As children we naturally know how to play. You don’t have to teach a child what play is, or how to laugh – it’s just comes to them as natural as breathing.
However, the older we get and the more doses of reality we take in, something happens to our wholesome ability to play well.
It can turn more into a means of escape, stress release, and/or abandonment of responsibility. For the older we get, the more stress, the more work, and the more responsibilities we take on.
We also begin to experience and see all the hardships of life – that it’s not all fun and games. So, this hardens the childlike innocence of play we once all knew how to do so well.
I can recall the pressures to abandon play in my youth. The subtle message to step up and take on more. The inner pressure to try and help ease family tensions, to reduce conflicts, and to not be an added burden to an already stressful situation.
So, I buckled down, focused hard to excel at school, to graduate college with honors, and to get a job that would “rescue” me from financial dependency and burdens. As such, work became a primary objective, and somewhere along the way, I lost or forget my heart of play.
I look back now and realize just how much of my life was spent with tunnel vision and blinders. A grinding of the teeth to bare down and get ‘er done type of motto.
But at what cost? My heart and my soul paid the price. Play became a means of escape and an unhealthy one at that. Drinking too much to relax, thinking “partying” was playing, and running to places and things as a means of escape rather than the spiritual worship, freedom, and refreshment of a life well lived.
Yet, this is my heart’s desire – to learn how to live well. To be swallowed up by God’s life for me. Obviously, this is only accomplished and possible in Jesus. The giver of life and the abundant life at that.
So, as my walk with Christ has matured and grown over the years, I’ve noticed a shocking rediscovery of my heart. I’m seeing where I lost myself in anxious work rather than faithful work, and I’m learning to embrace and accept the rest He gives my once restless soul.
We all miss “Eden” – for it’s in our hearts and deepest desires. This sense of something lost, but Christ restores and rescues us. He brings are hearts back home with Him.
Though this world is clearly broken, we have an eternal hope that what awaits us is the beauty our souls long for. Yet, while living here on earth, we get to still see and taste the goodness of God – if we choose.
And part of that is play. Playing well, laughing well, crying well, working well, loving well, and yes, living well.
I think of the children we are told surrounded and crowded around Jesus. Think of it – children play and love being playful adults. I can see Jesus laughing, and playing with all these kids. How wonderful – my soul can’t help but rejoice just thinking of it!
And Jesus invites us to play. To play well with Him now – and in Heaven, I have zero doubt there will be play. Think about a father teaching and taking his child to all these wonderful places and doing all these wonderful things together. Playing with Jesus – how many think of that? I’m just now learning to, and just how healing and spiritual it is.
God gives us wisdom, and reveals who we truly are. What we enjoy, how to work well, play well, and love well.
It’s living freely in faith, and trusting Him in and with all things – including our desires, dreams, work, and play.
I love Jesus more and more each passing day as my soul heals, my play is being restored, and my heart is softened by His love and truth.
I’m beginning to realize, and actually believe, just how good our Father is in every way, and how every good thing truly flows from Him, including our play.