There was a recent photo that caused uproar, of Prince William getting out of a car in England. The side profile showed him with his hand up, and his middle finger extended. From that perspective is was clear that this lifelong student of royal etiquette was giving the crowd what we refer to as “the bird”.
Except, that was just one perspective. From the front view (which was the most realistic one) he actually had his fingers all extended in a normal and cordial wave to the excited onlookers.
Problem averted. But it took a change of perspective.
Once I was on a trip to Phoenix and arrived very late at night. As I reached the hotel I was incredibly tired, exhausted, and thrilled to jump into my jammies and go to bed.
One little problem: As I opened my suitcase I found shampoo had profusely leaked all over my clothes.
“Great, what am I going to wear tomorrow?”my worried mind asked me. But in that very moment, I knew I had a choice. I could either freak out and let my emotions run the show, or I could just laugh.
It was a choice. I had to reframe and change my perspective.
I had to choose to reach for that fruit of joy that was ripe for the picking. I had to see the humor in the situation and in that moment choose joy.
Things worked out just fine.
Our thoughts are where every action begins. Steve Backlund, who is a communicator and author from Redding, California, wrote a brilliant little book called Let’s Just Laugh at Thatwhich illustrates the point. One of the lies they tackle is foundational to what I’m sharing today.
It is the lie that says, “It’s not my personality to be joyful or to laugh much.” If you have ever thought this about yourself, you might be assuming some or all of the following:
- Joy is an optional fruit of God’s Spirit and is only for certain personalities.
- The Bible was speaking only metaphorically when it said that a merry heart is good medicine.
- Just as some don’t have the right personality to be a loving person, I don’t have the personality to be a joyful person.
- God regrets giving man a sense of humor.
- I cannot be joyful until my circumstances change. These are what I would call lies. They are thoughts you believe that just aren’t true.
The Truth: We all can, and need to, walk in abundant joy and laughter.
We can change our perspective. It really is possible to reframe our outlook on life.
Sorrow can turn to joy. Pain can turn to peace. And in the most unlikely moments, we can actually take a step back and laugh at the craziness going on in our lives.