I find myself to be a relatively positive person. I am not sure why, or how it works, but I consider it a gift. But it wasn’t always that way. I had friends in high school and college that would say, “Jenilee, you are too happy. There is no way you are real, or that there is any depth to you.” I remember crying and praying to God asking for a more serious side so that people would see me as someone with depth, not as someone faking my personality. Following those comments, anytime someone would point out how happy I was, I immediately got insecure. I worried that people thought of me as someone who couldn’t carry intellectual or deep theological conversations because I was too positive and happy. And in order to have any good theological conversation you have to be serious. How silly is that?
Whenever I am around a child, I have a personal goal: to make them smile or laugh. I think in my mind, how long will it take for me to make them smile, and what lengths will I have to go to complete this challenge? Some kids break easy, and they smile, and giggle quickly. Then there are those who are stone faced, and it takes a lot of funny voices, smiles, flailing of arms, and if you’re desperate, sometimes it takes jumping around to get them to smile and laugh. I love seeing kids laugh and smile. It’s like they are wired to do so. And for so many of us, we love to see kids smile, laugh and to have fun.
What happened between being a child and now? Why are we not laughing as much? Why do we not try to have fun? Why are we not engaging other “grown ups” around us to laugh, or make them smile? Have we succumbed to the idea that life, as we get older, must become serious?
I keep picturing God having that same personal goal with all of us. He is trying to make us laugh as if we were a child. He’s smiling at you, maybe playing peek-a-boo. Maybe at first you don’t notice, because of the circumstances around you or you are consumed with situations that are surrounding your life. Maybe you hide your head in shame or embarrassment, like a kid buries his face into some object to hide, not sure what God would want with you. But eventually the laughter and the intrigue of fun draws us out from focusing on our junk, and allows us to focus on our Creator, the one who created us with the ability to laugh and to have fun. When was the last time you took time to engage the fun side of God? When was the last time you let God break through and get a smirk out of you?
The next couple weeks, Heather Zempel, NCC’s Discipleship Pastor, and I will be blogging about fun. Not just fun in general, but the Theology of Fun. How does fun relate to God and how does God related to fun is the adventure that we will embark? We hope you enjoy this journey, because I can tell you that Heather and I are definitely enjoying it!