By contributing writer Ashley Haupt, blogger at Little Pieces of Ordinary.
We live in a work-a-day world. If we are swept up in the currents of the time, we could possibly find ourselves too exhausted to enjoy the lives we’ve been given.
Embracing a simpler life is not just about cutting out stress, it’s also about finding time to do the things that light us up inside.
This is different for each of us. I know teachers, lawyers, and doctors just within my acquaintance who do their regular jobs with excellence, but in their spare time? They enjoy making art. The problem with art is that it doesn’t usually produce a paycheck, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t extremely valuable.
It may not be art. It may be extreme fitness, biking, sports, crafting, home renovation, decorating, baking, reading, shopping, antiquing, designing, fashion, acting, drawing, building, singing, playing an instrument, etc.
It’s whatever makes you come alive and recharges your inner battery. Yet you never get around to it. Why is that?
Six Reasons Why We Don’t Do the Things We Love
1. We don’t make time.
We have this long to-do list of responsible items, and most of us operate on the work-then-play schedule.
One problem: our world of rapid technology demands more, more, more until we never actually reach the end of our to-do list, which means we never actually get to the play part of the paradigm. Anyone? Anyone?
2. No one gives us permission.
As we grow and mature, we acquire more and more independence until suddenly you are handed a job, a spouse, keys to a home, or a tiny little new person at the hospital, and you can’t believe these nurses aren’t hopping in your car with you when you leave to make sure you’ve got this.
We can find ourselves so busy trying to cover all our bases and “get it all right” (myth alert!), that we forget to find our own rhythms in life. Or how to make our lives more fun while still accomplishing what we need to accomplish.
3. We think too big.
Sometimes we don’t do what we love to do because we think it has to look a certain way, and we haven’t ever thought about how to make it work in our current situation.
Just because you don’t have money for a dinner and movie date night doesn’t mean you can’t cuddle on the couch and watch a favorite show.
Life is not all or nothing. Maybe there is a hobby you want to start, but you are waiting for the stars to align so you can take a class. Don’t wait for the class! Get in the kitchen, get behind the camera, get to a canvas, and start now. Have fun! No one is looking over your shoulder. Play is freedom.
Think smaller, shrink your expectations, and find a way to start today.
4. We don’t think it matters.
It matters. We can be defined by so many good and responsible things in our lives that we do well. But the things we love doing actually reveal the essence of our personhood.
What floats your boat also reveals a little piece of your soul, that part of you that God made completely snowflakishly unique.
When we let that part of us engage in what we love, we experience the nourishing satisfaction of being who God made us to be—and this is joyful indeed.
5. It seems self-indulgent.
Raising guilty hand. It’s taken me too long in life to realize that I am a better wife, mom, friend, daughter, person when I allow myself to be recharged by doing the things I love to do.
For so long I was hung up on doing what I needed to do that I let myself live drained instead of recharging through play.
This is not how God wants me to live, it’s not abundant life, and He wasn’t putting that yoke of service on me. He doesn’t want me for what I can do for him. I am not just a tool in his belt. He wants me for me, for my love and my worship and even my play—all to His infinite glory.
6. We don’t actually know what it is that recharges us.
If you go years under the yoke of all work and no play, you do become a dull boy or girl. You don’t even know what you like to do, where you like to eat, what you enjoy.
After seven years of pregnancy and nursing and borrowed maternity clothes, I didn’t even know what kind of style I like to wear.
But it’s important to find out because it puts you back in touch with yourself. When you are caring for others or just working so hard at a job or trying to make your way in the world, you need time to remember what you enjoy, and who you are when you aren’t trying so hard. We all need play. Recreation recreates us in a very real way.
We think we can be more productive by burning the candle at both ends, but actually we are more productive when we allow our brains and bodies time to rest and time to play.
Maybe to just light the candle and stare at it for awhile, enjoying the little glow of warmth.
Try it. Figure out what you like to do and play today. Just a little. It’s a risky experiment and yes, you may feel like you have wasted time, but if you don’t obsess over that time too much, you might just find a little extra bounce in your step on your way to work tomorrow.
What recharges you?