Identity Series: Part 3—Hobbies

In the past few weeks we have been taking a deeper look at some of the more common false identities men are prone to latch onto. Last week, we looked at how our Social Groups can distract us from discovering who God says we are. This week, we will be looking at how we use Hobbies to define us. Please feel free to subscribe to the blog and follow along with us through this series.

Hobbies

I could write an entire book outlining all the ways I’ve attempted to find my identity through hobbies, but there is one that stands above the rest—being a mountain man. Here’s a segment I wrote for an outdoor podcast explaining what I mean in a little more detail:

Once I got a taste of mountain climbing I was hooked. Our shared hobby of hiking as a couple had mutated into a singular passion that my wife didn’t share. She would have been more than willing to go for a hike with me along a beautiful river, or even an overnight backpacking trip to a majestic mountain lake, but I had become obsessed with climbing and, over time, allowed the “We” trips to all become “Me” trips. I’d be gone for hours on training runs or hauling my pack up the local hill multiple times a week. In the rare event that I was home physically, I was in the mountains mentally. The more I pursued climbing, the less I pursued my wife. I started to see her as a hurdle in my climbing quest. I stopped asking her if I could leave for the weekend and started telling her that I would be gone. I couldn’t see it at the time, but I had chosen the mountains over her. (If you’re interested, you can hear the whole story here.)

North Sister ClimbI had allowed mountain climbing to become my false identity. I had found something I was good at, and it seemed to impress others. I could strike up a conversation with people and once they found out I was a climber they were suddenly more interested in talking with me. People knew me as the guy who climbs mountains, which made me feel rugged, macho, and manly. As Dr. Phil might say, it stoked my male ego.

But hobbies can never define you on the deepest level or show you who you truly are. You can keep climbing taller mountains, master your golf swing, or take bigger and bigger risks in the stock market hoping that it will finally meet some unknown need in your life, but you will always need to come back for more when the satisfaction inevitably wears off. Sure, hobbies are great and highly fulfilling, but if you are honest with yourself, you probably sense that no matter how much time and effort you devote to them, you will always crave just a little bit more.

Your hobby may be something you do, something you enjoy, but if you allow it become who you are—your false identity—it will fail you.

Continue to Part 4: Romantic Relationships


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