When did I forget how to play?
Obviously, there isn’t an exact date, but more likely it was a series of choices I made.
I elevated proficiency and professionalism because it got the job done with excellence and efficiency.
I valued functionality and usefulness and despised activities that felt like a waste of time.
Even loving people became a project, a meaningful endeavor always with an ulterior agenda.
The scary thing is I think I’ve lived this way for YEARS. I’m not talking one or two or even ten years, but about thirty years. I’ve been bound up in a system that claims play is only for the youngest children at home tinkering with their blocks or building sculptures out of play-do.
Our world is not a welcome place for the playful.
Schools are set up as a sleek system set up primarily to feed the masses a quick and clean education. The swings, the slides, and the sunshine is only for recess time.
Our suburban neighborhoods, where I’ve spent most of my life, like to give us the appearance of wild space and natural beauty. But upon closer look they are the perfect exhibition of our culture’s obsession with safety and security and sameness.
And typical jobs leave little room for creativity or experimentation. Punished for playing too much because it is dangerous and destructive in the work space. The company’s success sits upon our ability to do what we’re asked and try not to ask too many questions.
I won’t hesitate to mention here that the language and culture of our Christian faith only serves to stifle our playfulness as well. We preach about vision and calling with the voice of a businessman in a suit and ties rather than a wild Savior inviting us into the unknown.
We encourage one another to be driven and climb the ladders of love- where being used by God and bringing in the most souls are the marks of true maturity in our faith.
I know I’m not the only one in tears over here, unable to explain why our hearts are cracking, all stiff and brittle, why we feel confused about our next step, stuck in an endless season or cycle, and unable to hear God’s invitation to more.
Listen close. The loss of play in our lives was not an innocent act. The fingerprints of the enemy are all over it.
Could it be that back when we were still learning how to spell our name and color in the lines, we were told that we were supposed to get serious about life now?
Could it be that the enemy is trying everything in his power to make us deaf to the laughter of God and blind to His smile over us?
Could it be that for more years that we care to realize, we’ve been taught that faith is like a classroom, a place where we are graded, where the rules are many, and where sitting still, listening, and obeying make us the best student?
Could it be that the seeds of playfulness were snatched up along with our coloring crayons and because of this tragic kidnapping we have forgotten what it means to live an adventure and travel with a wild God?