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Laughing at Your Shoulds

a family laughing for Laughing at Your Shoulds post at Holy in the Daily

Little children laugh at falling leaves, men with long white beards, and puppies. Of course, all of these things can make a small child cry too, but usually what comes forth is a giggle. I wonder where we have lost our ability to giggle at falling leaves.

Life is gloomy when lived in a depressing economy or with people who take themselves too seriously, especially when such people bear your name. There will always be work to be done, people draining our energy, and taxes. Yet God has called us to joy, and laughter expresses joy (see Psalm 16:11).

My first New Year’s resolution states: To learn to laugh like a child again. For me, the best strategy to accomplish this is to question all the shoulds I’m feeling at any given moment in my day—whether directed at myself or another. A should blocks joy and restricts the peace of God that allows room for quirky thoughts and time to laugh with friends. A should colors responsibility as an obligation and weighs heavy on shoulders that need to lighten up. Laughter is caught in the moment, and a moment focused on a should has no room for laughter.

Some things won’t get done today—there are children visiting their grandma who need her undivided attention, and she needs their world view more than that given by the latest news report. A review of the day with the pastor I live with favors the lighter moments mentioned as well as the heavier ones to balance our perspectives. The message waiting to be finished for the women’s meeting will be richer if I rest in laughter as well as the Scriptures.

They call the Kingdom of God the Backward Kingdom because nothing seems logical to the earth bound. Finding joy as strength is one of those backward principles that keep the Backward Kingdom filled with laughter (see Nehemiah 8:10).

How’s your laughter learning process coming along? Any tips you can share?

In Him together, Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kim

    I love this one! I appreciate how you connect laughter to the shoulds in life. I’ve had a saying for years that I often share when others have a case of the shoulds:

    Don’t should on yourself

    And, sometimes I add:

    Don’t should on me either

    Thanks for adding a laugh to my day, Susan!

  2. Lilly Green

    As you age, your laughter is always informed by a blunt reality that pain hovers close by. When I have experienced the hysterical abandon of laughing with family, say while playig a game, I come close to recapturing that pure joy of childhood that is not haunted by the brokenness. Ah, to live in that . . . I guess only in heaven, really.

  3. Susan Gaddis

    Great saying, Kim–one I will the next time I see a case of the shoulds, as you so very well said! Thanks.

    Lilly, perhaps pain and brokenness fine tune the joy, letting us experience some of the depth that Jesus went to for us to experience his joy. I am thinkful that there is a time coming when pain will be no more. I’m homesick again.

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