There is paint on the dog’s head, a tarantula fell on my pillow, and at 9 pm, it’s 80 degrees outside. Just another day in paradise! What makes you laugh? Each item on my list is enough to derail my focus, but this humorous combination consoles me and brings relief from the stress of impending deadlines. I would turn on the AC unit overhead, but that’s where the tarantula took its deep dive from onto my pillow. So I choose the overhead fan instead. Have you ever had a series of unfortunate events that reduced you to a puddle of laughter? Laughing is preferable to tears when overwhelm rears its head. Proverbs 17:22 confirms this:
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
What saps your strength? As a powerlifter, maintaining strength is vital to me. And I don’t just mean physically. My success in the gym is tied to how I feel spiritually and emotionally. It’s hard to get through a workout when I’m emotionally tired or spiritually depleted. Other strength sappers can include:
- Self-talk: our inner dialog plays a significant role in our well-being.
- Other people: criticism, caregiving, arguments all impact our energy.
- Our digital habits: too much time on social media can lead to depression and anxiety.
- Sugar: while it may provide quick energy initially, it drops you hard when the rush is over.
- Caffeine: like sugar, caffeine can leave us feeling tired after feeling ‘wired.’
- Not eating enough food: cutting calories helps with weight loss, but an excessive cut can leave you feeling drained.
- Too many yeses: As Christians, it’s easy to fall into serving mode and take on more than we should.
So what is cheerful, and how does it benefit us?
- Laughter: a good laugh can lift our mood and propel us forward through a challenging day.
- Hugs: we all need physical contact to bring about a sense of belonging, which in turn raises our spirits.
- Positive thoughts: our attitudes are conceived in our thought lives, so let’s choose our thoughts wisely!
- Smile: smiling causes the brain to release dopamine, making us happier.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.
- Be Grateful: practicing gratitude is a great mood booster.
- Get outside: connecting with nature is a great way to lower blood pressure and can help ease depression symptoms.
What makes you laugh? I pray this week you laugh more than you cry, rejoice more than you lament, and practice gratitude more than you complain. May your heart receive the cheerful medicine it craves, and may the Holy Spirit flood your being with joy!
What can you do to bring cheerful medicine to your heart this week? Start by looking in the mirror and smiling at yourself. It may be just what you need to kickstart your joy!
Holy Spirit, fill us, overwhelm us, and bring medicine to our hearts. We open our hands, lift our faces, and wait to receive from You. You alone can change the atmosphere in our hearts, homes, and families. In Jesus’ name, Amen.