Hobbies – from golfing or hiking, to researching stocks or rebuilding old cars – can bring lots of enjoyment into your life. But if you devote more attention to your hobbies than God intends, the rest of your life will suffer. Spending too much time and energy on your hobbies could lead to your estrangement from family and friends, and even from God.
It’s possible to enjoy your hobbies without losing sight of what matters most in life. Here’s how you can stop your hobbies from overtaking your life, and start enjoying the life God wants for you:
Examine your life. Reflect on your life honestly, and ask God to show you how you may be devoting too much attention to your hobbies at the expense of what’s more important (such as your marriage, parenting, or job).
Recognize where the problem lies – not with your passion, but with your priorities. It’s healthy for you to be a passionate person; God made you that way. So it’s okay to feel passionate about your hobbies. What’s problematic is getting your priorities out of order from God intends them to be. It’s unhealthy to run after your hobbies with such intensity that you neglect the other things you should be pursuing. Ask God to show you which of the relationships and activities in your life truly deserve to be high priorities for you. Decide right now to make your relationship with God your highest priority by placing it at the center of your life and revolving everything else around it.
Identify what’s motivating you to devote so much attention to your hobbies. Consider if you’re hoping to get closer to any of these from pursuing your hobbies: respect, fun, self-validation, challenge, rewards at unpredictable times, a sense of belonging, happiness from fulfilling dreams. Then consider if you’re using your hobbies to try to get away from any of these: shame, loneliness, chaos, boredom, or disappointing others. Then ask yourself two key questions: “Does my energy for a certain passion spring out of a healthy, ordered heart?” and “Does my passion signal that there is a problem inside?”