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Latest book from Annie F Downs - That Sounds Fun

Latest book from Annie F Downs - That Sounds Fun

 

Anne Rogers speaks to author Annie Downs about her new book, That Sounds Fun.

In 2018, author, podcast host, and conference speaker Annie Downs felt God saying that the next autumn she needed to be off the road, at home. Despite that usually being her busiest time of the year, she decided to obey that inner voice.

‘As I write these words (in 2019),’ says Annie, ‘here I am: grounded. All I want to do is slam my computer shut and escape. My mind started dreaming of all the places I could run to and drive to and fly to and be right now. All the other places but HERE.’

Wow. When God grounded Annie – she could have said ‘not yet, Lord, I’m having too much fun traveling to stop right now’. He knew exactly what he was doing. By grounding Annie early, he encouraged her to write a book which is hugely encouraging for those who’ve subsequently been grounded. I asked her about her focus on fun, and its significance in her life and ministry.

What made you start asking people what they do for fun, and why? Why did fun become such an important part of your life?

I think fun has always been a core part of my life. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I looked around and realised the same thing wasn’t the case for most of my friends. So I guess it wasn’t that it suddenly grew in importance to me, it’s that I realised it was neglected by a lot of people around me. I decided to start asking my podcast guests what they do for fun because I wanted the listeners to hear a variety of answers, but I also wanted the guests to walk away thinking about fun in their own lives.

‘Fun’ is sometimes almost used as a negative word. What makes fun important rather than frivolous?

There’s a certain misunderstanding that fun is childish and frivolous. I would disagree with that, obviously, because I think fun is actually a gateway to honesty, to hope, to connection. To have fun is to allow yourself to be vulnerable and laugh, to connect with the people around you, and remember other times when life was like THIS, whatever THIS is. Fun is important because it reminds us there is more to life than the serious things.

Do you sometimes think we expect too much from fun? How do we keep it uncomplicated?

Absolutely. We expect too much from fun when we think it will be the freedom we’ve looked for, or the rescue we need or the release we’ve waited on. Fun can be a part of all of those things, but not the fullness of them. We can’t ask fun to fill in a gap that was only meant to draw us closer to God. But fun is great for exposing what matters most to us.

I found the idea of ‘being an amateur’ interesting. In a world where achievement is so important, how can we feel okay about ‘just doing’ and not necessarily ‘achieving/going pro’?

I actually still believe achievement is important, it just isn’t the ONLY thing and doesn’t have to be accomplished in every area. If we treat everything like a hobby, we become excellent and professional at nothing, and I’m not sure that’s a good use of this one life we’ve been given. But if we treat EVERYTHING like we have to be excellent and professional, we stop trying new things, we stop sharing ideas and opinions, and we take all our failures far too seriously.

How do you keep day-to-day life from swamping fun?

It’s a discipline for me, honestly. I look at my calendar every week and literally ask myself, ‘When are you planning to have fun?’ It doesn’t mean spontaneous fun doesn’t show up, it just means that I have lunches with friends planned, or a hike outside or time set aside to cross-stitch or work on a puzzle. It’s good for our bodies, minds, and souls to be intentional about allowing free time to stay free and fun.

How do you think people should start bringing fun back into their lives? Is it just about grabbing opportunities when they arise, or a more intentional process?

I think it’s honestly looking at the life you already have and asking yourself, ‘What is fun here?’ Can you identify anything in your life that brings you joy, makes you laugh, surprises you, helps you rest? That’s a great place to start. But practically, if you look at your life and find NO fun in it, start scheduling it in like a meal or a workout. Make a list, think back to your ten-year-old self and ask that child version of yourself, ‘What sounds fun to you?’ then maybe do what that little voice says.  

Together Magazine

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That Sounds Fun (ITPE)
Annie F. Downs
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