The competition was high; the stakes were massive. The rules of the games were being laid out with the detail required by a serious endeavor. Clarifying questions were asked so rules would be followed–no one wanted to be disqualified.

Candy was at stake.

It was our yearly Fun Day. Instead of deeper, more reflective input, this is a time set aside for pure enjoyment.

People get to know one another quickly in playful situations. I’m more willing to let my guard down, let others see who I really am when I play games. As Brooklyn, in all her three-year-old wisdom says, “Silly is fun.”

Group competition was designed to involve everyone. Specific skill sets helped; those with athleticism definitely had an advantage in some of the tasks. It wasn’t just the fast and furious that could get it done–we needed people who could memorize well, tell stories, figure out puzzles, and be incredibly observant. We had an hour to finish the tasks.

Everybody participated in some way. Some activities required the entire team; other tasks needed only two people to compete. What I witnessed was how those not involved in the task at the moment were cheering teammates on to greatness. Affirmations were being shared in abundance. I hadn’t heard that much encouragement in a long time.

Being encouraged does something to us. It takes our minds off the things we know we don’t do so well and gives a sense of hope that we have accomplished something of value, enough to garner praise.

It takes ten genuinely shared affirmative statements to undo the damage done by one carelessly spoken criticism. Which should surprise no one. It is so much easier to believe the bad about us than it is to embrace the good.

Even when the competitors stumbled on their task, either physically or not understanding what was required, people were generous with praise.

Failure wasn’t fatal at all.

When we’re in an environment where we’re not afraid of letting others down or of being embarrassed by things over which we have no control, it’s easy to step outside our comfort zones and do what we’ve not tried before. If failing isn’t a deal-breaker, if our lack of success doesn’t disqualify us for other opportunities, we’re much more likely to try something new. Something bold and possibly a little scary.

God encourages us to trust Him for all our needs. It helps to be able to distinguish between greeds and needs; needs are things we require in our lives–people, environments, circumstances–that provides courage for us to live without fear. Trusting God to provide what our hearts and souls need to thrive in a broken world takes courage. He doesn’t always answer the way we think He should.

Sometimes He tells us to wait.

In the meantime, He provides a place and space of encouragement and affirmation that no one can take away from us. He tells us how He delights in us and enjoys us because His love has made us complete.

What would it take to feel the freedom to try something new and different?

Maybe a wink from God and a little bit of fun.

 

 

 

 

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