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A Time to Play

“There is a time for everything,” says the Teacher, “and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. . .” (Eccl. 3:1-2).

I carry on with my own lines, letting the wisdom in the Teacher’s words nudge me a little deeper into God’s gentleness in the areas where I need it today.

There is a time to press deep into theology, and a time to relax and enjoy God in his creation. A time to keep one’s seat in the chair and fingers on the keyboard, and a time to close the laptop and head out to the balcony where the hanging basket is pleading for attention and the breeze touches shoulders gently and the body and soul have room to breathe.

Sometimes what my plants need is not more fertilizer, but a little attention with the scissors as I pause to snip away the rubbery nub left behind when the fuchsia flowers fall. Sometimes what I need to flourish is not more theology and Scripture—more fertilizing—but the pruning away of some beliefs and behaviours that discourage further blooming.

I carry on, cleaning away the papery pouches which hold the nemesia seeds, watching the small seeds scatter. Unlike the fuchsia, which will stop blooming if I fail to remove the pods, the nemesia don’t really need their pods removed, but I’m having fun now, and maybe a little TLC will help them flourish?

And maybe, sometimes, the choice to stop working and savour life and beauty is, in that moment, the greatest manifestation of trust.

Sitting out here on this summer morning, I realize that I’m pruning away bits and pieces that keep me from blooming at the same time as I’m tending my plants.

I’m releasing my grip on the belief that work must always come before play. (There is a time for everything, and sometimes weariness can be God’s messenger, nudging me toward his gentle care and the renewal he gives through rest.)

I’m letting go, too, of the belief that God delights more in my work-worship than in my rest-worship, and takes more pleasure in my productivity than my play.

I’ll need God’s gentle reminders again, I’m sure—probably in the not too distant future. But how lovely that he knows me and loves me and keeps calling to me, as he does to all of us, precisely in the areas he knows we most need it, summoning us to come and settle a little more deeply in his love.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Monique

    Oof wow. This so resonates for me today, Carolyn. Thank you.
    Warmest greetings from Scotland. x

  2. Sue Demmons

    Hi Carolyn from NS! Have you heard of the Rhythm of rest and work based on John 15 (Parable of the Vine)? Your devotional underscores that rest is part of God’s design for us. The Rhythm is one of the teaching from Mike Breen who headed up the 3DM ministry on Missional Communities. The Rhythm has had a big impact on me who learned I had to work to earn rest. The Rhythm teaches God’s design is to work FROM rest. He commanded Adam and Eve to rest on the 7th day and then start their work. I love your blog!

    1. Carolyn Watts

      Thanks Sue. I haven’t heard of Mike Green or his work specifically, though I have come across a different book in the past called “Working from a place of rest.” I just keep needing reminders, though I’ve certainly grown in this area.

  3. Cheryl Powers

    Yes! And He reaches us in just the ways He knows we are most open and need Him. Beautiful photography along with the message, thanks much today!

  4. Bonita

    Wow! So apt. Here I am on a microSabbatical of 6 weeks, I think my biggest need is to play more! We are here in the mountains of Macedonia and I think it is soon time to close the laptop and go explore. I indeed find it hard to believe that God delights in my rest and really want to produce something out of this rest time or for it to produce some fruit in me but it’s hard to make that happen!
    Thank you for this reminder!

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