Having fun is an act of hope

Written by Sarah J Hauser
Published on December 28, 2021

One of my goals this past year was to have more fun. 

I am pragmatic to a fault, so I confess, I had to put “fun” on my to-do list. As I write, I can see the notecard taped above my desk with my goals—fun written near the top in pink permanent marker. 

Maybe you can guess how well that goal is going. I think I can safely assume 2020 went nothing like anyone planned, and 2021 wasn’t much easier. 

Maybe fun has been hard to come by. Even if this season has brought sweet moments at home or unexpected gifts, maybe you’re still feeling pressed down by a thousand tiny weights. 

Or maybe it’s one big boulder you’re carrying. Whatever the case, whether you’re anxious about the school situation, grieving injustice, fearful about the future, discouraged, or just plain tired, I want to remind us of something. 

You are still allowed to have fun. 

Doing something for the sheer joy of it—good ‘ol, laughing until you cry and your gut hurts fun

Fight discouragement with laughter

There’s a scene in Park and Recreation when Andy and April take an impromptu road trip to the Grand Canyon. When they arrive, they hop out of the car and walk toward the edge, soaking in the blue skies set against red, brown, and gray cliffs. 

Andy says, “It’s so much more beautiful than I could have ever even imagined.” April looks out at the view. “Yeah, I’m trying to find a way to be annoyed by it, but, I’m coming up empty.” 

For someone who’s annoyed at everyone and everything most of the time, she couldn’t stay that way in the presence of something truly awe-inspiring. I think the same is true with fun. 

Just like it’s hard to be annoyed by the beauty of the Grand Canyon, it’s hard to feel discouraged when we can’t help but smile and laughter is spilling over. 

Life isn’t all fun and games, of course. That’s painfully clear. But I wonder if some of us could use a moment to look up from the tasks of the day or set aside the burdens of the world and make space to laugh again. 

Fun is an act of hope

In the book of Zechariah, God promises that one day when he restores all that’s been broken, the city will be a place “full of boys and girls playing in the streets” (Zechariah 8:5 ESV) 

Playing. Laughter. Fun. 

Those are not useless endeavors. They’re acts of hope. Fun gives us a way to stare into the darkness and say, “You will not win.”
And that fun and laughter can sometimes refuel us enough to return to our tasks and our tears with renewed strength and purpose. 

I think we can endure the hard times when we regularly remind ourselves that joy still exists. 

So here’s to having more fun this year. It may take an extra measure of creativity and thought, but let’s not let fun slip through our fingers. Whether it’s a 10-minute break to read a fiction book, playing basketball in the driveway, coloring with new pencils, or finally going on that camping trip, I hope you can make some fun happen this month. 

I bet we could all use a little more of it.

Consider a few extra resources:

Saving your best for those you love the most

Hockey, Slurpees, and Jesus: Everyday faith adventures with our kids

Freedom in Christ—a more enjoyable way to live

Live perfectly imperfect

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Sarah J Hauser

Sarah J. Hauser is a writer and speaker living in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and three kids. Through theology, stories, and the occasional recipe, she helps others find nourishment for their souls. She loves cooking but rarely follows a recipe exactly, and you can almost always find her with a cup of coffee in hand. Read more at sarahjhauser.com, check out her newsletter, or find her on Instagram (@sarah.j.hauser).

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