I’m doing something a little different for this week’s book review! Instead of posting my review, I’ll be participating in a blog hop that gives you a chance to read selected passages from the book Choose Joy by Kay Warren.
Here’s a list of the posts you can look forward to reading from myself and other bloggers this week.
- 6/13- post from Suzanne Woods Fisher
- 6/14- post from Renee Swope
- 6/15- post from Holley Gerth
- 6/16 post from Kayla Aimee
- 6/17- post from Stephanie Howell
When selecting the excerpt I wanted to share with y’all, I asked for the chapter titled “Laugh And The World Laughs With You” because, well, humor is where I find joy in the tough places. Most of y’all know that our birth experience was terrifying and the days following were much the same. I remember lying in my hospital bed and a nurse brought me some nursing pads…in a HAZMAT bag. I was all “Really? Did she just hand me something that I’m supposed to put against my chest in a bag labeled BIO HAZARD? I do not feel safe.” And Jeff and I laughed together and that moment felt light in the middle of the darkest thing we’ve ever experienced.
Click CONTINUE READING to read the full excerpt from Choose Joy!
Laugh and the World Laughs with You: See the Humor from Choose Joy by Kay Warren
You know I’m an Eeyore—serious, intense, and prone to depression. I smile and giggle with friends and family, but I don’t belly laugh very easily—something has to be really funny to make me laugh loudly. My poor family members have bent themselves into pretzels trying to find a TV show or a movie that I think is funny; I recently learned that they flip a coin to see who has to be the sacrificial lamb and pick out the movie! Slight exaggeration, but not much.
That’s one of the reasons Rick is so good for me. As a Tigger on steroids, he has brought so much laughter to my life. He makes me madder than anybody else, but he also makes me laugh like nobody else! Eeyores need people who can worm their way beneath our serious exterior and hit the funny bone. To increase our enjoyment of life, to live out that greater joy, all of us—not just Eeyores—must learn to laugh more.
Have you figured out yet that life is absurd? If it weren’t absurd, America’s Funniest Home Videos would not be on the air night after night so we can watch us make fools of ourselves!
Some people have decided that because life is absurd and there is pain in life, God must not exist. I say that because life is absurd and there is pain in life, I need God more than ever. If I didn’t have God in my life, I couldn’t survive. Yes, life is absurd. Yes, there is pain. But we runto God in our pain, not away from him.
I heard this the other day: “If something is going to be funny later, it’s funny now, so go ahead and laugh about it.” What a great perspective! Proverbs 15:15 says, “Every day is a terrible day for a miserable person, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast” (GW). Begin to look for the humor in your life—even if it is absurd.
A friend of mine loves to tell her most embarrassing dating moment. She met a great guy, and after they’d had a few dates, he invited her to go waterskiing with him and his brothers, whom she had never met.
After her ski run, she was trying to climb gracefully back into the boat in her cute little bikini. But as she climbed up, the bottom of her bikini got caught on a hook. As she slid into the boat, she and her bikini bottom became separated from each other. Her bikini bottom floated in the lake, while she was exposed in all her glory in front of her new boyfriend and his brothers.
If this had happened to me, I would have jumped back into the water and drowned myself! My friend? She married the guy! She says, “I figured he’d seen it all, so I might as well marry him.”
When my grandmother got old, she lost muscle tone in a certain part of her anatomy, and she had a little trouble with passing gas. As she walked, she made this little toot-toot-toot sound. I wouldhave been totally humiliated if that had happened to me, but she chose to see the humor in the situation. I remember her saying, “I am eighty years old, and if I want to toot when I walk, I will! Here I come: Toot-toot-toot!”
Going through breast cancer was not funny. The chemo I was taking guaranteed that I was going to lose all my hair. When it started to thin, I didn’t want the trauma of watching it fall out in clumps, so I decided to make a preemptive strike and shave my head and start wearing a wig.
Even though I had done a lot of reading and talked to my doctor, I was just not prepared for how painful that experience would be. I can still get emotional when I’m talking about it because I have never felt more vulnerable or naked in my entire life. I did a lot of crying at first about it. But after I had worn that wig for about a year, it became less traumatic. I learned how to laugh about it.
I remember clearly one incident soon after I had finished my chemo but was still wearing my wig. I had come back to church, and I was teaching one of our women’s Bible studies. It was my birthday, so all the women had loaded me down with cards and gifts. I also was holding my books and Bible, so my arms were full.
My friend Elizabeth and I were walking out to my car, and the wind was blowing pretty hard. (Can you see where this is going?) As we were walking with our arms loaded, I felt the wind catch the back of my wig. Before I knew it, my wig flew off my head and rolled end over end through the parking lot like a squirrel on the run for the border.
Elizabeth and I began to scream with laughter. Both of us ran after it, but since our arms were full, the only way I could stop this tumbling wig was to jump on it. As I picked it up, we doubled over with laughter. Where is America’s Funniest Home Videos when you need them?
About that time I saw a big SUV come very slowly toward us. A friend of mine was driving, and her eyes were huge!
“Did you see what happened?” I asked, still laughing.
“Yes! But I didn’t know whether to help you or just drive on and pretend I hadn’t seen a thing.”
“Well, you should have helped me chase my wig!” I told her.
A few months later I was still wearing a wig when I was asked to speak at the beginning of a women’s weekend event at church. I was trying to explain to the women listening that they needed to be vulnerable. God was going to be talking to them in the upcoming days, and in order to receive what he was saying to them, they needed to let their guard down and be vulnerable before him.
I told them about the time I’d lost my wig in the church parking lot and how vulnerable I had felt. I did not plan to do this, but as I got to the place in the story when the wind took my wig off, I impulsively reached up and flipped my wig out into the audience. They shrieked. Eeeeek! As if I’d thrown a snake at them or something. Finally, a lady in the front row bravely picked it up and dropped it like a hot potato on the edge of the stage.
I’d already done my crying. It was time to laugh.
Laughter and tears come from the same deep well in the soul. That’s why sometimes we laugh until we cry and sometimes we cry until we laugh. If you can laugh but you can’t cry, you need to get some help. If you can cry but you can’t laugh, you need to get some help. And if you can do neither, you definitely need to talk to a good friend or a counselor.
God intends for you to be able to weep freely and laugh uproariously, just as Jesus did. When you can recognize both the pain and the humor around you, you take another step toward knowing true joy.