An invitation to play


Stephen King isn’t someone I read very often, but his advice to writers has me thinking:

“Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.” (Stephen King, On Writing, p. 101)

It’s easy for work—even work that is a good gift from God, work that we enjoy and to which we are deeply and truly called—to take over our life. To become its center. That is, to become an idol.

On my way home from Afghanistan six years ago, someone gave me a picture. She saw me as a toddler, playing happily on the floor, my Father leaning forward to watch me with delight.

I’ve been asking God about that picture. I’m still learning how to live it.

God plays. How else do you explain clown fish and peacocks’ feathers and the homely comedy of a donkey’s bray?

Play can be a good gift from a loving Father, a gift He delights to give and to see us receive.

Play can be faith, a way of saying “You are God and I don’t have to run the world.”

So I’ve been asking God to teach me to play.

He began during last summer’s vacation when the day’s early sunbeam winked, one-eyed, through the string-hole in the blind, inviting me to come and play. Had I rolled over and closed my eyes again I would have closed my eyes to love, to life, to Him who was calling me to enter both. Not to play was not to pray.

This summer He’s gathering recruits from as far as England, bringing together all seven of my nieces and nephews ranging from less than a year to thirteen, as well as my siblings and their spouses and my parents, each with a unique and hilarious sense of humor.

Doctors take vacations. Teachers do. And engineers. And this writer needs a few weeks off too, to learn more deeply how to rest and play and let God take care of the world.

So I won’t be posting my regular Monday blogs through July. I’m not sure if I’ll write at all during these weeks. Like Stephen King’s desk, during July this blog is taking its place in the corner while I live life, receiving God’s good gifts and giving myself freely to God and to family. But play has a way of erupting into joy and creativity which flows over and begs to be shared. So it’s quite possible I’ll pop by here occasionally and drop in a photo or a few thoughts that seem too good to keep to myself. (If you’re not already signed up to receive my blog posts via email, feel free to do that so you don’t miss the fun.) And if you’re someone who looks forward to receiving my Monday posts and will miss them (—a humble thank you), please make yourself at home in the archives or peek back at these posts I’ve been revisiting myself lately as I ask God to teach me to receive His good gifts of rest and play:

Life is not an exam

Of ziplines and life: how to enjoy the ride

When you long to come closer (. . . but have no idea how)

The kind of God he is

Look forward to seeing you here again soon! And happy playing 🙂

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Jean Hawkins

    I am so filled with joy at the thought of all of you gathered for play, fun, and wonderful relationships with each other and the Father who enters into all! Praying for all that goes into this time together! Much love, Jean

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thanks, Jean. So looking forward to it, as I’m sure you are to your time with J&K & co afterwards. I love the way you worded that about “the Father who enters into all.” Yes!

  2. Stacey Sullivan

    enjoy playing and receiving! I love your blogs…they have been amazingly similar to the calling and invitations In my own journey and used in a powerful way to keep listening. Thanks for your vulnerability!

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thank you, Stacey. May you too be given grace to receive gifts of play over the coming months!

  3. Laraine

    Have a wonderful summer break Carolyn. I have sent your blog on to several hurting people recently and I know they will benefit from reading your past blogs. Thanks again.

    1. hearingtheheartbeat

      Thanks, Laraine. I’m always grateful when God can use what He’s teaching me to help set others free too!

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