Newsletter #493 – Do Busy People Have Time for Hobbies?

About a year ago a close friend suggested that I needed a hobby and urged me to take up the photography that I abandoned after high school. The idea brought laughter from another friend who joked that the last thing I needed was something else in my hyperactive life. Wouldn’t photography become another item on my to-do lists pushing me to take quality pictures that would never meet my standards? Wasn’t my little point-and-shoot camera enough for the occasional pictures that I take and then rarely look at again? Alternatively might I get hooked like some of my friends are married to golf or gaming? Recently I met a psychology student who mentioned that he was into photography but planned to sell his two-year-old Nikon because he needed to upgrade. I ended up with both the camera and its former owner as my teacher.

The value of a hobby is in the doing. It is an activity that we value in itself with no ulterior motives. Hobbies are innately relaxing and rejuvenating. Their purpose is diversion from more routine or pressing activities. Golf is a hobby when it is played because the golfer enjoys it, maybe loves it. Golf is not a hobby when it’s purpose is to show off one’s capabilities or to close business deals. Hobbies can produce quality performances, accomplishments or art that others admire and that bring a sense of personal satisfaction. Through hobbies we can enjoy making an impact, learning something new or building skills but these are secondary benefits.

Alejandro my camera teacher loves taking pictures and he does this well. He takes his camera wherever he goes and clearly enjoys teaching me. (That’s Alejandro in the picture above. It’s one of the first I’ve taken). Might I jump into this but then get busy and conclude that I don’t have time for hobbies? In contrast will I be so motivated to do well that this becomes more demanding than relaxing? Most of us know the value of hobbies but busy people often put leisure activities near the bottom of their priority lists.

I’m beginning sense stirrings in me to indicate that I could make room for this and even enjoy it.

What about your observations on hobbies? Please comment.

  1. Gary – you’ve hit a real nerve with me. Strange that you mention my two favorite pastimes…photography and golf. Both of these I do, but, as you state, NOT up to the level I would like. But that’s because I don’t give them the time they require to become “good” at them. But your note reminds me that they indeed are “hobbies” and not my profession. As a pastor to seniors, the people are vastly more important than the flowers (barns in my case) or “par”. What I enjoy about photography is seeing the awesome beauty of God’s creation and golf gives me the opportunity to get some fresh air and good fellowship out in that creation. Now – can you arrange for Alejandro to pop up here to Canada for some lessons?
    Blessings.

    • Pastor Stu, I will raise this with Alejandro and see what I can do. I don’t think he has ever been to Canada. If you are from Oakville I will come with him. I grew up near you in Hamilton.

  2. I used to think that hobbies were for people that did not have as much to do as I do, but in the last few years I realized I needed to do something that had nothing to do with my counseling ministry. I started learning to cultivate dwarf trees (which are bigger than bonsai trees). I have now 14 Jacaranda trees and I have also started working on some other plants. This new activity has really opened great possibilities for me. I enjoy working on them an feel relaxed after doing it. It takes me three or less hours a week and I have realized that for this hobby to work for me I have to schedule the time I am going to invest on my trees, otherwise it will not happen and they would die. Congratulations on your new hobby, make sure it gets in your calendar. I remember planting flowers with you in the spring, do you still do that?

    • Sergio – Nope. The flower planting has gone. When it got to be too much work to be enjoyable I moved on. Next visit to Guatemala I liook forward to enjoying your trees and leaving you to take care of them.

    • Larry Skahill
    • August 16th, 2012

    I too used to think I was too busy for hobbies. Fortunately, my friends did not give up inviting me along. My two favs are free-diving/spearfishing and playing the piano. God has even shown me how to use both of these to serve him: I’m a backup for our music minister and I use diving as a metaphor in my life coaching and writing. Both hobbies have profound spiritual impact in my life. When I dive i.e., I’m hyper aware that I am not of the ocean world in the same way that as Christians we are not of this world. I enjoy my dive more as I interact with and am in the ocean world. When I return to shore I have a deeper appreciation for the specialness of life and take greater joy in people and other parts of life I might have not paid attention to previously. And on top of all that, I get some pretty tasty fillets every now and then! Thanks for the topic. It’s almost as if I just went for a dive. Nice start to the day. 🙂

  3. So thankful for the opportunity to think about hobbies in this progressive framework. It is funny, because it tempts me to think about the mantra that has overtaken this culture regarding our work – “Do what you love.” I’ve heard of many people who took hobbies from their youth and converted those hobbies into professions. I remember when I was hoping to convert my youth summer experience of going on Colorado river rafting trips into interning as a college-age river raft guide. My application was turned down, and, thankfully, I had the opportunity to keep this activity in the “hobby” category and build on it over the years with camping and backpacking.

    • Bruce Zoeller
    • August 27th, 2012

    I believe the real question is what passions has God placed in us. If we have a passion for a particular “hobby”, then we should invest time with that “hobby” to see what God would have us do with it. To put a “hobby” on our calendar for the sake of having a “hobby” does no one any good.
    The real challenge we have is not “do we spend time pursuing a hobby?”. it is discerning how BEST God would have us use our time. That requires protecting time with God to be sure our priorities are well understood. Then the “hobbies” will take care of themselves.

    • Thanks Bruce. I always appreciate your insights. I am trying to disengage from the idea that a hobby always needs to have a purpose. Sometimes a hobby is a way to “be still” and enjoy God’s presence and beauty and provision.

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