Do you have fun? How often? How often do you find yourself simply laughing with friends? Playing a game? Relaxing and enjoying some time alone guilt free?
Sometimes the casualty of getting older seems to be that we have more difficulty enjoying ourselves. Now, I know that some people reading this will think, "I can't identify at all. I love having fun. It happens regularly." For you - fantastic. Be thankful. Keep on. But for the rest, perhaps some of you can identify. Here are some of the causes that I have experienced:
Busyness - As responsibilities increase, we find ourselves thinking more and more about what has to get done. We are more concerned about accomplishing the list and the next thing in front of us than anything. We find satisfaction in a job done and done well. But then it's on to the next item on the list. We find ourselves as often simply trying to get through the next season of busyness and think, "I'll relax when I am caught up." Since this so rarely happens, we don't stop to relax and enjoy.
Disappointments - As disappointments pile up over the years, we find the weight of these disappointments creeping in our thoughts more often than we'd like. Some people get cynical and have difficulty seeing the good in situations and fun. We find ourselves dwelling on situations and broken relationships. We are disappointed in others, ourselves, God and the world in general.
Expectations - When we are children, there are few expectations. We simply enjoy having fun with brief periods of having to do some chores. Sometimes the expectations of the world, of others, of ourselves, overwhelms us. We spend our time responding to what has to be done in some attempt to validate our identity.
In the end, we still have fun . . . at times. Vacation is good. A long weekend is great. But I wonder if this is enough. Some years ago I was sitting around with my family. We were playing cards and having a great time. Everyone was laughing and generally having a great time. Yet in the midst of it, I felt more like a spectator than a participant. Something in my soul said, "This is not right."
The writer of Ecclesiastes said that we don't find ultimate meaning in the things we do in this life. As a result, we should enjoy what God has blessed us with while we walk this journey. So what I am trying to do is slow down. Be present in the moment. Stop carrying what has happened in the past with me. Don't overthink things. Just have some fun.
I am laughing more. I am crying more. I am not always there, but I will say, I am having more fun. And it is great. Try it. You won't be sorry.
Weldon Lemke has been leading Hope Chapel since 2009 with a passion to see people come to know God and grow to maturity in Him.