Chapter 37 – Interests and Hobbies

 

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

– Romans 12:4-8, NIV

We are so blessed to have almost limitless options when it comes to pastimes and interests. There is such a vast array of hobbies available if we choose to pursue them, so many things to consume our attention and keep us happy. In my current job as a Community Builder I have come across some groups of people with hobbies that I had never heard of, such as egg-crafters (Google it – it’s very impressive!); miniature-makers; walking-football; playing Whist; playing long-mat, short-mat or lawn Bowls, as well as various kinds of Skittles (which I had previously thought was the same thing as Bowling – how wrong I was!), and many others.

And it is wonderful that everyone has an interest or hobby of some sort! Even those who have very little time for ‘hobbies’ have particular little things they enjoy, like a favourite TV programme or a favourite food or place to eat, or someone they like to chat with each week. I myself enjoy painting, dancing Argentine Tango and playing the Celtic harp. My sister watches Snooker and helps present a radio show. A friend of mine gets through three or four full-length novels every week. I find it very inspiring that we are presented with such an immense variety of interests and hobbies: there are so many options that we could pursue for personal enjoyment.

It is inspiring, too, to realise that God Himself, the Maker of the Universe, is interested in what we do for fun. He has given us the ability to enjoy ourselves, to pursue interests, to commit to our chosen activities or programmes, to take an interest, to develop our minds – He is infinitely creative and has put a small part of that inside each one of us. What’s more, He has put us in the position of being able to access the resources that we have to pursue our interests and practice our hobbies, e.g. owning musical instruments or TVs, being able to access sports clubs, community centres, etc. I love that God wants us to enjoy ourselves, and that He has provided so many options!

So in recognition of His generosity in this regard, let us be thankful, wholeheartedly thankful – and let us surrender ourselves once again into His hands. Let us surrender our minds, our interests, our activities, our hobbies, all the things that we enjoy: let us offer them back to Him in surrender. He uses those things to bless, revive and encourage us, so let us be thankful to Him and surrender our interests into His hands. Maybe He has ideas to get us into a new interest or hobby. Or maybe He has plans to use our interests and hobbies in new ways – such as to bless other people.

I have come across skittles groups, for example, that provide life-changing support to some individuals through the friendships formed at those groups. And craft groups whose handiwork is used to benefit great causes, such as charitable donations from sales of homemade items, and homemade blankets sent to parts of the world where they are immensely appreciated. And a friend’s interests in DIY and mechanics have been immensely helpful to my husband and I, and to others we know, on a number of occasions.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

– 1 Corinthians 10:31, NIV

Maybe it is worth considering, how might God be able to use our interests and our hobbies to bless others and build His Kingdom, as well as enriching our own lives? Let us surrender ourselves and our interests to Him, and be willing to let Him use us and use our interests and hobbies in the ways that He might want to!

Perhaps even more importantly is God’s desire for us to involve Him in every area of our lives. We know and readily acknowledge that He is always with us – but we don’t necessarily remember this when we are out having fun with friends, or watching our favourite TV programme, or playing an instrument, or chatting on the phone, or painting, or whatever else it may be that we do for fun. I believe that God is intimately interested in every part of our lives and wants to be involved in all that we do – especially when we are doing the things that we are most interested in or feel most strongly about.

So may we surrender to God our interests and hobbies, and choose to involve Him. Even if our hobby or interest seems meaningless to anyone else – if it means something to us, God wants to be a part of it. May we surrender to Him, and be thankful to Him for our hobbies. May we recognise His presence with us when we are doing the things that we enjoy the most, and enjoy them with Him. We could even invite Him to be with us, in the knowledge that He already is. May we surrender, and walk with Him through every part of life each day. May we know Him as our constant companion, our closest Friend, our guide and comfort and joy. May we surrender, and learn to know Him and trust Him more deeply, and follow Him more closely, and understand His heart and His will and His motives more clearly as we spend time in His presence throughout each day, whatever we may be doing. May we surrender to God our hands, and let Him use them, shaping us to act as His hands and feet in a broken world, even while doing the things we enjoy the most.

 

God, my Father and my Friend,

Thank You for the things I enjoy!

Thank You for all that You have given me – all my abilities and talents, my hobbies, my friends, my interests.

I’m sorry for ignoring You and forgetting You at times, living as if my life were my own.

I surrender to You my interests and hobbies – please, be with me as I enjoy myself, and use me!

Help me to remember Your presence with me at all times, and to enjoy life with You by my side.

I surrender to You my hobbies, my hands and all that I do – please teach me.

Teach me to prioritise Your will, to love and serve and to find joy in doing what pleases You.

May I live in Your ways, having fun and resting the way You want me to, knowing that You are always with me.

Amen

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