Way too often I find myself utterly bored out of my brain at Christian events or when hanging out with 'lovely' Christian people. Shock horror.
It is as though in the name of being a 'good Christian' or trying to be 'spiritual' we somehow chop out general fun from our day to day. I'm no doctor (that's probably a good thing…) but I would go so far as to say this is a serious health risk for our Christian lives.
Take a quick moment to consider when was the last time you laughed so hard that the muscles in your sides were literally screaming and you had enough water running out of your tear ducts to create a mascara artwork down your cheeks? When was the last time you did something that literally left you unable to hold back a smile from curling across your face? Do you remember what it felt like?
A few years ago I asked myself this and was shocked by how long it had been since I had had fun! It sounds weird, but seriously, I think we have lost this 'skill' and desperately need to re-learn how to create and embrace an attitude of fun!
Now I'm not saying we should hit the town and go get smashed, after all I have never heard anyone rave about how fun a hangover was. Nor am I saying that we should live simply for the thrill of fun experiences or become lax and lazy and fill our calendars with giant games of inflatable soccer and watching online videos on 'how to grow doughnuts'.
Rather I think we need to learn to embrace a general child-like fun that postures us to finding joy in the little things, doing the things we love simply because we love doing them, finding ourselves in the midst of adventure and creating memories that will last a lifetime.
After all Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10 verse 10) and whilst this means redemption and freedom and fulfilment at a spiritual level I am convinced that an essential part of this abundant life is the gift of having fun. I don't think Jesus ever intended for us to be bored or to become so consumed with tasks that we forget to chuckle and work ourselves into the ground.
So when we have such freedom around how we choose to spend our time, why are our calendars simply full of work, study, meetings and housework? Why is 'fun' week after week left out of our calendars and programs?
This past season I have been on a journey of re-embracing fun in my life. Honestly, at first it felt like the biggest waste of time known to man! But over time my attitude shifted and what followed was a fresh and vibrant experience of Christian life. Wow! Who knew?!?
As I made the space to just do what I enjoy, hang with friends or be adventurous I found I could rest in the joy of knowing who I was in Christ rather than focus on achieving or meeting goals or deadlines. And what came with this shocked me: a whole new experience of joy, peace and friendship I quickly realised I had been missing out on!
I now see fun as a gift to us to experience joy, friendship and God at a whole new dimension in our day to day and I am convinced that fun needs to be re-embraced amongst Christians!
So if you feel like it has been a bit too long since you did something 'just for fun' these are 4 tips from my own adventurous rediscovery of fun…
Block Out Time
Make the space for fun. I don't mean dress up in space costumes and walk in slow motion around your lounge room…although that might be fun! But seriously, prioritise fun, block out time for it in your weekly calendar so it doesn't slip away like a New Year's Resolution. If your structured you might like to book in specific things to look forward to; or if you thrive on spontaneity why not book in 'Spontaneous Time' so you can do whatever you feel like when the time comes!?
Do the things that you enjoy. What is fun for one person will be torture for another person. So maybe the gym isn't for you, but find what makes you tick and, well, just do it! (Sorry for the Nike pun, couldn't help myself…)
Find Like Minded People
Find people who like doing the same stuff you do and, well, do stuff you like doing together! Find a gym partner, find friends you can jam out some cool tunes with, find a friend who wants to dress up in space costumes and walk in slow motion around your lounge room…you name it!
Remember that 'fun' isn't about living to be filled up from one fun experience to the next. Rather, find your identity, satisfaction and contentment in God and let the knowledge and experience of this freedom release you to have fun. When we view fun through this lens we can see it as a gift given to us to experience joy and enhance our experience of life and isn't something we should feel guilty for but rather something we should be grateful for.
On that note, I'm off to have some fun!! Remember the Scriptures (Proverbs 17 verse 22), that a cheerful heart is a good medicine.
Charlotte (Charley) works in youth ministry and is studying a Bachelor of Theology at a bible college in Melbourne. Charley enjoys writing children's stories, playing guitar and dreaming the impossible.
Charley Goiris' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/charley-goiris.html