All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15 (NIV)
Remember those times with your friends where you laughed so hard that you couldn't stop? I remember getting tickled at my dad sneezing out loud during an evening church service, while I was in the mezzanine sitting with my friends. I was used to hearing his full bodied sneezes in falsetto to keep from harming his vocal chords when we were at home, but seeing my friends' reactions after hearing him, I got tickled and silently rocked back and forth in laughter, trying not to disturb or make a scene. (I love you Dad!)
I also remember how my sister and I would get tickled talking about something and we would just cackle and laugh while everyone else wondered what had happened to us. Sometimes we would laugh until tears were running down our faces or we had to excuse ourselves to the smallest room in the house while we got those "what are those two doing over there" looks from our kids.
Last night, in our fifth class of HEALTHY AND FREE, the lesson was on movement. We walked into the portable that was usually set up with our tables and chairs, only to find everything stacked up and pushed to the sides after the cleaning crew had worked it over.
With all of the rain we've been having lately, in my plans was an activation activity to demonstrate a couple ways to add movement for bad weather days. One was taken from a fun family game that started as a dance competition where one person made a certain movement and everyone copied. Kids and adults together could play and have fun.
We played with this to some upbeat music by Natalie Grant and giggled like a bunch of 5th grade girls. Stress was leaving our bodies from daily work and mundane tasks that seem to never end.
Next we tried something different and all faced toward the outside of the circle, so as not to feel so intimidated. We all moved freely to individual routines paced by the rhythm of another song. The music faded and I looked around and saw that no one was ready to stop, so I started up another song. Near the middle of our free moves, a new member entered the dimly lit room to find all of us stepping and moving in our own worlds. She just stepped right in and joined us. Holy Spirit was very present and I could have gone on for another hour, but there was a lesson with discussion that waited to take place.
Breathing heavily and heated up, we grinned, sighed, and arranged chairs to introduce ourselves to this young woman, our brave new friend.
She admitted that she had only come four times to our church and had so wanted to come to the ladies study. She was hungry for a spiritual experience and when she walked in her first thought was, "What have I gotten myself into?"
We all cracked up! But our video talked about all of the positive benefits of movement, including endorphins being released, and she knew the Lord wanted her to hear just this for the stressful pace she keeps.
E.E. Cummings stated, "The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
Movement feels good, yes, but salted with the laughter this evening, it was "medicine to our bones".
I was reading on www.cancercenter.com how studies actually prove that laughter boosts the immune system, soothes stomach aches, balances blood pressure, and improves mental functions.
Laughter is truly a gift that I plan on unwrapping more often. This contagious gift spreads delight, silliness, and fills me with new life and hope.
Next time you text or Facebook LOL, really let yourself go with a belly laugh. Don't hold it in! If someone overhears, well, maybe they need a dose of this priceless medicine as well.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22
Bump it up a notch and LAUGH OUT LOUD!
Healthy and Free is by Beni Johnson. It is a study that discusses ways to promote health for our body, soul, and spirit. It contains her book, a study guide, and a DVD if you are interested in it for a study then order it from Bethel Store, Redding, CA or from Amazon.