An appeal for frivolity

Starting in the fall of 2011, I started hearing from the Lord two words: “Lighten up.” I can’t say this was shocking, but what surprised me was the consistency with which I was hearing those words. Daily. Sometimes throughout the day. I was perplexed, frustrated and truthfully, a little bit angry about this.

Life is hard. I don’t need to tell you that. It is full of Woe, Angst, and Trouble. Life must be taken seriously in order to be lived well. Right?

After one particularly frustrating conversation, I said to God, You just want me to be frivolous! “Yes,” he replied. I sputtered and coughed mentally. You mean, you want me to be frivolous? “Yes.” It was then I realized that I think of frivolity as a dirty word, and having fun as an escape from life, not an act of living.

Now I’ll admit, the Bible is not a jokebook, or even a book of comic essays. But have you read the story of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing from Issac? Yes, it’s full of tension and danger, but it is also really funny! (Genesis 27; try reading it out loud with different character voices.)  And some of the Psalms–often characterized as “real downers”–sound like a great party, proclaiming praise to the Lord with whatever instrument is close at hand. And what about David dancing naked before the Ark of the Covenant? Sounds foolish, doesn’t it? Downright frivolous.

How much of our own weighty circumstances are weighty because of our own dour expectations of their weight? Are these the burdens we take on ourselves rather than surrendering them to Christ because we don’t know how to put them into God’s perspective? Would our burdens “lighten up” if we did?

Today I’m going to practice being frivolous. I’m going to go paint something. It might just be a chair, but who knows? Maybe it will be art.


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