Sketch by the NewSpring Drama Team, NewSpring Church, Wichita, KS

Everybody needs to laugh more

When was the last time you laughed until your sides hurt? Have you ever laughed that hard? I did. Last night. I laughed until I cried, until my ribs were sore, until I could barely breathe and when I did breathe I ended up coughing. The reason why? Drama team meeting.

I’m so blessed and so fortunate to be a part of an awesome drama ministry at NewSpring Church. It’s amazing to have so many people who don’t care about the spotlight. That’s what makes this drama team amazing. Other dramatic groups I’ve been a part of always had prima donnas or the really super talented folks who demanded attention. There’s nobody like that in our drama team. Everyone is there because they want to use their gifts to tell others about Christ.

Last night, we laughed ourselves silly, and I left the meeting feeling lighter on my feet than I have in ages. As I was driving home, I got to thinking (I do a lot of thinking in the car, mainly because I do a lot of driving) about how beneficial laughter is. I don’t think I laugh enough. Now, you people who know me may think that’s a silly statement because I’m always cheerful and always happy and always laughing about something. But I’m not talking about generic laughter or sarcastic laughter or laughter for the sake of avoiding tears. I’m talking about real laughter, the laughs that shake you head to toe, the ones you can’t keep inside, where you throw your head back and forget how ridiculous you probably look and sound because you just can’t help it.

Have you ever laughed that hard? I recommend it.

Sketch by the NewSpring Drama Team, NewSpring Church, Wichita, KS

Sketch by the NewSpring Drama Team, NewSpring Church, Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is Proverbs 17:22.

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

I didn’t plan to post about this today, sort of like yesterday. I was just struck by how much better I felt about life in general after our two-hour-long laugh fest at our drama team meeting, and I thought I’d share my revelation.

Laugh more.

We all need to laugh more. We all take life so seriously all the time, and Christians are the worst about this. We focus on the doom and gloom. We focus on everything that’s wrong in the world, wrong in our lives, wrong in other people’s lives. We hide in our pews and prophesy that the end is coming soon. We crack our whips and teach people that God values service and humility and a sober-minded work ethic. And I’m not saying that He doesn’t. Of course, He values those things. But who says service and humility and work have to be solemn things?

Good grief, Christian. Lighten up.

I’m talking to myself here because I take myself way too seriously. Maybe it’s my genetic predisposition to a perfectionist mentality. When I screw up (which happens frequently), I beat myself bloody. And I keep beating myself bloody until long after everyone else around me has forgotten it. When I don’t perform to my own standards, I call myself a failure. When I don’t meet up with God’s commands (which rarely ever happens), part of me is afraid to even approach Him because I’d rather hide myself in shame than face His disappointment.

Yes, God is scary. Don’t ever tell yourself anything different. We should never lose sight of Who He Is.

But, by that same token, we should never forget what He gave for us. He gave Jesus for us. He sent Jesus to die for us. And because of what Jesus did for us in paying for our sings, we can call God our Daddy. The last thing God wants is for us to distance ourselves from Him because we can’t meet His righteous standard. Of course, we can’t meet His standard. That’s the point. That’s why He sent Jesus!

So what’s the point in all this? Yes, it’s important to be serious about things you need to be serious about, but in turn you are allowed to be silly about silly things. You can relax and have fun. Or do you think God giving you a sense of humor was an accident? Do you think the gift of laughter just happened? No way. We need to laugh. Spend time laughing, and you’ll see a difference in your entire perspective.

Schedule some purposeful time to meet with like-minded friends and go do something fun. Whether it’s serving at a soup kitchen or going to see a movie, give yourself permission to relax. Let your hair down. Be yourself. And enjoy what you’re doing. It’s okay to enjoy what you’re doing. You don’t have to be a solemn-faced Christian quoting Scripture 24/7.  I mean, if that’s what makes you happy, go for it.

But whatever you do, give yourself permission to play. Go outside. Have fun. Run around. Be a kid again. Don’t worry about what’s coming tomorrow. Don’t fret over what happened yesterday. Just enjoy having a relationship with your Daddy, and if something funny happens, don’t hesitate to laugh yourself into an asthma attack. Once you can breathe again, you’ll be glad you did.