Engaging in play is a sound investment anyone can make regarding their happiness. Play is directly related with pleasure, and no matter what stage we are at in the lifespan we need to engage in things pleasurable; psychological science has proven it; we all have the need to play, and play is one form of God’s will for pleasure.
Too often we have chosen to gratify the sinful desires in order to meet our pleasure needs. All along God has designed play as a direct means to satisfy the pleasure sense. Perhaps the best and most direct way of obtaining healing for our addictive propensities is to simply engage with the child within us.
Some of us, indeed very many, have had our childhoods shortcut or even damaged. Indeed, if we were to take the therapeutic viewpoint, we are all damaged, but my heart goes out to those of us who were abused or neglected in the process of our childhoods.
Notwithstanding the childhood we had, we all have the need to connect with, accept, and love our inner child. And this occurs when we engage in play, and there are so many forms of God-willed play to engage in.
Such play cannot hurt anyone; indeed, God-willed play will, if anything, will be a blessing to others, but we do it to engage with ourselves, as we engage with our Heavenly Father.
If we are to live healthy adult lives we must continue to engage in play.
The Importance of Creative Pleasure
Play is the immediate input into pleasure, but it isn’t the only way. For instance, to be recognised, to be honoured, to be valued, and to be accepted; these all, and many more positive experiences of life, engage us which the pleasure sense that God has wired us to have the need for.
This is not to say that pleasure must take precedence over consequence. Adults are responsible to engage the pleasure sense in ways that please God. They understand that pleasure is part of creativity and innovation; that there is no need to sin in order to gratify the pleasure sense.
This is a secret to the happy life: to keep things simple; to have fun, but not at others’ expense. And there is much room to create fun in ways that is generative, so generosity is the output.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: to David Michie, counsellor, pastoral supervisor, and trainer.