Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time for a Little FUN!: If you need some instruction on how to PLAY! (Guest post series)

There are some people for whom play and FUN! come naturally (like Cindy) and others who need some specific direction on how to infuse these elements into life (like me). Whether you are more like Cindy or more like me, I am SURE you will glean something from this post to help you incorporate even more PLAY! and FUN! into your lives.
Picture by Grand Rapids Press, which featured Cindy as a FUN! mom.  (How cool is that??)
Do you ever feel overwhelmed, overextended, frazzled, or flat-out exhausted? A little bit of all of the above? Me too!

As a busy wife and mom to four mostly delightful,  but occasionally disagreeable, kids and one very naughty dog,  I’m continually on the look-out for strategies, tips and techniques to help make our chaotic life more enjoyable and peace-filled.

What if I told you I discovered the secret to increased joy, love, and laughter in your home?
Better yet, what if it was something you could experience at no cost, with no pills to take, books to read, or calories to count. Would anyone be interested?

Friends, here is the key to a life of greater joy and satisfaction -- the gift of play!

Now before you sign off and say “Cindy, I don’t have time to play,” please hear me out. I completely understand. I’m a recovering performance-driven, approval seeking, overachiever.  

I thought play was for the lazy, the weak, the slacker.  My motto was “Heigh ho! Heigh ho! It’s off to work I go!” – 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, for way too long.

In the midst of a crisis of faith, I asked Jesus for a new and better way to live. I expected I’d be guided to Bible verses saying I needed to work harder, memorize more verses, get my act together.
What I didn’t anticipate would be the simple, eye-opening discovery of learning how to slow down, experience more of life, and simply play.

Researcher Stuart Brown, MD, describes play as “time spent without purpose.” I respectfully disagree. I believe play has significant purpose. Play helps us –
  • Recharge our well-worn batteries
  • Remind ourselves that we are not God – and that He is capable of running the world while we disconnect 
  • Reflect to others how to “let go” and enjoy a life of laughter and joy
  • Rekindle relationships with family members and friends
Gifted author Brene Brown says, “Play -- doing things just because they're fun and not because they'll help achieve a goal -- is vital to human development.”

Vital to human development? Yes – play has a purpose!

So, how do we play?

Perhaps you find yourself where I was nearly a decade ago. In my quest for achievement and approval, I had forgotten how to play. It wasn’t until I watched a babysitter laughing with and enjoying my children that I put a stake in the ground and said, “No more.” 

No more long hours, missed opportunities, overcommitted schedules, and/or excuses. Instead I prayed, “Oh God, please teach me how to play.”

Here, sweet friends, is what I have learned over the past 10 years of playing--

Plug play into your schedule:  
If we wait until the house is clean, the laundry is folded, the emails are returned, or the bills are paid – we will never experience the gift of playing.
Instead, select a block of time and plan play it into your schedule. Once it’s scheduled, protect your play time as if it was an important meeting with a very significant person. Remember, play has purpose! 

Pick a play mate.
If you’re a wife and/or mom, of course, plan play time with your family. However, I’d also highly encourage you to organize “play dates” with girlfriends.
A few weeks ago a school mom sent me a text and said, “Wanna have a play date?” This time she wasn’t asking if my kids could have a play date--no, this play date was for us! Her sweet text brightened my day. Of course, I worked at a quicker speed to wrap up my projects creating free time to frolic. And yes, we had a blast!
      Play within your personality.
What do you love to do? Outdoors or indoors?  Active or sedentary? Keep an open mind and try new activities. The day I watched my babysitter having a blast with my kids, they were outdoors sledding. Who knew playing out in the cold could be so much fun? Now if cold weather isn’t your thing, pick activities you love. Tip: if you loathe every minute of it, it’s not play. Try something else.  
For fun-filled ideas, checkout my Play with a Purpose A to Z list here.

      Participate fully.
Playtime doesn’t count if you bring along your cell phone, work bag, or “To Do list.” Remember, our goal is to recharge, rekindle relationships, reflect Him to others, and remind ourselves Who is really in control. Be fully present for your playtime.

Sweet friends, play is not something we do when the work is done; play is what we do because the Work has already been done. We are not hamsters on a wheel trying to earn love and approval – we are already loved. The work of Christ on the Cross was enough. It’s time to have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. ( John 10:10 AMP)

Let playtime begin!

Speaker, Author, Overcomer

" The Lord their God will save them...they will *sparkle* jewels in a crown".   Zechariah 9:16

Linking up with Emily for Imperfect Prose, Jennifer Lee for #tellHisstory, Michell for DYWW,  Women to Women Sharita for Everyday Jesus, Lyli for Thought Provoking Thursday, Amy for #RiskRejection, and Laura for Quitting Thursday.


  1. Love this! Cindy, you are so so so much FUN and Jen this just fits perfect into your word/theme of the year doesn't it? I love the card picture. The thought of that happening at my kitchen table totally stresses me out because all I can think of is "we need to stack them neatly right NOW." Okay, yeah, just a tiny bit OCD. Ha! No, really, I love love love this post. Thank you both!

    1. Melody, YOU are so fun! I'll never forget that picture of you and your wig in the McDonald's drive thru. I say y'all road trip on up here to Michigan and we all play cards together! Miss you, dear friend! xoxo

  2. Jen,this post made me smile from ear to ear. Just looking at the photo of playing cards flying into the air tickled me. What a great resource--thank you for featuring Cindy.

  3. Cindy ~ This is a FUN list.


  4. This is TOO COOL and mucho encouraging! Thanks for these great tips... Now if you will excuse me, I need to go play :-)


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