I posted something lighthearted on my Facebook page the other day and while many chimed in for the fun of it, one person jarringly chided me for losing focus on the seriousness of the times. Thankfully (as the band Rend Collective said, last time I interviewed them), “Seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit. But joy is!”

Since when did seriousness become a Christian mandate for the times? Of course, we ought to be sober and alert, reflective and prayerful, but is there no room for laughter? Especially if it’s good for you?

Let’s take a look at what Scripture says, and what science has to say about the gift of laughter.

Scripture says…

Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) ~ A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Psalm 126:2 (NLT) ~ Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

Psalm 16:11 (NLT) ~ You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Science says…

Mayo Clinic[1] reports that laughter has both short term and long-term benefits on health:

Laughter can:

  • Stimulate many organs
  • Activate and relieve your stress response
  • Soothe tension
  • Improve your immune system
  • Relieve pain
  • Improve your mood

God wired us for joy. Our bodies and brains thrive in the presence of joy, laughter, and gratitude. This is not to say we grow tone deaf to the seriousness of the times, but it is to say we need occasional and regular breaks from non-stop bad news, conflict, and vitriol.

When was the last time you made plans to watch a funny movie? Or called your funny friend just to hear her say something ridiculous? Or acted a little goofy yourself, like you used to? What if you made a concerted effort to add a little hilarity back into your life?

Recently on Susie Larson Live, author and comedian, Phil Callaway joined me to talk about his book, “Laugh Like a Kid Again: Live Without Regret and Leave Footsteps Worth Following.” As you can imagine, we had a few good laughs during the show, but Phil also gave us something to think about. Life is too precious and too short not to see the beauty and even the humor in it all.  He writes:

“Those who are more stressed have worse mental and physical health. But forgiving both yourself and others can protect against stress and the toll it takes on your mental health…Some call it a ‘new’ way; I call it tried and true. Laughing like a kid again just may be easier than we think when we ignore our phones a little more, spread some kindness around, and lay down whatever grudges we’ve picked up along the way.”

I wish for you this day, belly laughter down to your toes. The throw-your-head-back kind of joyful expression that makes God smile and heals your soul, even if just a little. Have a joyful, winsome day.

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Don't forget to laugh