Torch, Summer 1987

'I l .I I ' I T i word recreatio which means " that which refreshes or restores." Most writers in the field of recreation agree that it is an activity or experience that is restorative and refreshing, and that it is done during non-working or leisure hours. Few will argue that man has a need to be refreshed and restored . His body and mind have definite limits and he is susceptible to fatigue . Since he is created in God's image and is exhorted to be like Him , he can experience true restoration and refreshment only when he seeks it in concert with God's commands and directives. How can we experience recreation that pleases God and therefore truly restores and refreshes? By developing the mind of Christ and viewing every aspect of our lives (including recreation) from God ' s perspective. The following acrostic suggests ways to shape your thinking about recreation . RESTORE AND REFRESH. Get to know how you can truly refresh and restore the you God created -- body, mind , and spirit -- and you are well on your way to ex– periencing godly recreation. You will most likely discover that they are those things which cannot be bought , packaged, or marketed. They are those experiences and activities which involve active interaction with God's creation -- His creatures, His earth, His imagebearers , His universe -- and especially with God Himself. EXPERIENCE AND EXPLORE . Make an effort to experience totally a place, a thing, an event, or a person. Add the word "explore" to your recreational efforts . Do something you ' ve never done before; try something you've never tried before; go somewhere you ' ve never gone before. And as you learn to explore , don't forget to explore the God who made it all and made it all possible. CREATE. God has given us, His image-bearers , the ability to create. As children , we created often: sand castles , rocketships out of cardboard boxes , and Daniel in the lions ' den on our bedroom floor amid our stuffed animals. Re-awaken that creative spark . Do it for the sake of doing it, not for the end product that might occur. As you create , grow in your appreciation of the Creator and His creation , as well as in the relationships therein . REACH AND RISK. Dare to try . Dare to fail. Many of us are moving through life in some very safe, repetitive patterns. While routine has importance and an economy in our lives , if left permanently unchallenged , routines may become ruts , and economy may become stagnation. In his book, When I Relax I Feel Guilty , Tim Hansel shares an interesting story about the bumblebee. It seems that researchers have concluded that, due to the unfavorable relationship between the wingspan and the size and density of its body , it is aeronautically impossible for this little creature to fly. Only one problem, though: no one told the bumblebee I Are we all too willing to accept "can't"? Why not use recreational opportunities to explore some "can 'ts" ? We just may find that we are bumblebees, too . ENJOY. We above all people should delight in rejoicing, and recreation should provide opportunities to explore the feeling of joy. God has given us instruction on how to be blessed (happy) and joyful. We are reminded in Proverbs 17:22 that a men-y heart is good medicine. The restorative and even curative properties of laughter are being recognized more and more as science gradually discovers some of the truths given in special revelation centuries ago. Take time to laugh; take time to enjoy -- not on ly in your recreation, but in every area of your life. Begin now to enjoy God forever. ATTACH IMPORTANCE . Give recreation an appropriate place of priority and importance in your daily walk . Don't pretend you are too important in God's economy to need refreshment and restoration . Many of us live as though we are convinced that God can ' t make it here on earth if we don't work for Him. That 's a spirit of pride. God expects us to be willing and available; He doesn't ask us to be exhausted and miserable. TAKE TIME. Acknowledge the value of a minute's worth of recreation, or five, or fifteen. Learn to be spon– taneous within the responsibility parameters of each day. Some of us need to lessen the responsibilities of each day so that time-appropriate recreation can occur. One approach is periodically to take a vacation from time. No clocks, watches , or timing devices are allowed . Just allow needs , interests, and opportunities of the moment direct your day . You may begin to break the shackles of living in the past or in the future and have a renewed appreciation for the preciousness of the present. It may help you to learn to redeem the time in a more godly manner, making appropriate time for what is really important. INTERACT . Pursue activities that require or at least promote your interaction with them. Today , so much of our recreation takes on a very passive, uninvolved, "watch someone or something else" quality. Television is one of the most passive of experiences , yet it consumes many leisure hours of Christians and non-Christians alike. If anything, TV tends to put the mind in neutral and thus makes it vulnerable to many negative influences. OPEN. Open your thinking to the opportunities for recreation and to the changes those experiences and activities can make in you. In doing so, you may well find a new appreciation of the you God created, making you more available to Him to bring glory to Himself. NEED. Recognize that God honors both work and play , but neither to the exclusion of the other . Man needs to be involved in both. Mortal man needs restoration and refreshment of body , mind , and spirit -- accomplished by rest , recreation, and communion with the Father. If any of these is neglected, the whole man suffers, as does the be liever's ability to glorify the Father. Is R · E · C · R · E ·A· T ·I· 0 · N necessary? Absolutely. It's how you spell relief! Dr. Pamela S . Diehl is Professor of Physical Education at Cedarville College and coach of the women's tennis team. Holding degrees from the University of Dayton , and The Ohio State University , she co-authored the text Physical Fitness and the Christian: Exercising Stewardship . 5