Are You Missing the Benefits of Joy and Play?

by | Nov 24, 2020 | Joy, Thanksgiving | 22 comments

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

2020 has been one of the hardest years I can remember. I lost one of my best friends to cancer; several of my friends lost loved ones in unexpected tragedies; we’ve been isolated, experienced national chaos, and a worldwide pandemic. Under such circumstances to talk about fun may sound frivolous and out of touch. But I have good reason to believe joy is exactly what we need.

Research shows that fun can trigger the release of endorphins which promote an overall sense of well-being. And happy people have better relationships with others. The Bible supports turning on the joy even in challenging circumstances.

Joy Is Biblical!

From prison the Apostle Paul wrote:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NLT).

King Solomon, the wisest of kings wrote:

A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Pro. 17:22 NLT).

A Psalm addressing the injustice of the wicked getting away with their evil schemes includes this admonition.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Ps. 37:4 NLT).

Considering these biblical admonitions, this Thanksgiving is the perfect time to count our blessings—not calories.

And Nehemiah continued, ‘Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!’” (Neh. 8:10 NLT).

How do you add joy and play to your day? Or what do you need to add? I want to put better boundaries on my thought life and incorporate more play. Oswald Chambers said, “I am ever playing in God’s Presence as well as praying in it.” I like that.

I’d love to hear how you sprinkle joy on your day. Click here to comment.

Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people ... for the #joy of the Lord is your strength! (Neh. 8:10 NLT) Share on X

Happy Thanksgiving from the Wilsons,


For suspense and romance novel lovers, here are two I enjoyed.

Airborne by DiAnn Mills

Revealing Light by Marilyn Turk

For those who enjoy inspirational biographies, I loved reading the story of Brother Andrew in God’s Smuggler.

My newest book Little Faith, Big God is on sale right now on Amazon with free one-day shipping for Prime members.

Photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash

We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. This doesn’t add any cost to the purchase.

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory  #Recharge Wednesday, #WorthBeyondRubies #TuneinThursaday, #Grace&Truth,

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  1. J.D. Wininger

    I often have to look inside to find the “joy of the Lord” within. Thank you for this reminder. This world makes every effort to steal our joy, but when we finally understand that since joy is not our, but the Lord’s, then it really can’t be taken from us once it’s given. Satan can try and overwhelm us with fleeting emotions in an attempt to steal it, but if we stay connected to “the Vine”, then he loses every time. What an inspiring message this week Ms. Debbie. Thank you ma’am; and God’s blessings to you and Mr. Larry.

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D., you said it well, Satan works hard to steal our joy. We must find it in the Lord. That joy can’t be taken away. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  2. Lisa notes

    I’m sorry that your year has had even more tragedies on top of the other 2020 stuff, Debbie. 🙁 I appreciate your attitude of intentionally seeking ways to add joy into our life. I believe, too, that it is what God wants for us. It doesn’t negate our grief and losses, but it keeps us ready and willing to go another day. It is something that I’m having to work hard on, though. It’s not always coming easy in this season. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Lisa, I just got an email of another tragic death, this one from an accident involving a new mother. It has been an unbelievably dark year in so many ways. Seeing the circumstances surrounding these verses in the Bible encourage me that we can have joy and sorrow at the same time.

  3. Anita Ojeda

    Yes! Joy is a spiritual discipline we often ignore, thinking it should be ours without any mental focus on our part. Joy is a choice.

    • Debbie Wilson

      It certainly is. Thank you, Anita!

  4. Theresa Boedeker

    Yes, Play is such a rich part of life, but we often mature and stop. Play involves our creativity, sense of curiosity, joy, seeing things through different eyes. Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown is so good. He talks about how so many are living in a play deficit.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Theresa, thanks for the book recommendation. I have realized I need more play in my life, especially now. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  5. Ann J Musico

    Honestly Debbie, especially this year, being able to see my grandchildren in person has brought me unspeakable joy. My sons live about an hour and a half away so we have only been able to visit sporadically and the visits were anything but normal months ago. Thankfully my daughter had her little boy 2 months ago and lives 10 minutes away so he is my daily joy!!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I’m sure he is a real joy! I’m so glad you can see him daily. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Joshua J Masters

    I’m so sorry to read about the difficult year you’ve had and the losses you’ve faced. Thank you for reminding us that joy can be found in the hope of Christ–regardless of our circumstances. This is a wonderful, inspiring post.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Joshua. God bless.

  7. Melissa Henderson

    Joy was found today as Alan and I were able to meet granddaughter Eden. Pediatrician has requested everyone to quarantine and then, get a COVID test. Our results returned today and they were negative, so we raced to be with big brother Rowan and little sister Eden and our son and daughter-in-love, too :-). What a wonderful and joyful day! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Oh happy day! Melissa, thanks for sharing your joy with us!! Happy Thanksgiving to you too.

  8. Jeanne Takenaka

    Debbie, yes to this. We definitely need to thread more joy into our days. It can be easy to become downtrodden with all the hard from this year. But we can choose joy. Sometimes, I find that being in nature prepares my heart to choose joy . . . even when life feels overwhelming. I’m so thankful the Lord is always with us and giving us the capacity for joy.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeanne, your photos reflect the joy you experience in God’s creation. Thanks so much.

  9. Linda Stoll

    oh yes. joy and play, laughter and being outside, savoring every bit of sunshine.

    thanksgiving, for sure …

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes! Thanks, Linda!

  10. Susan

    This is so true and right on time!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Susan!

  11. Sharon Williams

    Just discovered your website Debbie which has brought me much joy. God bless you and yours.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Wonderful! Thank you so much, Sharon.

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