Growing up, I always thought of myself as a fun person. But slowly the fun part of me got buried beneath a load of adult responsibilities. Our oldest son, Judah, was about eight when I recognized the shift. One morning, he quietly prayed, “Dear God, help us to have fun.”

How cute! I smiled furtively at my husband, Dana. The next day, Judah, prayed the same words again. After a couple of years of hearing his often-repeated petition, I wondered: Could God actually intend for us to have fun? Not just to be responsible, hardworking, generous, and kind—all those good qualities I hear about regularly in church—but to have fun doing it?

“What are all the really fun stories you can think of in the Bible?” I recently asked my kids.

“When bears ate the kids who laughed at the bald guy?” Judah, eighteen, smirked.

“I’m serious.” I said.

“Honestly?” His fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, shrugged. “I think the Bible is more about suffering, and in the end, if you do what’s right, God gives you a big reward.”

My confidence plunged. Surely in two-thousand years of human history recorded in two-thousand pages of scripture by forty authors from three continents, there must be some example of God telling people to kick back and enjoy themselves.

Days later, it came to me. In the beginning, God created a garden full of spectacular plants and animals. Then he made a man and a woman to enjoy it together. No mortgage. No piles of dirty laundry. No unfulfilled expectations or unmet needs. But when this consecrated couple defied God, they brought a curse upon themselves and creation: sin, death, and everything that goes with it.

No wonder we’re struggling to have fun here!

Happily, God removed this curse through the death and resurrection of his son—an event Christians celebrated this past Easter Sunday. So how do we bring back the fun God intended every day? Here are five key strategies I’ve discovered:

  1. Prioritize it. Yes, you have to pay the bills, but God wants you to enjoy the life he made. These years with your friends and family? They go fast! So, make fun a priority.
  2. Consider other’s interests. Family fun requires compromise, not just between spouses, but between kids. Ask for suggested favorite activities for the upcoming weekend, month, or holiday, and make a list.
  3. Take it outside. God didn’t put Adam and Eve in a strip mall. When we spend time together outside, we are more likely to interact with each other and to appreciate the beauty God made.
  4. Invite others in. Some of our best family moments have been sharing our home with others, such as our fun 14-year-old French exchange student, Emile, who just returned home after three months. An added bonus, our 5-ear-old now says, “Je adore la salade!”
  5. Pray. Through prayer, God enters into our experience. Ask him for opportunities to enjoy the life he’s given you.

Who knows? Maybe more people will want to join in. That’s a reward we can enjoy right now.