We all have some kind of hobby, maybe even something we’re passionate about. It might be
- anything and everything organic,
- home improvement projects,
- maybe even a job, or
- a million other possibilities.
For me, it’s gardening, landscaping, and blogging …
I remember a few years ago being utterly consumed with landscaping (the appearance of my ornamental garden beds, and dreams of future projects). It got to a point that it ruled my mind, thoughts … my heart.
Under strong conviction, I took a 3-day fast from landscaping. I needed concentrated time away from it, to get my heart where it needed to be.
When our motives are wrong, these hobbies and passions can be used for selfish gain, pride, and prestige. We’re no longer vessels of God’s grace and goodness; we’re, quite simply, idolaters. We’ve taken God off the throne of our heart, and placed these things in His rightful place.
On the other hand, God can use our hobbies and passions for His glory, if His glory is our greatest desire. When we commit theses areas of our lives to God, He gives us enjoyment in them, and impacts other lives through ours.
There’s nothing wrong, in and of itself, with gardening, cooking, homesteading, blogging, etc. It’s when they’re more important to us than God, that’s when we have a problem.
My flesh continually gravitates to the things of the world (again, not necessarily bad things, but a pre-occupation with them), but the Lord continually, and lovingly, draws me back to Him.
I wanted to share some things the Lord has used to help me. (If I struggle with this, maybe others do, too.)
1. Ask a series of self-assessment questions.
- What’s the first thing I think about when waking up?
- What’s the last thing I think about when falling asleep?
- What do I spend most of my free time thinking about?
- If I were to die today, what would I be most remembered for? What would others say was the most important thing in my life? Something of eternal value?
2. Repent and surrender all to God.
Repent (agree with God about the sin and turn to Him in obedience), and surrender all to God. I’ve found that I have to repeatedly surrender and hand [back] to God – in trust – my hopes, dreams, fears, etc. I also know that He always outgives us. He’s an amazing and VERY good God!!
3. Spend time daily in God’s Word and prayer.
My struggle would be overpowering without this consistent, daily time with God.
I’ve found that setting a specific time of day (either by the clock or before/after the same daily activity) has been invaluable.
I usually spend 20 minutes each day reading the Bible or memorizing verses, and another 20 minutes in prayer.
4. Consider a weekly fast from the hobby or passion.
About a year and a half ago, I self-imposed a rule of no blog-related computer time on Sundays. (On Sundays, I rarely turn the computer on.)
Before making this rule, I found myself sitting in church thinking about what I was going to write in upcoming posts, since I would be working on them later in the day. I couldn’t focus on what the preacher was sharing from God’s Word because I was preoccupied with blogging thoughts.
As a result, I decided Sundays would be off limits – no blogging, no internet (unless it has NOTHING to do with blogging), no post writing.
Now, Sundays at church are what they’re supposed to be: I hear, and concentrate on, what the preacher shares from God’s Word.
This is not what the Bible talks about as far as fasting (denying oneself food/drink to focus on God in prayer), but it’s the closest word I could think of.
5. Develop, and stick to, a schedule of moderation.
I still have room for improvement here, but I have found something helpful.
It’s very easy for me to spend almost my entire Saturday on the computer. Saturday is also when I *can* get most of my housecleaning done. Can you guess which one usually wins the battle for time?
On a couple occasions, I decided I would set our stove timer. I seem to thrive within boundaries. I set the timer for 30 minutes, and cleaned the house until the timer went off. Then, I set it for an hour, and – with a clear conscience – enjoyed computer time. When the timer went off, I went back downstairs, and set it for another 30-minute cleaning session.
6. Find ways to keep your mind on God.
Memorizing and meditating on verses has been a huge help for me. Each morning, as I walk through the maze of corporate buildings for my breakfast coffee and muffin, I usually try to recite verses on part of the trip.
Look for spiritual significance around you. I use to enjoy watching Lilly (our previous shepherd-mix) as she would wait for “daddy” to get back down to the house from a trip up to the barn, or running an errand. When she’d hear John in the driveway, she’d make her way over to her slobber-smudged window, and watch him get closer and closer to the front porch. Then, she’d hurry over to the front door, stare at the crack in the door, ears perked, tail a waggin’. It was adorable.
Sometimes I would watch her and think, “That’s what God wants from me. He wants me excited to spend time with Him; to look for Him; to wait eagerly and expectantly for answered prayers; and be more excited to spend time with Him than blog, garden, landscape, or [fill in the blank].”
While I can say I’ve grown in this area, I can also say I have so far to go.
7. Join, or create, a prayer and accountability group.
(I recommend keeping it a small group.)
I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer – the power of God.
Feel free to use the comments area to reach out to others for prayer requests, or to start a small group of like-minded individuals. I pray often for people, sometimes by name, who visit Your Gardening Friend.
I have a couple people in mind I may reach out to for mutual accountability.
Knowing someone will be checking up on you can be a helpful motivator.
8. Get plugged into a ministry.
This is a great way to serve God – assuming it’s done for the glory of God and Christ, and not for vanity or duty – to serve others, and to get our mind out of our own little world.
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If you don’t know Christ as your Lord and Savior, and would like to know what that means, visit The Importance of One.
Feel free to email me prayer requests or any specific questions about this.
I’ll leave you with some encouraging verses.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Jesus said to him, ” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ …”
I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious,
Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the LORD loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
This was shared on the following blog hops or link-ups:
‘Encourage One Another’ Wednesday Link-Up
Homestead Barn Hop
Simple Lives Thursday
Simple Living Wednesday Link-Up
Teach Me Tuesday | Homemaking Link-Up