I used to feel guilty for taking time for myself or for doing what I love.  I’d think of all the things I “should” be doing with my time- all the responsible, productive things that would be a better use of my precious minutes that God had given me on this earth.  AS if having fun or enjoying life was not part of His beautiful plan for me.

I used to think that I could only play when work was done.  I think I picked this up somewhere along the way as a kid when I wasn’t allowed to go outside until homework was done.  The problem is- when you are an adult, and a mom, and have a part-time job that you squeeze into your “spare time,” and you help run a church with your husband, well… there is ALWAYS more work to be done.

I used to compare what I love with what other women love and judge myself.  I’d think that I should get some new hobbies that were more feminine or crafty instead of just embracing what fuels me most- being outside and being active (sugar on top if it’s in a competitive environment).  I used to feel like I couldn’t be the real me with others who didn’t share my love for these things.

I used to think that pure play was indulgent and that doing what I loved or taking time to simply have fun was for the lazy or irresponsible.

But these days, I have decided that LIFE IS TOO SHORT.  Life is too short to miss out on embracing the beauty in this world.  Life is too short to work and work and not take time to BREATHE it all in.  Life is too short to not do what I love.

So these days, I am setting down the dishes and dancing in my kitchen more often,  I’m making a fool of myself playing dodge ball with my kids at the trampoline park and laughing till it hurts, I am speaking up for the fact that I want to be snowboarding or surfing WITH my family and not just be on the sidelines, I am digging into this passion for writing that has been hidden in my heart for a long time now, I am taking time to get active almost every day in order to put fuel back into my tank, I am digging into the fact that I NEED to be by the sea on a regular basis and making time for it, I am shamelessly taking time FOR MYSELF  knowing that it will make me a better wife, mom and friend in the end,  I am looking into the eyes of my kids, friends and loved ones with intent these days because relationships fuel me like nothing else and in the end, our relationships are what really matters when this whole thing is said and done.

These days I am taking time to look up to the heavens more often and wonder at the beauty of a sunset or butterfly or tree changing colors.  Because life is a beautiful, beautiful miracle and we are meant to enjoy it.  Because those “to-do” lists will always be there and can wait.  Because we were created not only to work and create and make beauty in this world, but also to take it all in- to explore and to be fueled by the wonder and mystery of it all.  We were created to ENJOY this life and to do what we love.  We were created to embrace whom God uniquely created us to be and to go after what fuels us.

Top: Pillbox hike on Oahu.  One of the best sunrise views on the island. 

Bottom: Waterfall hike with the fam in Hawaii.  We were covered head to toe in mud by the end.

Maybe for you it’s not being outside, or being active, or writing that fills your tank.  Maybe for you it’s a quiet corner and a book, or a stroll around the park, or a movie with a good friend, or maybe it’s spending time with animals, or painting, or cooking, or learning a new language.

Decide what fills YOU, decide what gives YOU life- what makes your blood pulse and your energy rise.  And then do it.  Unashamedly and actively go after that thing, that pastime, that hobby, that skill that makes you come alive.  Prioritize it.  Make time for it.  If you need to, make a date with that thing in your calendar- because life is too short to miss out on enjoyment.  Because we were created to partner with God in His plan of restoration for this world and we were also created to enjoy it!

Jen Wood

Author Jen Wood

Born and raised in Southern California, Jen loves the beach, spending time with loved ones and being active. She believes wholeheartedly in living life to it’s fullest and that following God is the greatest adventure you could ever experience.

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