For Lent this year I engaged in the practice of doing something fun every day. After starting the year with both kinds of flu and about six weeks of not feeling great, giving something up was the last thing I wanted to do. I do like marking the Lenten time-I didn't grow up with Lenten practice, and find it a valuable discipline. So this year I took on a different kind of practice: fun.
Some of you have been following my daily fun practice on Facebook (friend me if you'd like to see more of what I've done). Here are a few examples:
- music: choir practice, concerts,and voice lessons
- baking oatmeal butterscotch cookies
- watching James Bond movies, and listening to music from Bond movies,
- celebrating my husband's birthday and my own
- art exercises from my friend Bridget Benton's book, The Creative Conversation.
- walking in the sun and enjoying spring flowers (and a little bit of smugness thinking about the rest of the country).
Someone asked me, "Is it hard to think of things to do?" No, not really. I do have to think about it, but I keep getting new ideas.
Fun is not a waste of time for church leaders, or for anyone else. It has value for its own sake - life is a blessing, and it's wonderful simply to enjoy small pleasures.
And, I've found that having fun every day has improved my mood and boosted my productivity. It's easier to do some of the grunt work if you know there's something fun coming later. And sometimes when I don't have a single creative idea, doing my fun activity stimulates my imagination. Suddenly I can see my way through a creative jam. I finished the manuscript of my book on churches and money on Good Friday.
I've also started organizing my daily tasks by fun, which makes it a lot easier to get started. What would be most fun to do first? I ask myself. I'm putting tasks on 3×5 cards, and sorting the stack by fun - and sometimes I re-sort into a more fun order later in the day. Fun creates a momentum. The later, less fun tasks, somehow seem easier.
My colleague, Rev. John Polite, as I noted last year, told me that at his church they encourage people to give up something for Lent they want to give up for good. Last year, I gave up worry for Lent (and I actually do worry a lot less now). John told me the other day that I could keep doing something fun even when Lent is over. Thanks-that's a great idea. Fun as a regular daily routine. I like it!
What do you (or could you) do to increase the fun factor in your own life and ministry?
Get the free mini-course, "Five Ways to Avoid Burnout in Ministry" at margaretmarcuson.com.