Hobbies or Hobbles?
I was educated and trained as a veterinarian, specializing in horses. There were certain times when I needed to restrain a horse in order to work on it. Hobbles were one of the most useful, simple means for immobilizing a horse and to protect me from getting my brains beat out by a horse hoof!
A 1,200 pound horse can be pretty much immobilized by tethering a couple of its legs together. Great power and strength can now be brought under control with a small rope around the legs.
Leaders are busy, often intense, and sometimes over-extended people who need times when they unplug from their responsibilities and recharge. This habit of stepping away from our leadership duties to build reserve is sometimes referred to as living within our boundaries, scheduling with a margin, or simply taking time off. It’s an excellent discipline and will enable sustained contribution over a long time.
But sometimes our hobbies can become hobbles for us. What was just a small hobby now becomes an obsession. The all-in intensity we bring to our leadership now becomes focused on our leisure activities as well. What was a recharge opportunity now becomes an opportunity for mastery instead.
Living in Colorado, I love being outdoors in God’s creation. And I especially enjoy fly fishing in the mountains around my home. People come from all over the world to experience what I have out my door. It’s a wonderful privilege to live where I live.
Yet, as I enjoy my hobby of the pursuit of trout, I want to be aware that this is a means to an end, not an end for me. Fly fishing is a recharge opportunity to allow me to pursue my primary calling of seeking to change the world one person at a time by helping them live and lead like Jesus. If I’m not careful and circumspect, my hobby can become my hobble to keep me from accomplishing my God-given mission.
There are some who may be called to serve as fly fishing guides or in other parts of the industry who, for them, fly fishing is their mission. They use this as a platform to serve God and influence others. This is good and right. I could have been asked by Him to continue as a equine practitioner and should I have done so, it would have been right. But the Lord asked me to change my vocation and leave vet medicine in order to become a vocational missionary. Both vocations are honorable and good. There is no higher value in vocational Christian service. We do all for Him and His glory whether it is ‘ministry’ or ‘marketplace’ as all are of equal worth and value in His eyes. It’s simply a matter of personal calling and God’s plans for our lives.
Do you have a hobby or a routine that helps you recharge? How are you managing that hobby? Is it truly refreshing you or has your hobby now become your hobble?