Fun Is Good

I have a long list of “must dos”. A longer list of things I need to do. And a short list of fun things I really want to do. We all have these lists, whether on paper or in our heads.

The long lists take up most of my time. They include the everyday things I do at home or work. It means at work I figure contracts, reconcile GL accounts, take care of accounts payable, and analyze financial statements. At home I do laundry, have good conversations with my family, clean the refrigerator, cook dinner, or wash dishes.

The other items on the long lists are those that can wait but still need doing. Like clearing out the sun room and painting the walls. Getting quotes from contractors on more work we want done to the house. Cleaning out the attic and the barn. Trimming trees and more landscaping.

But what about that short list? Yours will be different than mine because what is fun to me may not be to you. But we all need our own list of fun things we want to do.

I want to fly somewhere with each of my kids and backpack on the Appalachian Trail this year. My husband and I want to see the Northern Lights and picnic in a vineyard. I want to paddle board and learn Spanish, do some freelance writing, and complete the Spartan Trifecta. These things don’t need to be done, and as author Mark Buchanan put it, the world isn’t changed by my doing them or not.

But I need to play. You need to play. Because we need a break from the ever growing “to do” list.

Because of the chores and responsibilities and deadlines, the short list tends to get shoved under the others. Disregarded as less important. Forgotten about.

If we’re not careful, adulthood can turn into one big obligation and we forget we need to have fun. We forget how to play.

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If you’ve neglected play for so long and don’t know what to do, start small. Play Go Fish with your kid. Dance in the living room. Fly a kite, jump on the trampoline or ENO in the park. Visit a theme park and ride all the roller coasters. Sign up for that cooking or dance class you’ve always wanted to take or join a book club.

I’m not going to tell you how you’ll benefit from playing. I want you to find out for yourself. Because the world may not be changed by your playing, but you probably will be.

Excuse me while I go jump rain puddles.

Dancing

Work

Establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands.  Psalm 90:17 NIV

There are days I like my job. Problems are solved. Questions are answered. I get things done. Learn something new. I feel really good about my work.

Then there are other days. The days I don’t like my job. Solutions to the problems aren’t found. The questions can’t be answered and the piles on my desk remind me of my frustrations more than anything.

And that’s only the work I do for income. There is my work at home, yard work, and volunteer work. Then there’s the work I do pursuing my hobbies. Like writing or running. Some of you paint or build tables or plan parties.

Whatever the kind – work is a big chunk of our lives. It would be ideal if we liked all of our work all of the time. But that’s not how it is. Even if you have a great job that you love, there will be good days and bad days. Productive days and not so much days. Days with happy co-workers and days with grumpy ones. Some of my most challenging work days were when I stayed home with my children!

Your hobby work will produce beautiful masterpieces some days, and other days nothing. The 4 mile run is easy some days, other days the fight for breath is almost too much. The housework is tedious, the yard work strenuous.

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My dad showing the kids how to use a shovel.

Although much of what we face in our work is out of our control, we can choose to do whatever work we are doing excellently and with care.

There is a story of a young mother named Jane. She was in a desperate situation after her husband died suddenly. So desperate that she went down to the river to drown herself. Across the river in a field a young man was plowing with such skill and care that she became absorbed in the sight of it. She stared and stared as the young man worked diligently. Her amazement “turned to thanksgiving, and her thanksgiving to a sense of purpose. She rose, went forth, and lived a long a productive life.”*

A man doing honest work with remarkable care saved Jane’s life.

Do you work like that?

I hope I do. Work is such a significant part of our lives, we should make sure to do it like it matters.

That’s my Live Like It Matters Challenge to you today. Work like it matters.

Think your job doesn’t matter? Too menial? Think no one notices? It matters to someone. It matters more than you know. I was inspired by the work of a garbage man and shared it in The Extra Mile.

No matter the job – you can do it so that it inspires others.

Hairdressers and accountants and drive-thru order takers and pallet makers and bridal dress consultants and process technicians and movie actors and authors and carpenters and lawn care techs and assembly line workers and engineers.

Your work matters. My work matters.

Work like it matters.

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets, even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”                                                                             Martin Luther King, Jr.

*This story is originally told in Os Guinness’ book The Call and retold by Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God.

In response to the Daily Post’s Vigor.

Knowledge is desirable, but alone it’s dangerous. Unless knowledge is laid atop goodness – anchored to it – we grow susceptible to snobbery and smugness. A big head on a small soul is ugly as an orc. 

Mark Buchanan in Hidden In Plain Sight

Fun

I have a long list of “must dos”. A longer list of things I need to do. And a short list of things I really want to do. We all have these lists, whether on paper or in our heads.

The long lists take up most of my time. They include the everyday things like be a wife, be a mom to 3 teenagers, and be an accountant at work.  It means at home I do laundry, help with homework, cook dinner, and wash dishes.  At work I figure contracts, reconcile GL accounts and analyze financial statements. That’s already a lot to do.

The other items on the long lists are those that can wait but still need doing.  Like painting behind the toilets because we installed new ones that are shaped differently and now a patch of the old paint shows. We need to paint the garage and organize our closets. We need to fix the backdoor.  I need to have my oil changed and the tires rotated.

But what about that short list?

Running a 5K is on my short list. I want to fly somewhere with each of my kids and hike in the Bankhead National Forest at least 10 times this year. My husband and I want to see the Northern Lights. I want to learn sign language and Spanish and do some ballroom dancing. These things don’t need to be done and as one of my favorite authors, Mark Buchanan, put it, the world isn’t changed by my doing them or not.  

But I need to play. You need to play. Because we need a break from the ever growing “to do” list.  

Because of the chores and responsibilities and deadlines the short list tends to get shoved under the others. Disregarded as less important. Forgotten about.  

If we’re not careful, adulthood can turn into one big obligation and we forget we need to have fun. We forget how to play. 

If you’ve neglected play for so long and don’t know what to do, start small. Play Go Fish with your kid. Dance in the living room. Fly a kite or jump on the trampoline. Take that cooking class, join a book club, or visit Six Flags again just to ride the roller coaster.

I’m not going to tell you how you’ll benefit from playing.  Or if you will at all.

I want you to find out for yourself.  And then let me know.

How did you play and did something good come from it?

Excuse me while I do some cartwheels in the front yard with my daughter and the dog.

In response to the Daily Post’s daily prompt Nothin’ But A Good Time.