Can I Laugh Without Guilt?

“Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’ But he said, ‘Yes, you did laugh.'” Genesis 8:15)

Have you ever had a day when you felt like you could get out of bed, take a shower, eat breakfast and still make some plans for the day? For those who live with chronic illness these days may seem too far between, but when we encounter one of them it’s exciting. . . until we begin to feel guilty.

Our neighbor questions how we can be too bad off to work, and yet we are out pulling a few weeds in the front yard. At the grocery store you run into your child’s teacher who says, “Little Tommy said you’ve been ill, but you look great!” Your husband answers the phone and tells your girlfriend you decided to run to a couple of garage sales—the same girlfriend you cancelled lunch plans with two days arlier because you could hardly get out of bed.

We all need more laughs. We all need more joy in our lives; and yet sometimes when it comes, we are too afraid to laugh. Like Sarah we say, “I did not laugh. I did not enjoy that too much. I did not have a moment of feeling good, because that will cause skepticism among those around me.” When we feel good, we downplay it so that it will even out with all the times we say we are “fine” when we aren’t.

Marilyn Meberg writes, “We can reinsert humor and joy into our lives even though factors that deplete us of cheer can’t be changed. Some of the ‘stuff’ of life is mundane and draining while other parts of life are enormous and hard. Whatever the size of the difficulty, cheer is waiting to be discovered—sometimes unexpectedly, like a chocolate chip in the raisin bran.”

I’ve denied fun in my life. I understand. But yet, I encourage you to throw caution to the wind. Laugh! “Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me,” (Genesis 21:6). You don’t owe anyone an explanation for you ability to pull a weed or two.

We don’t have to understand why we feel decent some days and awful others. When someone says, “I thought you weren’t doing so well, but you look great,” and you feel called to respond, just say, “Isn’t it incredible? I can hardly believe that I am out and about like this. I decided to enjoy it while I could!” Invite everyone to laugh with you.

About the Author:
Lisa Copen lives with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. She is gradually learning the process of only relying on what God thinks, and not other people.

Note: We are repeating some of our favorite devotionals this week from past years. This was originally written by Lisa in 2001.

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When have you experienced someone doubting the seriousness because you were “caught” doing something fun? What was your reaction?

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