Hobbies and Repentance

Posted: July 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

There are many things in this life that we can enjoy and should be enjoyed. Some are most important to enjoy, like spending time with The Lord, spending time with our families, and spending time with other Christian believers. Other things are not so important but still great things to be enjoyed, like, having a good steak, spending time with friends, going on vacation, and any other thing that brings great joy and puts a smile on your face. I believe that all of these things, as well as any other good things, are truly to be enjoyed to the fullest.

For me, I have a habit of enjoying the things that are not so important way too much. Especially hobbies. I love watching baseball, going to baseball games, and playing softball. I love shredding at the skatepark or the local trails on my BMX bike. I love heading off into the hills on my mountain bike. I love Saturday morning rounds of golf. I love going to off-road races in the desert, staring into the sky at night, eating at taco stands in the middle of Mexico, and flying through the desert in a truck so fast that everything is a blur. All of these things are great fun and make life all the more enjoyable. They get me outside, I get some exercise, they are spent with great friends, full of lots of laughs and smiles, and leave me with memories that will last forever that I will always look back on with a thankful heart.

The hobbies themselves clearly aren’t bad. But when they become the most important things, they are a problem. When I say the most important things, I am both talking about what I am physically spending my time doing, and also what I spend my time thinking about. This is my problem.

I fall into the habit of letting my thoughts be consumed by things that don’t matter the most, which in turn doesn’t leave room for my thoughts to be filled by the things that are most important. Mostly my relationship with Christ, my marriage to the most wonderful woman, and being dad to my handsome little guy Austin. It’s heartbreaking and it’s unfortunately not new for me. It is something that I have wrestled with for years. The difference is that now I have a lot more at stake. It affects more people, people who are dependent on me, and a failure on my part to be fully devoted to them with my time and my thoughts can be devastating. Not just while I am with them, but also when I am not with them. It is imperative that I am devoted to them in my thoughts and actions 24/7.

This weekend I had to confess to my wife that I had sinned against her, against our son, and against our Lord Jesus Christ. As I asked for her for forgiveness, in love and kindness she drew nearer to me as she forgave me. She is such a reflection of God’s grace and forgiveness as she acts in a Christlike way by drawing near when I have pulled away, by forgiving when I have sinned, by reminding me of her commitment to me no matter what, and that we are one with Christ and one with one another.

I am not sure how I continue to go down this road over and over again. I know what I should be doing, but I can’t seem to stay focused and do the things I should be doing. It’s not only that I know what I should and shouldn’t be doing, it’s that I’m not doing what I want to be doing most. There is nothing in the world I would rather do than dwell on the scriptures and on Christ, to spend every waking minute with my wife and son serving them, and to be devoted to the building of God’s kingdom. Yet while having those things as my deepest longing and desire, I somehow manage to spend a lot of my time doing other things and thinking about other things.

Let me explain exactly what I am talking about and what I am not talking about. I am not talking about the things that I must do every day like going to work, doing things around the house, going to school, or doing anything else you are responsible for. I am talking about the extra things that are mostly, if not entirely, for fun or enjoyment.

For me this is watching baseball games, riding one of my bikes, playing golf, playing softball, or woodworking. Now I can justify doing all of those things and convince myself that they are very important things. For example, I play golf to get some exercise and maintain relationships with friends, I ride my bikes to get exercise, watching baseball is something I just watch in the background while I am doing something else, I play softball with friends from church so it is part of living in community with other believers, and that my time in the garage doing woodworking is because I am building something for my home that I need. While all of that is very true, its only part of the truth because the other truth is that I often use those reasons to justify why I am not doing the most important things because I am still doing good things.

An even bigger problem for me is what I think about each day and where my thoughts are. I can be held captive by what I am thinking about and be completely distracted without knowing it. While at work, at church, with my family, I can be physically present and be entirely somewhere else. A recent example would be my love of bicycles. I collect BMX bikes. All kinds of them both old and new. They remind me of the great memories I have as a kid going everywhere on my bike and all of the adventures I had. I still ride them every chance I get to. It could be around the block, going to the local skatepark, or it could be at the local trails. There are just few things that put a smile on my face like flying through the air on my bike or learning a new trick I have been practicing. I will think about them all day long. I will go on BMX websites to look for bikes that are for sale, I am on those same sites selling some of my bikes to buy more, always trying to find a deal. I am on those sites reading everything. I will wake up in the morning and immediately look to see what is new for sale because I don’t want to miss anything and I want to see if any of my stuff has sold. I can literally think about them all day long. I can come home and be talking with my wife and completely miss what she said because I was thinking about something BMX related. While watching TV or eating dinner I will pick up my phone and start looking for more bikes to buy, more forums to read, and more pictures to look at. I can do this for months on end without even thinking about it or realizing I am doing it. It’s horrible. Not because they are bad in and of themselves, but because of all that I am neglecting in the process.

This is what I just had to repent of to my Lord, to my wife, and to my son because I had sinned against them. I felt compelled to sell off my entire collection of bikes except for the two that I ride to get some exercise. It was really hard to do and felt like something was being ripped away from me. It has felt like a band-aid being ripped off slowly, pulling out each hair one at a time with every bike I sold. Once the last bike was sold, it felt like a weight was lifted. When I decided to sell them off I was so worried about how I would feel once they were all gone, but once they were gone I felt so free. I woke up the next morning and didn’t think about bikes at all. 

Please hear me say this. Hobbies are not bad. Doing what you enjoy is a good thing. Having fun is an important part of life and it is a gift of God. It is when there are other things being neglected in the process when it is a problem. The most important things in life simply cannot be neglected.

What is it for you? What do you spend the bulk of your day thinking about? What do you spend your day doing? When work is over and you are heading home, what are you going to do when you get home? What are you most excited about doing? When you take inventory of what you think about and what you do from the moment you wake up and until you fall asleep, is it full of the most important things? How much time is wasted each day and unaccounted for? How many things and how many people are being neglected by a lack of commitment to who and what is most important? Is it hobbies? Is it politics? Sports? Fitness? Social media? Making money?

I don’t know what it is for you but I pray that your mind, heart, and hands are on what is most important. If you are not sure if this is true for you too ask your family, ask the Lord, or ask those closest to you. They seem to be the ones to know best. 


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