ep.24 on fun!

Annie F. Downs

ep. 24 | Fun! with Annie F. Downs

On this episode of the Journeywomen podcast I chatted with Annie F. Downs on the topic of FUN! Flawed but funny, Annie uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. She’s the author of many books, one of which comes out TOMORROW, October 24, called 100 days to Brave. Annie loves traveling around the country speaking to young women, college students, and adults and I can’t wait for you to hear from her today.  

As you’ll hear me confess, this episode was a selfish endeavor. Having fun is a weak spot for me, particularly when I’m under stress. Annie and I discuss everything from the purpose of fun-having to verses in the Bible that might actually be funny. Here’s why I wanted to have Annie on the show to talk about fun. She said, “I feel like part of the call on my life is to bring joy and fun into the lives of other people so that they will see God. Not so that they will see me.” Before I tease you any further, I have to share the companies that made today’s episode possible: HelloFresh and Oh, Sweet Joy. We’re so thankful for sponsorships as they help keep the Journeywomen podcast happy and healthy! You can read more about them below.

  1. At the risk of sounding boring, do you have a definition of "fun" that you might be willing to share with us? What is fun?

  2. What's the biblical backing for fun-having? How does it relate to the gospel? 

  3. I have heard you say that you’re an Enneagram 7. Does that mean you’re naturally wired to seek out fun experiences? What's your encouragement to those of us who are not wired that way?

  4. If we struggle to loosen up and play, can we get better at it? What are some practical ways you have grown in this area of your life?

  5. What are some ways you encourage your disciples to play and have fun?

  6. What tips do you have for making a really boring day fun?

  7. I know I've had people only want the fun version of me in the past and not the rest. Have you had difficulty feeling that people always expect you to be "fun"? What about days when you're down?

  8. How do you balance social media/personal branding when people expect fun and funny and happy Annie? Do you find it challenging to be real but also give the people what they expect?

  9. How do you balance being lighthearted and playful while also bringing truth?

  10. If you could plan a day of fun for yourself, what would it involve?


3 Questions I Ask Every Guest

  1. What 3 resources would you recommend for someone wanting to grow in this area?

  2. What are 3 of your simple joys?

  3. Who has had the biggest influence on your own journey with Jesus?


Note Worthy Quotes

“I love fun, but I don’t love fun just for fun. I love fun because it is a release and a reflection, and I want to help people do both of those things.”

“Maybe the glasses (we wear) should be looking for the fun, but looking at whatever I’m doing and calling it fun.”

“Waking up for me involves asking, ‘What is happening today, how is that fun, and what’s good about it?’ I use the word fun loosely, but I don’t use the word good loosely. God’s doing good stuff every day. I’ve had hard things happen, just like everyone… but can I look at the life that God’s given me and find love and joy and peace in it?” 

“Fun is a shift in how you see the life you already have. It’s not a goal in finding a brand new life.”

“Fun already exists, you just need to see it. Fun is also release. Fun is openness. Fun is opportunity. I never want to define fun for anyone else… Whatever connects with the guts of who you are and makes you feel at peace and have a smile on your face and want to invite people into it, I call that fun.”

“You do not have to love a theme park to have fun. And you do not have to love a theme park for anyone else to think you’re fun or for them to have fun with you.”

“You get to define fun for yourself. And inviting people into it really matters to me.”

“What we do see Jesus do all the time is sitting around with his friends and talk. We see him reclining at tables and eating. Even when he turned water into wine at Cana he was actually just at the wedding. What that tells me about Jesus’ personality is that the bride and groom wanted Jesus to come.”

“Even in this life, the way the Holy Spirit reveals God and Jesus and himself to us, I don’t want to run out of time before I’ve learned as much as I can learn of the Bible while I’m still here.” 

“Every good thing we see in someone else, we know is from God’s personality.”  

“The joy of the Lord is my strength. That’s really true. But I do think there is a difference between joy and fun.”

“Joy is what you persevere for and hope is what you persevere for. Fun is a release in the middle of the perseverance.”

“Joy cannot be dependent on your circumstances. I can’t decide if I’m joyful if I’m hungry or not hungry, whether I’m satisfied or not satisfied, whether the date’s gone good or gone bad. Joy has to stay. Fun doesn’t have to stay. I can have a bad day and have no fun and that’s real and that’s normal. But the deep work of God is the joy that I’m not willing to lose or live without.”

“I have friends who don’t know Jesus who have good lives. You can experience a version of joy outside of your faith walk. But there is no joy like the joy of knowing Jesus.”

“We see a side of each other and a side of Jesus and a side of the planet in the middle of fun that we don’t see any other time.”

“Reassess what you call fun. Erase the historic belief that fun is big and loud and four hours. It doesn’t have to be all that.”

“If you want to really want to invite fun into your life and really find it in the life you already have, you need to redefine it for yourself. Stop asking it to be big and let it be little.”  

“If we don’t have fun and rest written into our lives we will not be marathon Christians.”

A ‘play’ from Annie’s work ‘playbook’: “Work hard, play hard, rest hard, pray hard.”

“It matters to me that the people I’m going to be around know that play and fun are real values in my life. It’s what makes me feel the most alive.”

“I feel like I am to bring joy and fun into the lives of other people so that they will see God. Not so that they will see me.”  

“On stages and in books I work really hard to earn the right to be heard so that I can say the true thing.”

“There is a tension between being serious and being fun. I am willing to try and hold that tension.”

“I’m not supposed to be Jesus to them. I’m supposed to be Annie to them. When they see Annie and they realize that Annie only exists because Jesus is kind and because he saved me once, but he rescues me all the time. When they like Annie they will see Jesus.”

“When we all choose to be the very center-core best version of ourselves people will see Jesus.”

“Doing life with Jesus is really fun! And I don’t say that like I’m in front of 2,000 teenagers and I’m trying to pump them up… The adventures I get to live because Jesus is driving this car is beyond anything I could have thought up myself.”

“My body and my mind and my spirit being on the same team is life changing. My spirit and my mind cannot do the things I’m called to if my body gives out.”



That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs

Sitting around a table with your people and talk about what fun looks like for you

ETST Instagram Account by Kelle Hampton

Fields, Factories, and Seasons by Jason Miller 


annie's Simple Joys


Being around a table with good food and friends


other resources

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs

Against All Grain by Danielle Walker


Connect with annie


HelloFresh is the meal kit delivery service that makes cooking more fun so you can focus on the whole experience, not just the final plate. Ya’ll, when I found my HelloFresh box on my doorstep I actually squealed. HelloFresh delivers food to your doorstep in a recyclable, insulated box for free. I was so impressed by the packaging and meal plan instructions. Listen to this, without even thinking, I had everything I needed to prepare Thai-Spiced Pork Meatballs, Carolina Barbecue Chicken, and Adobo Loco Steak. What?! I felt so gourmet. Each meal was delicious and the step-by-step instructions made it easy to prepare brand new recipes for my family. HelloFresh sources the freshest ingredients, measured to the exact quantities needed so there’s no food waste. They even employ two full-time registered dietitians on staff who review each recipe to ensure it is nutritionally balanced. For $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com and enter “Journeywomen30”. 


Oh, Sweet Joy is an online clothing company based near Boulder, Colorado. Curated by Kim Davis, who is a church planter's wife that has a passion for style & fashion, Oh, Sweet Joy seeks to provide affordable clothing that is sourced from the USA as often as possible. If you're looking for some unique boho-inspired apparel that gives a nod to the south, head over to shopohsweetjoy.com and use the code JOURNEYWOMEN for 10% off your entire purchase.

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