We have to stop doing unnecessary.
In this short blog series about Wellness, I want to deal quickly with the idea of play. That's right. Play. We don't often think about play being spiritual.
This is what our lives look like. A bunch of unnecessary. Several years ago I watched a ted.com talk that challenged me to discipline my life in the area of play. And how play influences our health. And I want to take play to another level. To the areas of exercise, nutrition, rest, and wellness. Things like games, eating better, consistent sleep patterns, and exercise. Intentional disciplines that changed my life. And especially my spirituality.
We hear often that 'Leaders are readers' (education). But, I also believe that 'Leaders are players' (play), 'Leaders are eaters' (nutrition), 'Leaders are sleepers' (rest), and 'Leaders are weepers' (exercise).
What Is Play Deprivation?
Over the years I have watched young people struggle with their spirituality and their identity. Invariably teenagers think that production and busyness is satisfaction. Things like how much they volunteer, how many chapters they read, how many good deeds they do, or how many people they please will determine their spirituality. Our fast-paced world requires outcomes. And I think most people believe that if they are busy they are productive. And that pace equals success. But this is simply not true.
Spirituality is not only about praying. Maybe we need to place more value on playing.
I believe play and wellness is as vital a contributor to our spirituality as anything. And I want to present a new concept that shapes our spirituality as well as reading, praying, and fasting. It is the power of play, rest, and nutrition.
We are living in a society that has a 'play deprivation'. A lack of recreation, laughter, creativity, and imagination. A lack of rest and nutrition. And each of these add to our wellness and ultimately the energy and the attitude to pursue spiritual things. It is interesting that one of the commands in the Ten Commandments is to Sabbaoth. Read this post today and be encouraged.
It's simple. You are actually being asked to play more. That should be great news. Why? Because we think play is a waste of time and counterproductive. Our culture has equated play or rest or recreation as a waste of time. But I'm telling you that play is crucial to your spiritual health.
The Outcomes Of Play Deprivation
Let me deal with our recreation and wellness from the angle of play. It is no surprise that we have seen a lack of play growing in our culture here in the west.
It could be that we are too busy or that we are too lazy for play. What about an intentional middle? It could be that we fail to see the value of play. And that will take a change of thinking.
There are serious signs to a lack of play. They include anger, depression, self-harm, loss of creativity, loss of confidence, lack of exploration, health concerns, unable to sleep, and even social awkwardness. Here are some practical steps to increasing your play.
A Play History
What is your play history? Solomon said in Proverbs, that "Laughter does good like a medicine." I think we could all use a good does of play.
Here's a test. Thinking about these questions should stir your interest in play activities and result in greater mental, physical, and spiritual health. When is the last time you played with an object? (ball, squeeze toy, or pencil). When is the last time you laughed so hard you cried? What is the last memory, conversation, event, or circumstance that caused you to laugh out of control? How do you relieve tension or stress from your life? Give an answer to the following questions by stating ‘DAILY’, ‘WEEKLY’, or ‘MONTHLY’:
How often do you run? How often do you jump? How often do you laugh? How often do you make up a game? How often do you dream or imagine?
Running In The Street
Have you seen the commercial? A man is watching his favorite team on television and on the last play of the game they score a touchdown and win. He begins to celebrate wildly while the son records him jumping up and down and then running outside down the street screaming and yelling.
Not your style of play? How about this assignment for today? Forget the unnecessary. Focus on the necessary.
Play. Dream. Grab a toy or a ball. Make up a game. Don't step on the sidewalk or hallway cracks. Go to the park and play frisbee. Get together with friends and play board games. Take a nap. Eat more fruit and vegetables. Don't eat after 9 pm. And see if some of the tension in life sub-sides.
"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to their friends; 'we played the flute for you and you did not dance...'" -Jesus, Matthew 11