"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:11-12 (NIV)
Why is it so hard for me to stop working and just have fun?
Other people have no trouble doing this. They look for any reason to drop the dust rags, ditch the dirty laundry, turn off the computer, and head to the park! Or the movies. Or a hike. Laughing all the way.
I wish I were more like that.
Couldn't the personality tests I've taken throughout the years just once show a different result? But alas, they always confirm what my family knows too well: I'm the responsible, serious one. The one who picks up cups and plates at someone else's party. And watches the clock at events to ensure they're on schedule. I'm the one who wants to make sure we get all the work done first — before any fun begins.
Only the work is never done. When I finish one task, another sits waiting for me. There's always something more to do. As a result, I experience false guilt. All the time.
Every strength has a good and bad side. The good side of being responsible is, well, I'm responsible. If I say I'm going to do something, you can be fairly sure it will get done.
The bad side of being responsible is feeling like the weight of the world rests on me. It makes a girl crazy worrying about assignments that are hers — and even those that aren't. It's hard to relax. My heart can get resentful when others aren't carrying the weight of the world with me. How do they have so much time to not work?!
The reality? Not every assignment is mine to do. To assume responsibility for more than is mine speaks of a lack of trust ... in God to do His job ... or in others to do theirs.
I'm pretty sure this all-work-no-play routine wasn't the life Jesus intended me to live as one of His disciples. Carrying the weight of burdens that aren't mine to carry. Choosing to interact with a computer screen rather than being with people.
The Bible values hard work, but Jesus' message is clear: Love God. Love people.
In John 15:11-12, Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
Jesus, with more to do in His three years of active ministry than I'll have in a lifetime, focused on His main assignment — to love people. Sometimes that meant teaching them. Or serving them. Yet other times it meant just hanging out. Enjoying dinner with friends. Celebrating at a wedding party. Welcoming children. These fun times weren't empty of significance. Rather they were filled with value as Jesus showed love in a different way.
We love God and others when we work. And when we have fun.
This is a truth I need to apply to my life more often. My idea of loving others is often shown by serving them. But some people feel loved when I simply spend time with them. And for some, that time needs to be a little less task-oriented and a lot more laughter-filled.
That's my challenge. To be intentional about having fun. To initiate getting together with others. To say yes when invited. To stretch outside my comfort zone. And to relax about the details.
Work will always be there — but the people might not be.
God has a pretty good handle on managing the world. I can leave that job to Him while I grab a loved one and make a lasting memory instead of checking something off my to-do list.
Heavenly Father, thank You for creating us to laugh. Thank You for putting in us the desire to enjoy life. Help me learn to relax and show love to others without worrying about the details. Forgive me for putting work before someone who needed my time and attention. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond: Is it hard for you to have fun? What holds you back?
Think of one fun activity you can do with someone this week. Make a call, send a text or email, and extend the invitation.
Power Verses: John 2:1-2, "On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. (NIV)
Colossians 1:17, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (NIV)
© 2014 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org