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The 700 Club

"That Sounds Fun" with Annie F. Downs

The Deeper Meaning Of Fun 

Starting her own podcast wasn’t Annie’s idea. It all began in 2014, when a friend who worked for author Ted Dekker offered her an interview with him. Annie loved his books, and couldn’t resist. When she asked the friend what to do with the edited audio file, she was met with the question, “Have you ever thought about starting a podcast?” Out of Annie’s mouth came the words, “That sounds fun.”  

A book focused entirely on the topic of fun could sound superficial, but Annie’s take on it is anything but shallow. In her 500-some podcasts, Annie asks each guest what sounds fun to them and says it provides them an opportunity to be vulnerable and share something deeper than a fluff answer. “I think when we go looking for fun what we are actually looking for is home,” she says. “We are looking for peace.  We are looking for simplicity, something to fill that spot that has been left by growing up or growing out or moving on. While we think we want fun, what we really want is Eden...I’ve come to realize that it’s the moments of fun that remind us that Eden ever existed in the first place.” She goes on to explain how fun relates. “Part of what we lost when we lost Eden was the simple understanding that our lives have purpose. So, listening to that urge inside your guts that says, ‘THIS is the thing that makes me feel most alive matters, whether it stays amateur in your life or goes pro.”

You Need A Hobby

Annie recounts the time she met a group of girlfriends at a restaurant, and after they settled in and ordered, she posed a question to the group: “I asked if any of them had hobbies.” She was quite surprised to learn that not one of the young women had one. Then they started to talk about hobbies they’d like to take up and shared stories about what various family members did for fun.  

A hobby by definition, Annie says, is an activity “done regularly, in one’s leisure time, for pleasure.” The reasons it’s important to have one (or more), she says, go deeper than mere enjoyment. “I need a hobby so that I don’t treat social media like a hobby. Scrolling is not a hobby. I need a hobby so that there is space in my day, or my week, to cultivate leisure time and use it wisely. I need a hobby because hobbies connect people, and I want to feel that connection. I need a hobby because I miss Eden and there seems to be something about the power of making a thing, creating a thing, putting time into an activity, that may remind me and give me a taste of what I long for,” she believes. When asked how she’d like people to respond to her book, she doesn’t hesitate to answer. She would like local craft and hobby stores to run out of supplies as people seek out what brings them joy and creativity.

Falling In Love 

Annie says she falls in love all the time...with ideas, the laughter of children, movies, recipes, and on it goes. And while Annie is very open about her desire to be married and the ups and downs of dating, what she means by “the power of falling in love” is more about growing healthier as a person and learning to love all the good things in life, including oneself. She tells the story of going to Lost Valley Ranch in Colorado years ago for a vacation with friends. After talking with the ranch owner at breakfast one day, he said to her “You don’t have to be anything for anyone here. Quit doing that.” She wasn’t sure what he meant at first, but after some thought, it hit her. “For an Annie who prides herself on being the true and vulnerable and exactly the same person that you meet online, I had begun to morph person Annie into public Annie instead of the other way around.” She took the well-intentioned comment to heart and continues to take her emotional and spiritual growth seriously. “I’m working on falling in love with myself. I know that may sound weird...but for too long, I’ve decided that how I feel about me is based on how you feel about me. Or more honestly, how he feels about me, whomever the current he is,” she admits. Today Annie says she is able to love others more fully than ever, and relishes every opportunity.  

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