Learning to Play

Shauna Niequist honestly

One of my new things (of which there are many these days—I feel sort of adolescent, changing and growing and trying new things faster than I can keep up with, in a good way) is playing.

Playing: spending time lavishly, staring into space, wandering around the block, sitting on the kitchen floor eating blueberries with Mac.

My goal upon returning to real life after lake life is to keep my summer heart—my flexible, silly, ready-to-play, ever-so-slightly irresponsible heart. What I’ve been delighted to find is that it’s not that our real life is all wrong, by any means—it’s not that I’m doing work I hate or that I’m ill-fit for the life we’ve made.

It’s that for all sorts of reasons, I default to hustle mode all too often.

Hustle is the opposite of heart.

And so one of the tiny little things I’m learning to do is to play—essentially, to purposely waste time. Strategically avoid strategy, for five minutes at a time. Intentionally not be intentional about every second. Have no purpose—on purpose.

There  are  lots  of  conversations  right  now  about  how to do everything better/faster/smarter, how to streamline, multitask,  layer,  balance,  flow,  juggle.  How to  monetize, strategize, and on and on. This is good stuff. Necessary stuff. But my jam these days is wasting time, playing, becoming aware of that internal engine that always wants to go faster, faster, faster. That engine is not the best part of me. My heart is the best part of me.

And I’m finding that my heart loves to play. My heart loves to color and draw, loves to dance in the kitchen, loves to shoot baskets, loves to do cartwheels with my nieces in the front yard.

What would our lives be like if our days were studded by tiny, completely unproductive, silly, nonstrategic, wild and beautiful five-minute  breaks,  reminders  that  our  days  are for loving and learning and laughing, not for pushing and planning, reminders that it’s all about the heart, not about the hustle?


Taken from Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist Copyright © 2016 by Shauna Niequist. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.