Making Time for Fun
by Pam Morton and Kathy Jingling
Deadlines, meetings, carpooling, church services, writing, studying, and planning all leave little time for a Christian leader to have fun. In fact, fun is considered something that can be put off as unimportant.
No one ever said, “I’m sorry. I can’t make that meeting; I’ve got an appointment to do something fun.” You don’t see awards being given out for “Person Who Has Had the Most Fun over the Past Year.” So why even address this issue? Why should we carve out time for enjoyable moments?
It’s in those moments of fun that we allow ourselves to be ourselves. We aren’t the worship leader or the pastor’s wife or the missionary or the women’s ministries director. We are simply being Christian women experiencing the joy of the Lord.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
So how do you have fun in a busy, demanding, scheduled world? The same
way you accomplish your other tasks. You plan it. That’s right, plan your fun. Don’t wait until you need fun like medicine to recover from life, but make it a regular part of your lifestyle. How do you encourage someone else to have fun? The best way might be for us just to share some of the ways we have fun and hope that others catch the idea.
Every couple months or so, Kathy announces, “Block off Friday night. We’re going on another adventure with Kathy’s Travel Tours!” So Kathy and I, with two of our friends, clear our calendar, hop in her car, and wait for the mystery evening to unfold. One time we were given red bandanas and told to put them on. One hour and forty-five minutes later, having taken several wrong turns, we arrived in a town that boasted a Dinner Rodeo. Proudly displaying our new bandanas, we looked around at an empty corral. One of the cowboys announced, “Ya missed it. We just finished.” With our bladders full, our stomachs empty, and our patience having worn thin, Kathy looked at us in anticipation of our response to the cowboy’s news. Bursting into laughter, we asked if we could at least visit the little cowgirls’ room before being turned away.
We didn’t get to see the rodeo, but we did laugh a lot, discuss what was going on with our lives, and thoroughly allowed our brains to disengage from anything important. Enjoying a hearty meal near the aromatic arena, and the time we spent lost on numerous country roads helped us all take life’s heavy schedule less seriously for a few hours. Give yourself permission to plan fun. Don’t wait until you’re “at the end of your rope.” Regularly allow little moments of letting off steam. You’ll notice your whole approach to the rest of your life is much healthier.
Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful.”
I’ve been guilty of thinking that money equals fun. Therefore, if I don’t have any money, I can’t have any fun. Being in ministry means limited finances, but not limited creativity. God is the True Creator. He spoke the world into existence. If we are created in His image, then we share some of His characteristics, such as the ability to be creative with little.
My two daughters Emileigh (14) and Aria (12), and I will take an afternoon with only ten dollars to spend. We’ll look online for any exhibits or shows going on in our town that are free and check them out. Sometimes we’ll get movies from the library and spend the money on “movie snacks” to eat while we’re watching. Other times we’ll go to a tearoom just for dessert. It’s there that our best fun kicks in.
“Would y’ like a spot o’ tea, my dear?” I say in my best British accent.
“Why, thank you! That would be jus’ lovely!” replies Emileigh.
A waiter approaches our table and asks if we would like drink refills. Continuing our British tea theme I reply, “Mah-velous, my good fellow. Pip! Pip! And be quick about it!” He looks at us and we begin to laugh as I explain to him that we sometimes for no reason at all, like to pretend that we’re British while we’re out in public.
Why would we do that? Well, I have no better reason than to say, “Because it’s fun.” Something about using an accent and having people respond to you as if you were new to the country makes our family laugh. The desserts cost a few dollars, but taking time to laugh with my daughters is, in the words of MasterCard, priceless (and refreshing).
I can already hear some of you say, “That may be fun for you, but that’s not my idea of a good time.” I know. We’re all different; but you do like to laugh, and we all have that in common. The idea is to look at fun in new ways. Don’t wait for the lake house and jet ski or the European vacation. Putting off down time due to finances is frustrating and unhealthy. Fun can be a daily part of our lives, but we have to be willing to make room for it and sometimes act spontaneously.
Proverbs 15:15 says, “The cheerful heart has a continual feast.”
“Stop!” I yelled.
“Here?” Kathy asked.
“Yes, yes. Right here alongside the road.” Before the car came to a complete stop, I threw open the door and began running on the shoulder of the highway grabbing the white puffs and putting them into a Wal-Mart bag.
You see, Kathy (who’s from Washington) and Pam (who’s from Missouri) hadn’t seen a cotton patch before. We were returning from a speaking engagement in the South when we came upon acres and acres of cotton. Mesmerized, we began to chat about how cool it would be to actually have some to look at. After several miles, we noticed that pieces of cotton had blown near the highway.
“Why not?” Kathy asked.
“You’re right. Why not?”
So Kathy slammed on the brakes, pulled onto the side of the road, and our new cotton collection began. Was it silly? Yes. Was it fun? Absolutely.
Now every time I look at the cotton pods on my shelf, I chuckle and remember what a fun moment that was. It didn’t cost anything, but my spirit and soul built up treasure that day.
Kathy and I have also tried to help those around us who need fun in their lives. For Kathy that means bringing fun into her office. Her monthly calendar includes those funny national special days like “Popcorn Day,” “Measure Your Feet Day,” “Eat Chocolate Day” and “Festival of Sleep Day.”
One warm spring day, Kathy loaded up her entire staff in a large van for an afternoon at the local Nature Center. She had a bag of snacks and had warned everyone on the previous day to dress casually and bring comfy shoes. They all shared her bag of snacks and walked the trails slowly just enjoying all that God created. A digital camera was used for the two-hour adventure that provided photos everyone still enjoys. Some would question how much work was accomplished that day, but there is no doubt that it increased productivity for a much longer time. An office full of people that work together and laugh together can accomplish much.
Proverbs 15:30 says, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”
My duty as the Superhero of Fun sometimes means rescuing my seriously working husband from himself. This requires finesse and the ability to know when the superhero should make an appearance. Usually, I’ll check his calendar at work to see what’s ahead. Very carefully, I’ll use the same official pen that he does to write in “Meeting at 5 p.m. with PJ” on the Friday column. Since it’s in pen, it’s a done deal. Friday comes and he checks his schedule. “Oh,” he says, “I’ve got a meeting at 5 with P.J. I’ll be late for dinner.” I smile and tell him that his mystery meeting is with me and we’re going out for the night. You should see the smile on his face when he realizes he has an evening free to dine with a beautiful babe.
The Book of Proverbs provides quick life lessons that remind us to live wisely. It should not surprise you that joy, laughter, smiles, and a cheerful heart are all part of living a wise life in God’s plan. So, stop today and make some plans for fun. Pull out the calendar and schedule some laughs with friends and family. Surprise those around you with an appointment for hilarity. You too can be creative enough to plan something that cheers your heart. Who knows, we may just have to start giving an award for Christian leaders who are having fun in the life God has called them to live.