Now if I were to answer that question, as someone who has graduated seminary, done countless spiritual gifts inventories, and studies human behavior and culture for a living, I might say quite well.
But I found the quiz pretty enlightening, and probably the more so because it’s not a scored group of questions, or multiple choice, but short answer format, that forces you to really do the work of thinking about what your childhood hobbies and unfulfilled goals suggest about your current interests, passions, and dreams.
1. What part of the newspaper do you read first?
2. What are three books you’ve read in the past year?
3. As a child, what did you do in your free time?
4. What’s a goal that has been on your list for a few years?
5. What do you actually do with your free time?
6. What types of activities energize you?
7. What famous people intrigue you?
I loved the question about what you did as a child in your free time, because it brought back a slew of memories when creating and pretending were encouraged, and when there just weren’t enough hours in the day for playing with Fisher Price little people, running a gymnastics meet in the living room, or all those books to write and art projects to accomplish!
I wasn’t surprised to find that two out of the last three books I’ve read have to do with my Ph.D. research, but what I was encouraged to find is that I genuinely enjoy that reading, and my research was one of the activities I wrote down that energizes me.
On the other hand there were lots of ways that I spend my time that don’t really energize, refresh, rejuvenate me. I had a revelation about relaxation and balance this February when my husband and I took a two week vacation to the Philippines. I think my revelation that the perfect vacation, to me, wasn’t all laying on the beach and overeating, stems from my desire for fulfillment, energy, and rejuvenation in life.
As Gretchen on the Happiness Blog suggests, there are different types of fun: fun that is challenging, fun that is accommodating, and fun that is relaxing. It’s kind of a short term/long term thing, in that while relaxing fun is really satisfying in the short term, accommodating fun and challenging fun have a greater long term yield.
This has all been a healthy reflection for me, as I begin to look back on this year (as I have in the past) and look toward the next, especially as my time doing my research in China is winding down.
I’ve determined some activities that energize me (going to church), making time for silence with God everyday, exercising, and having stimulating conversations with friends and family, and I’ve been convicted to choose them in order to grow toward some of those lingering goals (question #4).
But more than anything, I’m reminded that how we spend our time is not just a choice, but a reflection of who we are, and I want to be someone who is constantly growing in wisdom, gentleness, and goodness.
And it’s nice to know I have a say in all that.