Playing cards with family, a doodle on a notebook, or a pick-up game of basketball. Should we really be spending time on frivolous activities? But then our eyes are opened: God is in all of this! We can play as well as work, study, or practice to the glory of God.

Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. It was not a promise that we would be happy or have all that we had dreamed. It was the promise of abundant life, full of experiences and relationships, rich with love and joy.

Take time now to reconnect to that abundance.

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Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.

Luke 11:39-41

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Taking a break is more than just getting our blood flowing or stretching our muscles; it helps us be whole. The gospel challenges us to let our faith permeate from inside out, developing our brains in addition to our hearts. What if that could happen during study breaks?

Animal findings about play and brain growth suggest that playing, though it might look purposeless, warrants a place in our day. It is every bit as essential to healthy neurological development as test-taking drills, Spanish tutoring, or SAT study courses.

Scientists who study play in animals and humans alike agree that play is more than a way to work off steam or burn calories. It is central to neurological growth and development. Play is how we build complex, skilled, responsive, socially adept, and cognitively flexible brains. It is how we become whole. Study break anyone?

Michelle Thomas-Bush

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God, whatever people see and experience from me today, may it be life-giving. I offer my playtime in response to your love. I offer my very self to you in worship, in study, and even in the breaks I take this year. Amen.

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Let us respond to the amazing love of God
With wild abandon and joyous laughter.
May our laughter reflect God’s delight,
And may our play be praise to God.

Michelle Thomas-Bush

Michelle Thomas-Bush spends her playtime kayaking, baking, and exploring the zip lines of North Carolina. She is associate pastor of youth and their families at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Come Thou Fount

Jim McConnell -

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