One of the reasons you may lack rest in your life is because you don’t know how to simply have fun. Christians often take themselves too seriously. I bet you are one of them. I know I fall into it all the time. It’s easy to slide into being too serious, because we are dealing with people’s lives–eternity is in the balance.
But when we are out of rest, we take the world’s problems onto our shoulders. We carry toxic situations that we shouldn’t. The world is full of discouragement, grief and heartache. Even the strongest of hearts can get affected by the constant negativity. In response to this resistance, we can replay negative scenarios in our head and obsess over challenging situations more than we should.
Taking Yourself too Seriously
Part of the problem is that we take ourselves too seriously. At the same time, we don’t have enough fun in our lives. Most people don’t see the need for it, as recreation and fun are often seen as a lazy person’s activity.
Yet every single day, you should have lots of moments to laugh, celebrate and recreate.
Sometimes I ask myself and others, “When was the last time you had fun? I mean you really let go and had a blast.” Many people would say “I can’t remember.”
Everything is so Serious
The news is serious. Church is serious. Prayer is really serious. Our family gatherings are negative and serious. Where’s the joy? Where’s the moments for letting lose and having fun?
What about our church gatherings? Do we know how to have fun in the midst of our passionate worship, prayer and learning. Are our assemblies marked with joyous celebration? One of the most celebratory gatherings of our lives should be when the believers gather.
Yet most people don’t even know what to do with fun, because they’ve been so conditioned to a lifeless and sober life. We’ve made our gatherings so sacred, we’ve been conditioned that anything fun or enjoyable would remove the sacredness of the experience.
When I was a pastor, I would do all kinds of things to shake off that constant seriousness. Sometimes I would throw in a song that wasn’t a typical worship song. I had my church stand up and do the motions to a kid’s church song. On one Sunday, I even tossed some beach balls around to shake people out of their somber seriousness. (I can’t say that one went over well.)
My point is, our serious and somber lives are terrible for our health and it’s keeping us out of rest. So if you want to get serious–why not get serious about including more fun in your life?
If so, here are some actions you can start thinking about today:
1. You need to have more than just a ministry assignment.
Too many people lack an identity apart from what they do. This includes ministry work. But as a part of your overall health, you need a life that is beyond your day to day ministry or calling investment. You need time to be you, where you are reminded who you are that is not wrapped up in your work.
Yes you love ministry so much, but you need to have time doing other things, so that you can: develop more of who you are and help enhance your emotional health.
2. You need a hobby.
You need to engage the enjoyment of something without there being some kind of mission and assignment attached to it. People who take themselves so seriously do not take time to unwind with word working, photography, model building or gardening. In those simple habits, God meets us in a way that cannot be experience in the midst of our responsibilities and mission. A major aspect of emotional health is to have an activity you do sole because you enjoy every minute of it and it restores energy.
Everything in life either steals our energy or adds energy. When you engage a joyous activity, it restores energy, setting you up for better clarity.
3. Stop over-spiritualizing everything.
If you can’t have a conversation without spiritualizing the meaning of everything, you need some more fun in your life. In addition, you’ll drive people nuts and you’re not exactly that fun to be around if you can’t just laugh and chill out.
4. You don’t have to be deep all the time.
I believe that living 100% of your life in the deep end of the ocean is not great for your health. I know that many people do not know how to live deeper at all. I am not addressing them at all in this. I am speaking to those who go deep with God and allow themselves to work on heart transformation.
But working on your heart issues can get so intense that it works against you. What you need is a rhythm where you go deep waters and then head back to the seashore. Rhythm is important, because you need depth, but then you also need time to refresh by changing the channel.
I spend a lot of my life working on very deep subjects and problems in people’s lives. I have to maintain a specific rhythm of fun that keeps my daily work in balance, so I don’t lose my emotional health and also that I don’t lose perspective. I find that most pastors or ministry leaders need way more fun than what they practice.
5. Hang out with people that have nothing to do with what you do.
Hanging out only with people that are connected to your work will often leave you in a bubble and make you a one dimensional person.
Having fun can also involve connecting to people who don’t do what you do or are not exactly like you.
5. Let loose and have fun.
Go do something you normally would not do. Go to a ropes course or our for a hike. Engage an activity that you normally would not do.
Find times in your day to shake off the seriousness and let loose.
In our home, we have a “dance break.” When things get really serious for a while, we take a break and turn on a really fun song. We then dance around and act goofy to shake off any pressure that would want to be a part of the equation.
Want more rest in your life? Sometimes you gotta check if fun is a part of your lifestyle.
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