When we were newly weds, I would kick Nathan out of bed.  I didn’t send him to the couch to sleep or accidentally roll over to his side.  No, I would wait until he was starting to go to sleep, gradually angle myself horizontally on the bed, position both feet firmly on his slumbering body and kick with all my might.  You see, I didn’t want him to fall asleep before me and my violent, yet playful act would make certain that I had his undivided attention.

Aren’t you glad you didn’t marry me?

Celebrating my new marriage naturally manifested itself in play.

When my son, Isaac was born, I had an almost uncanny desire to play with him.  I remember holding him while he was awake and wondering when this little cuddly cherub would become coordinated enough to play with me.  Let’s get on with this hand-eye coordination thing so we can wrestle, throw a ball, run with the wind!

So I should have known that it was coming when I sat alone in that little prayer chapel, a seriously devout look upon my face.  But I didn’t see it coming.  I was here on serious business!

My future lay in the balance of this moment.  You see, I had packed up years of ministry and turned it over with a bow to my successor.  And I needed to know, now what?

But this serious, critical moment, needed some decisive intervention.  And all I heard from the Lord that day, though I tried and tried to keep it serious, was that I needed to  ‘learn to play.’

New life is celebrated with play.  New marriages, new babies, why not new life assignments?

Do you know that play guards my heart even to this day?  With the unknowns of life, the upheaval of comfort zones, new challenges and the requirement to learn new skills, I am rested and refreshed by play.

It doesn’t take much but looking around us to see that the natural world – with its over-the-top beauty, ravishing diversity, and pleasurable discoveries was designed with play in mind.

Maybe we are most who God designed us to be when we lose ourselves in play.