Monday, June 9, 2014

In Defense of Not Having Fun (nor Donald Miller’s "Guilt," either)



Donald Miller having fun at Christian Book Expo 2009

Let me start by saying this: I don’t disagree with Donald Miller’s blog post on the importance of “the fun in serving others” by using “our skills and passions,” and allowing that some aspects of service feel more like duty, and that, in addition to “fun” we should be aware of what we find “fulfilling.” (The post is found here: http://storylineblog.com/2014/06/09/what-if-christians-stopped-serving-out-of-guilt/?utm_content=buffer3a22c&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer)
But if you follow my blog at all, you know that what I find most fulfilling isn’t anywhere near what others (sane others, at least) would define as “fun.” And when Don Miller offers that some things are “fulfilling” it’s only in the context of “doing good things for people because it was a fun and fulfilling way to live.” So, since his point is to prolong the absence of cardiologists from our lives by omitting the “ought to’s” from our lives, and since I agree with him primary point, why am I bothering to write this post?
I agree that we shouldn’t do anything to further damage our (literal, anatomical, physiologically-essential) hearts by the stresses of guilt and shame for not living up to others’ image and “oughts.” I also believe strongly that most of us manage to limp along, especially in Christian service, with (figurative, spiritual, emotionally-outpouring) hearts that rarely get exercised in the right direction. So, as important as it is to avoid having your heart snared, exploited, and deadened in the service of someone else’s purposes, that most effectively happens, in my experience, when we determine to find, fulfill, and find our fulfillment in the specific, unique, and divine life callings God installed in each of us.
Serving the dying & bereaved: fulfilling. Not always fun         
So, I encourage others to “be who you are, and the doing will follow” (which I believe sums up Ephesians 2:8-10 rather nicely), even when I know that many of them will become engaged in activities that are far from fun. The challenges, the obstacles, the necessary development, and even the pain of the pursuit so greatly enhance the eventual arrival that some will turn again and again to difficulty. And rightly so, since similar difficulties face even those who need to manufacture succeedingly greater levels of intensity in order to penetrate the calluses that “fun” has grown into their souls.
Am I reacting to Donald Miller’s post because of the unique challenges I face in ministry to the dying and bereaved? In part, yes. There are many other ministries, though, in which I’ve served that offer even less “fun” to be had. But there are also many other ministries, some to which you may be called, that require a process, a discipline, significant development, and an incredible investment of time and energy in order to find, fulfill, and find fulfillment in what God has made you to be. (With the result that the doing follows your very being—as I commented to a friend who suggested I was wired differently: “Yes, I suppose so. Because for me there’s breathing, and then there’s the bereavement ministry—just as naturally.”)
Kseniya Simonova hard at work, beautifully and fulfillingly.
As a means of inspiration to be who you are, and let the doing follow, I would offer the following two videos. The first is subtitled, the second is not—but needs none. The first video tells the story of how Kseniya Simonova came to be in the position to share the story she chose to express artistically, as shown in the second video.
Be inspired. Be blessed. And be who you are.
Biographical Video of Kseniya Simonova: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvAES2vQzOs
Kseniya Simonova’s award-winning performance on “Ukraine’s Got Talent:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOMgDbcA84A

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