As a kid, Memorial Day meant the unofficial start of summer, promising long days of sunshine and books and bike rides and sprinklers and homemade ice cream and swing sets and going to the lake and grilled hot dogs and staying up late….

Do you remember those precious, unhurried days where you could play to your heart’s content?

There’s something to the art of play—of tapping into carefree creativity and imagination that makes time fade. You look up and it’s been minutes or hours, you don’t know which, because you’re fully engaged in the joy of this moment.

In our frenzied, productivity-matters-most society, play is seen as frivolous. Irresponsible. Fine for kids, but not so much for grown-ups.

I’m convinced one of the reasons the Christian life grows dull and uninspiring is that we forget how engaging and playful God is with us. (Or maybe we never even knew.)

a playful Savior

Wouldn’t it be great if we had those “books the world can’t contain” the Apostle John talks about? You know, the ones where Jesus did “many other things” no one wrote down? (See John 21:25) Imagine the stories, miracles, conversations, jokes, and inspiration we’d find!

When we read stories of Jesus in the Gospels, we find hidden moments of playfulness. Jesus was no boring, sedate, religious teacher. He was a sure-of-His-purpose, rock-the-boat, highly-engaging, do-something-unexpected Son of God!

Like the time the disciples spent the night on their boat . . .

Here are these professional fishermen, working hard all night, without catching a single fin.

Jesus stops by in the morning and nonchalantly recommends, “Cast your net on the other side of the boat.” The poor guys must’ve thought, Don’t you think we tried that a dozen times last night?

But they throw the net over one more time . . . and the net’s so full of fish they can’t haul it into the boat! They drag the bulging net back to shore behind the boat like an overstuffed inner tube. (see John 21:1-8)

I imagine Jesus laughed in delight along with the disciples, don’t you? What a playful scene!

playful grace

The grand news of grace is that God is good, and He delights in you. You have permission to enjoy today. To be playful. To engage with Him in a fun, intimate relationship. No striving for His approval. No worrying about being “perfect.” No working till you drop, just to keep Him happy. Grace says God delights in you and can’t wait to walk today’s adventure beside you. And Jesus is still that same, creative Savior He was when He walked on earth.

As Paul reminds us:

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?”

-Romans 8:15 (MSG)

When life grows dreary, with days full of “doing the right thing” and weeks low on hope & joy, it’s time to tap into the grace of playfulness. To become more like the children we once were – unafraid of hope and playfulness.


true stories of playfulness

Here are a couple of stories of playful grace in real life.

-Noisy Picnics

The other day I was feeling distracted and needed some extra time with Jesus. So I grabbed lunch and drove to a nearby park. The sun was glorious. I couldn’t wait to sit and talk to Jesus while I ate. Then the mowers started up in the field right next to me. The wind whipped so hard I lost a napkin (and almost sacrificed a taco). Two birds broke into a ridiculously loud argument right above my head…. And I couldn’t stop smiling at the sheer playfulness of it all!

How refreshing to take a spontaneous picnic in a place I love! I felt like a kid again, enjoying impromptu fun in the middle of the day. And I went back to work with a lighter, happier heart.

-A Hearty LOL

A friend of mine has been leaning into God’s unending love. Lately, wherever she goes, hearts turn up: a cloud. Some random leaves on the ground. A trinket on a store shelf. Each one reminds her of God’s constant love.

The funniest instance, though, was the day she was halfway through her walk and looked down to see a giant heart on the ground. As she bent to look closer, she realized it was a big, brown cow patty! She laughed and laughed all the way home, certain God put that priceless reminder there just to make her smile.


God sure is playful with us!

He delights in you today, before you ever lift a finger or conquer your to-do list. And He planned today’s unique adventure for the two of you to navigate together with grace and playfulness.

What moments of playfulness can you enjoy with your Heavenly Father today?