“Laughter is the Best Medicine”
It’s more than a quote. In fact, it’s a scientific fact.
Studies show that laughter releases endorphins, which are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. And studies out of Korea have found that laughter has an effect similar to antidepressants.
Who knew? I guess laughter is a form of medicine.
The thought that laughing in the face of adversity could be inappropriate at times is, of course accurate, but the more significant truth is that laughter can be used as a powerful weapon when faced with suffering.
I learned to laugh in the face of the storms of life. But it came in a random way.
After the breakup with my ex-boyfriend, the one I ran to after my divorce, my daughter and I were sitting in the car with nowhere to go, and I thought, We can do this. If we need to, we can just lock ourselves in here for a while until God shows us what’s next.
Before the thought even fully landed, the phone rang, and a very unlikely person on the other end said, “Andrea, I talked to my parents and they said you could live with them.”
I say “unlikely person” because we often think it will be someone we know well who will help us in our time of deepest need. But what I have found it is often the least likely person.
The kind people who offered to take in my children and me were actually the parents of my now ex-boyfriend’s ex-wife.
Dave and Debbie not only took us in as nearly total strangers, but they also housed us for a little over two years. They listened to me cry and talk and cry and talk about the same things over and over and over again. As I would cry and sob and talk about my disaster of a life, Debbie, the mother of the house, would listen with care and concern, and then out of nowhere, she would crack a joke. And that joke was the perfect tension breaker.
It was as if she was poking a hole right in the middle of my drama. It would cut the tightness of my pain like a smooth-edged paring knife cuts through a delicious pumpkin pie.
Debbie was what I would call a safe person. She was caring and loving, and I knew her jokes were not to harm me but rather to help me. We would be in the middle of one of my meltdowns and she would subtly say something that would send us into hysterics.
After laughing for a bit, it was like I forgot about what I was crying about earlier. She had a way of dropping humor into the situation that would break the intensity of my mind swirl.
It was a true gift.
When I think about my intense healing over those two-plus years, I remember back to moments of breakthrough that I had while starting to see the humor in my situation, the humor in myself. For the first time I was able to laugh at myself, and I can’t tell you how much more fun that was then crying all the time.
God is not playing some crazy game with us when He’s encouraging us to find joy in the midst of hard times.
It’s actually quite the opposite.
When we choose joy in the midst of difficult times, it actually serves as a weapon to defeat Satan’s influence in our lives.
Scripture says it this way: “The joy of the LORD is your strength!” That means that when joy is a part of your life, it strengthens and equips you to live above the circumstances you may have experienced or are going through right now.
Let’s make it practical. Think of a time when you experienced the most joy.
Pause and remember how you felt. Joy isn’t just a feeling, but the feeling of joy is definitely a big part.
Walking on the road to health and wholeness, requires us to feel and experience joy. Find things that you can think about and do with your time that bring joy and laughter onto the scene.
And I’ve discovered, that sometimes it’s a choice.
Are you ready to make that choice in your daily life?