No, Really, What Do You Do For FUN?
When my son was 4 years old, he delighted in people and greeted friends and strangers alike wherever we went. Although he had spoken very few words at two years old – resulting in therapy – this 4-year-old preschooler was a different child. His language skills came alive; he developed confidence and communicated with boldness and delight. My son is 14 now and communicates like a classic teenager (insert head shake here). I recently found myself thinking about a memory from that magical age four, but this time I saw it from God’s perspective.
A Trip to the Grocery Store
We escaped an avalanche of apples in the produce department. Maybe you can relate. My son saw that picture-perfect rosy, red apple (WIN – my child is asking for fruit!) and reached for one from the bottom layer (NOT a win!!) but thanks to my husband’s proximity and quick reflexes the avalanche was prevented. At the checkout lane, as we loaded groceries onto the belt, my son, placed his apples closest to the cashier. He introduced himself, “Hi, my name is Joseph. What is your name?”
The teenaged cashier, probably 16 or 17, quietly replied, “Hannah”, barely looking up.
“Hannah, what do you like to do for fun?
She paused and answered, “I don’t know. I guess…work.”
Without skipping a beat, he shot back, “Not work. That’s boring. What do you like to do for fun?”
She rather awkwardly mumbled an answer without making eye contact. I got the impression Hannah wasn’t around many chatty, question-asking, preschool-aged kids. She certainly didn’t know how to respond.
Permission to Rest
Our culture wears “busyness” as a badge of honor. We work at work, and work at home. Find a mom who spends a Saturday morning reading a good book. If you can, she probably feels guilty for not keeping up the laundry, grocery shopping for the week ahead, or replying to a work email. But God designed us to recharge our batteries in Him, and not work 24/7. From the beginning of creation, God desires for us to partner with Him in productive work. He invites us to rest in Him, because only from that place of being with Him can anything productive happen.
I understand some seasons of life don’t pair well with rest – I remember getting that first job out of college and years later bringing a newborn home from the hospital. This concept of rest can seem backwards or even odd. How can we possibly work from rest? I’m not meaning sleep when I say rest; I want to clear up any confusion about that.
What I mean is this: abide in God & see fun as a form of rest.
Abide in the Vine
Jesus talks about resting and producing in John 15:5. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Rest is a gift from God meant to be a time of receiving so that we can give/produce. Think about this in proportion – producing great fruit requires great play to fuel the production.
How is fun a form of rest?
We have been told to have faith like a little child. Children are good at trusting, at knowing they are not in control, at enjoying creation around them. There is something about stopping the productivity mindset that opens us up to delighting in God and the world He has created. And with that delight comes refreshment.
Seek to Abide, Don’t Strive to Abide
If having fun is abiding in God, we should look for God in the activities we enjoy. We don’t need to save him a seat on our favorite roller coaster, but do we see His hand on the majesty of the ski slopes or when connecting with a friend over coffee? Abiding in God deepens our relationship with Him. Rest is a gift that connects us into a bigger story – receive, grow, produce, prune, receive. John 15:2 says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
What is Fun for You?
If you were asked what “fun” is to you, how would you respond? God uniquely wires each of us to seek out different types of fun than the person sitting next to us. Whether we’d rather curl up under a blanket or host a large gathering of friends and family, God distinctively designed us to receive joy in different environments. Here’s my suggestion: Make a list of 10 things that are fun and energy-producing. Think about the things that recharge you while you’re doing them; not things that yield a feeling of accomplishment afterwards (yes, cleaning the sand out of the car after a beach trip would make me happy too, but that’s not what I mean). These things don’t have to be large or grand, the simple things we do are just as valuable. I’ll share my list first!
1. Walking the local trails
2. Planting spring flowers
3. Traveling with my family
4. Book of the Bible studies
5. Taking photographs
6. Planning parties and gatherings
7. Coffee with a friend
8. Rearranging and changing furniture/décor in my home
9. Building Lego sets
10. Worship music and Jazz music
Do you hear it? God is asking you, “what do you like to do for fun?” When we set out to do something that is fun and energy-producing, we are affirming that we are the created and we can rest and recharge as we abide in our Creator. Then we will be more able to partner with Him in productive work.Try it! Intentionally do something fun and ask yourself: Am I remembering who I really am as I do this? Does God feel nearer? Do I feel recharged by delighting in God and the world He created?If you enjoy writing, journal about it. Explore what it means to abide through doing something fun. I promise you; it will be worth it – make your list and enjoy the gift.