For those who know me well, know that I am not going to be in the limelight. That is why it was so silly for one of my best friends to ask me to be in the women’s dance in the upcoming youth fundraiser at church! While I did not want to do this, I was thrilled for my friend. She had never done anything like this and she began telling us over a month ago that her singing and acting career was just getting ready to take off! The excitement of buying her 70’s outfit was a team effort with lots of pictures and texts! I heard about all of the practices and got a sneak peek of the dance. All of this, always, surrounded by lots of giggles! Finally, the big day came and I rode with her to, hopefully, “keep the fans from swarming her”! When it was time for the "California Dancin'" I was most impressed with my friend's performance! We have been friends since we were five years old and I never knew she had that talent! I did remember my theater etiquette and brought her flowers as her adoring fan and a grateful theater patron! I tell you all of this to tell you how much joy this can be - before the show even started! I am reminded of how I love to hear my children laugh - I LOVE it! I believe that is how God feels when He sees His church come together for a time of fun!
What a wonderful way for my friend and many others to get to know others in our church family. Many new friendships were formed! For some people in the show it may have been their first time to feel a part of the church. It is a great way for youth and adults to get to know each other. And my friend wants to do it again! What a wonderful way for our members to want to serve. Sharing their talents for our youth’s fundraiser!
And how wonderful for all of us to get to forget about everything else and go have fun and be entertained. I think we can all agree that life is not one big laugh. In fact, life can be hard with difficult trials but even the Bible says there is a time to laugh. There are many physical benefits from laughter. They include decrease in stress hormone and increase in immune system. The Scriptures prove this in the following verses. Proverbs 17: 22, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” Proverbs 15: 13, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Because of the benefits of laughter there is now laughter therapy which is a powerful remedy for stress, pain and conflict. It relaxes the whole body while relieving physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes later. Laughter boosts the immune system, triggers the release of endorphins, can temporarily relieve pain and protects the heart! Laughter lightens your burdens, inspires hope, keeps you more focused on the positive and connects you to others!
In those moments that we are laughing, something happens to our souls. We are not carrying around the heaviness of the difficult day or the circumstances which had crushed our spirit. Instead, we have a sense of release during that laugh. We experience a surge of strength that we so desperately need. Proverbs 17: 22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”
I believe Saturday night and Sunday afternoon God’s intention was for His children to laugh and have shouts of joy. Job 8: 21, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” Our burdens and complaints were forgotten for a while. Job 9: 27, “If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’” And our hearts were made merry. Judges 19: 6, “...and let your heart be merry.” We laugh out loud because of God’s tremendous love and grace, which is flowing from the inside out. Psalm 32; 11, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”
Psalm 126: 2, “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.’” The Lord has done great things for each of us! I thank God for the gift of laughter!