I recently read that phobias are the most common mental disorder in the U.S. I had never considered fear to be a mental disorder but as I read through some of the categories I realized how phobias could certainly paralyze and disrupt lives. Fear of swallowing – fear of feet – fear of vegetables – fear of teenagers! Some of the phobias were easy to relate to – but then there was – Cherophobia: an exaggerated or irrational fear of joyfulness – and hedonophobia: the fear of feeling pleasure. II Timothy 1:7 came to mind, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” It is obvious the enemy does not want us to enjoy life. There are even those who believe laughter is not spiritual – but there are no scriptural foundations to that idea. Jesus plainly stated that He came so that we could enjoy abundant life!
Consider this list of reasons to embrace laughter and fun!
Laughter is Biblical!
Proverbs 17:22 in the God’s Word Translation is interesting - “A joyful heart is good medicine but depression drains one’s strength”
The opposite of joy is depression. Depression has become a medical malady – with prescription medicine as the cure. You cannot fix a spiritual problem with a physical solution!
The antidote for depression is Joy! Laughter can rejuvenate your spirit and tear down the stronghold of depression in your life. The Joy of the Lord is our strength! Even if your life circumstances seem bleak and depressing this life is temporary. Your joy can be full when you consider the hope you have in Jesus!
Laugh! Satan has no counter-measure for Joy!
Psalm 16:11 brings David’s insight on where to find joy… “in your (God’s) presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
If you are not pre-disposed to fun and laughter… hang around with people who love to laugh and who make you laugh! Life is too short to take yourself seriously! Lighten up!
Laughter proves to the world how Great God is!
“Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2
Your strongest and loudest testimony is the life you live. Especially when your situation seems to call for tears and turmoil – yet you display peace and pleasure. Your co-workers, friends and family will take notice and desire to acquire those same traits in their life.
On the same scale – if you are trying to win your loved ones to Christ – and you are always sad and discouraged - whining and complaining – on the verge of a nervous breakdown – your witness is polluted and void. You are living below your spiritual privileges!
Laughter is good for your health!
- Lowers blood pressure
- Increases blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
- Works out the diaphragm, abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
- Reduces stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline
- Boosts response of anti-tumor and disease-fighting defenses
- Increases immunoglobulin in saliva that protects from colds and infections
- Improves memory and comprehension; alertness and creativity
- Can be as effective as running in boosting health.
- Laughing 100 times is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike.
- Laughter burns calories - 20 minutes of laughter provides a great physical workout!
- The physiological effects of a single bout of laughter can last 24 hours
We all enjoy a good, gut-wrenching bout of laughter, but what if we are having trouble finding fun and mirth in our life? Here are some suggestions:
Become as a child… Jesus said it!
- An average 4 year old laughs 300 times a day
- An average 40 year old laughs 4 times a day
- Spend at least an hour a week with children. Play! Allow them to suck you into their imagination!
- Don’t be afraid to be silly, get dirt in your hair and grass stains on your skirt!
- Ride a merry-go-round – swing as high as your legs can pump
- Dig for roly-poly’s – chase butterflies
- Eat popsicles and watermelon – barefooted!
- Invite some friends over for a spaghetti dinner
- Set the table with your fine china and crystal
- Provide bibs and wet wipes
- Omit eating utensils!
- Watching adults eat spaghetti with their hands will surely create as much laughter and entertainment as the night can contain!
- For dessert – load up in the car and drive for ice cream
- Everyone has to wear their sunglasses inside the ice cream shop
- Sing silly songs - with the car windows down - all the way home!
According to the story of creation in Genesis, we were created in the image of God. From what I have gathered in my quest to know Him – God’s character includes a desire for joyfulness! If He longs for pleasure, then it is understandable that He wishes us happiness. Reflect on these thoughts and scripture references…
An honorable person brings God happiness.
I Chronicles 29:17
God takes pleasure when His servant prospers.
A repentant heart makes God smile.
God enjoys our songs of praise to Him.
When we glorify Him in thanksgiving – He loves it!
God takes pleasure when we fear and respect Him.
The Lord is thrilled when our hope is in His mercy.
The Lord takes pleasure in US! His people.
The blameless person makes God happy.
Dealing truthfully delights God.
God’s entertainment is the prayers of the upright.
To bring God pleasure: do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly!
God delights in mercy!
Faith pleases God and brings Him joy.
Psalm 118:24 should be our motto scripture! “This is the day that the LORD hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Today, celebrate God’s creativity!
Enjoy this day He has prepared for you.
Laugh! Smile! Grin! Skip! Sing! REJOICE! I guarantee you it will make God happy and you healthier!
(This was an article I wrote - published in Reflections Magazine 2013)