobby encourage ungodly attitudes in me? 2 Timothy 2:22 advises believers to, “flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace…” If your choice of recreation isn’t encouraging the godly attitudes listed here, it shouldn’t be on your list of pursuits! (At the same time keep in mind that just because a certain hobby isn’t good for you doesn’t mean that it needs to be avoided by every Christian. The same soccer game that leads to an abusive and overly competitive spirit in one believer can be genuinely relaxing and God honoring in the hands (or feet) of another!)
- Does this hobby actually result in rest? Truth be told, not every hobby helps us to rejuvenate. This doesn’t mean that we ought to chuck any hobby that doesn’t, just that we don’t include those activities in the time we’ve already scheduled for rest.
If you ask these questions about your hobby and the answer to each leaves you with a clear conscience, then feel free to include it in you “resting schedule”.
If the answer is “no”, it may be time to look for some other interests worth pursuing. Ask a friend what they do to relax, take a look through the courses being offered by your local art association or community college, or just wander through a book store until you find a subject that peaks your interest. You may be surprised at some of the unusual hobbies which present themselves!