Posted: 12/29/17 at 8:40am. Column by Ed Jordan.
What are your hobbies? What do you do that is a relaxing diversion from the stresses of everyday life?
For some people sports are a hobby, but the hobbies I am thinking about right now are hobbies that express creativity or that stimulate the creative side of your brain. I’m referring to the kinds of hobbies in which you make or create something, like designing and making a quilt, or assembling model planes or cars, or playing complex games like chess, which challenge you to plan, think abstractly, and strategically adapt to unexpected moves.
One of my favorite new “hobbies” is to participate in an escape room adventure, finding clues, solving puzzles and escaping the room before the deadline. It requires observation skills, creative thinking, and connecting dots that you are not even sure are part of the picture.
Another of my hobbies is writing, which also corresponds with some of my work-related roles and expectations. I write a weekly column for some newspapers, a quarterly one for another client, and post columns online. I am also a freelance writer for an adult Bible Study Curriculum, and then write sermons and other materials related to ministry.
It is work, but it brings a sense of satisfaction, much like a hobby does for some people. It requires that I continuously grow intellectually, creatively, and skillfully. It involves starting with a thread and producing a linguistic quilt with patterns that convey a recognizable theme.
I have a friend who bakes cakes, and spends hours designing, baking and decorating cakes. It is something he enjoys doing which refreshes him.
I know people who create knitted items for others as their hobby. Some people paint pictures, or take photographs, or use pastels to recreate. Thus, we can see that our creative abilities can flourish in a hobby, and that the hobbies often involve creating something which is an extension of who we are.
Other hobbies require abstract thinking or strategizing. Those who play video games as a hobby must develop strategies for solving the game or defeating the enemy. This is true in chess and escape rooms as well. The challenge is not just to do something, but to do it better or quicker or more effectively than others. Jigsaw puzzles are a challenge on many levels as the person must perceive and group pieces of compatible shapes or colors or textures. So a hobby often begins with complex or disparate pieces and attempts to pull it together into an understandable whole.
Hobbies, or the gifts and abilities which make hobbies possible, are gifts from God. In James1:17 from The Message we read: “Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle.”
God gives each of us the need to work hard, but then God has also given us the need and ability to be refreshed by doing something enjoyable. The hobbies we gravitate towards are often a talent or gift that flourishes in the non-work side of our thinking. It is where we play, or create something that is an extension of who we are as people.
How could such things be a gift from God?
Mr. Spock of Star Trek once said, “The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.” Meaning that after a long period of performing complex tasks or thinking, after continuous pressure from deadlines, or heavy stress, sometimes we just need to make things simple. Taking the time to play, read, or interact with others just for fun takes us to a different level of functioning than we use for our work, so it refreshes our spirit.
Hobbies are good gifts from God. We all need the stimulation of our creative side, and the value of the fulfillment we gain from that is incalculable. So take some time to explore things that refresh you and bring your life back into balance. You don’t have to be good at whatever you hobby is, you just need to enjoy it! Take time to nurture your hobbies, and your hobbies will take time to nurture you.