By contributing writer Anna Joy:
It happened one night.
I was tucking my son into bed. With a twinkle in his eye, he looked up at me and asked, “Mom, what would happen if my stuffed animals came alive all at once? And then they all farted at the same time?”
My problem had nothing to do with the fact that my son thinks anything to do with farting is hilarious. It had nothing to do with the fact that I had no response for this question (having never really considered this scenario before).
My problem was this:
My 7 year old son was asking me to laugh with him.
But, there was no laughter in my heart.
There was plenty of stress. Some frustration, yes. Busyness? Absolutely.
But there was no laughter.
My heart was cold, tired, and filled with anxiety. All I wanted was to get my children to bed so that I could get more things checked off of my to-do list so that, hopefully, I would be able to go to sleep at a decent hour.
My son’s invitation to laugh showed me how far my heart had strayed from what is truly important. I had no joy in my heart. I did not have a merry spirit.
Now, I know that laughing about farting is a far cry from spiritual joy. But my inability to laugh with my son was a symptom of a much deeper problem. In the midst of the busyness of life, I had lost my joy.
Yes, things in this life are tough. We all go through seasons of stress and heartache, disappointments and regrets, injustices and depression, pain and death. But, our future is secure. We know that a better eternity awaits us after death, purchased for us by our Savior Jesus Christ.
We have been shown mind-blowing love by an Almighty God, and we have a future hope.
All of our present difficulties are as nothing compared to this.
So, why is it so hard to live there on a daily basis?
It is Hard to Live a Joyful Life When Our Focus Is Wrong
Here is the truth:
As soon as we start taking ourselves too seriously and God not seriously enough, we lose our joy.
As soon as we become awed by our current circumstances and lose our awe of God, we lose our joy.
As soon as we forget that it is God’s work and not our own work which keeps the earth spinning on her axis, we lose our joy.
Where is your focus today? Are you more focused on your current circumstances than on God? If you find yourself in this situation, may I encourage you to do the following?
- Make it a priority to spend time in prayer, especially worship.
- Don’t neglect daily Bible reading.
- Think about the past and remember how God has helped you through difficult times.
- Encourage your family to keep their focus on God.
- Take an honest look at your schedule and cross off some non-essentials.
- Intentionally look for ways to strengthen your relationships with family members and friends.
If you find yourself in a position where you have no joy, no hope, and no laughter, don’t ignore the warning signs in your soul. Reach out to a trusted friend, pastor, doctor, or counselor and seek the help that you need to become well again. We owe it to our families to seek help and healing so that we can overcome our emotions and be joyfully alive and present for them.
Are you intentionally connecting with your family through laughter?
When was the last time that you extended the gift of laughter to your children, your spouse, or a friend?
Is laughter a regular part of your marriage? Do you share laughter as a family?
Humor offers an incredible way to connect with people that we love. It reminds us that we aren’t perfect. It reminds us that there is more to life than work and stress. And, it can help to lift the stress in someone else’s day, as well.
Intentionally reach out and share the gift of laughter with people around you.
Some Ideas to Give your Loved Ones the Gift of Laughter Today:
– Give your kids a “tickle bounce” (which consists of lots of tickling and bouncing on the mattress).
– Slow down.
– Look into somebody’s eyes.
– Tell a joke.
– Watch a funny animal youtube video together.
– Turn off the news and turn on some happy or spiritually uplifting music
– Play a funny game (this one is sure to make anyone laugh)
– Watch a silly movie.
– Include a joke in a loved one’s lunch box.
– Do something unexpected and silly
– Dance around the living room to lively music
– Post a funny video or saying to your spouse’s Facebook wall
– Read a silly book together (this book is full of silly poems)
– Tell your children a funny story from your own childhood
– Turn off the lights and have a nerf gun war in the dark
And, if all else fails, make your child’s stuffed animals fart. Because, apparently, stuffed animal farts are really, really funny.
Now it’s your turn. Is laughter something that you struggle with, or does it come naturally to you? How will you connect with your family through laughter today? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please scroll down to comment.
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