I’ve always been a little overly serious.
Some of us just have more naturally serious personality types than others.
We understand that there’s a lot of serious issues in this world that need our attention and we know that it’s important to use our lives well and not fritter away our time on meaningless activities.
On the other hand, too much seriousness is not always a good thing.
Yes, it is really important to use our time well and do our best to make a difference in this world.
And yes, silliness is inappropriate in many situations–we shouldn’t use humour to make fun of people, be rude, or to goof off when we should, for example, be focusing on something or empathizing with someone who is hurting.
But if we are only serious all of the time, life can get pretty grey and depressing. (I should know.)
And the truth is, we likely won’t excel in our life goals either, because humour is part of what helps us persevere in life and not give up on our goals. It provides enjoyment as we go along our journey, refreshing us and keeping us positive. And it can help us, at times, to get through what otherwise are very serious times.
As it says in Proverbs, ” A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. When our minds, souls, and bodies are weary, laughter can be therapy that literally has healing benefits. It could even be called “preventative medicine” that keeps us from getting stressed out. That’s some medicine I want to take!
Here are some other positive benefits of humour:
- it helps us appreciate our lives
- it builds fun memories
- it shows people we like them, imperfect as they are
- it shows people we like ourselves, imperfect as we are
- it helps us maintain perspective, that though there are many problems in the world, the end result is going to be one of eternal joy. And we can bring that joy of heaven down to earth now.
They can help us all become more child-like, which isn’t a bad thing. We all have the child-like need inside of us for fun and humour at times. My 2- year old definitely helps me with that.
Certain personality types also find this much easier than others–my hubby is a natural silly-maker. He has certainly helped me over the years to have more fun in the moment and see the humourous side of things. At the same time, I can help him be more serious at times– for example, for setting goals about what we want to accomplish in life and thinking through how we can help someone.
Why is silliness harder for some than others?
- again, certain personality types may find it more difficult
- we may have been taught that God is always grave and serious and therefore so should we be
- we may have been rewarded a lot for ‘serious’ endeavors and disciplined for silliness growing up
- we may have been made fun of in the past and are afraid of being mocked again
But that doesn’t mean even us less-silly types can’t learn to include more humour and fun in our day-to-day lives.
Does God Have a Sense of Humour?
I think so. When it comes to what he has made, including platypuses, skunks, giraffes, monkeys, and dolphins…it seems to me he must have a sense of humour to have created such interesting and even funny animals…
And how about the fact that children seem to be born with a funny-bone. I was always amazed at how young my son was when he seemed to understand humour and laugh his head off at us, as well as make his own unique silly sounds…
And sometimes it seems like God sets up situations to capitalize on silliness and get us laughing. What do you think? (Kids with bad hair days, anyone?).
Not Your Thing?
If humour is difficult for you and you’re not normally a super-silly person, please don’t worry.
God doesn’t want you to change your personality or put yourself down for not being “funny”. He made you just the way you are and thinks you are awesome.
But for your own benefit, you may want to add just a little more “silly” to your life.
I remember in college, almost despairing one day, because I had come to the conclusion that I had no sense of humour. At the time, this really bothered me. I had been trying to add more humour in my life for my own and others’ benefits and it was hard for me.
I now know that I didn’t need to be upset. If I had understood then that God thought I was awesome, I would have known that I didn’t need to change in order to be more pleasing to him. At the same time, I would have felt free to look for more opportunities to enjoy life.
The truth is, I did have a sense of humour (you do, too). It was just buried under shyness, fear of doing something wrong, and a heart that truly wanted to please God but didn’t get that I did already. Now that I am more comfortable with who I am and the knowledge that God loves me, I may still have serious tendencies (which is fine and good), but humour also comes out a lot more often with my family, friends, and in my writing.
So don’t try to change yourself or think you need to become more like another person–let others be the extreme silly-makers and comedians. Accept and celebrate who YOU are, and perhaps add a little silliness once in a while to add some more joy to your life, as well.
A Few Ideas of How:
- try to notice the humour around you in nature, circumstances, and people and just enjoy it
- take a break from your work once in awhile and do something truly fun for you
- ask everyone around the supper table to tell about one funny thing that happened earlier that day (along with the best thing and worst thing that happened that day?)
- Barabara Johnson, in her classic book Splashes of Joy in the Cesspools of Life, tells of her idea to create a “joy box” to help her through her down times –she filled a box with things that bring her joy or made her laugh, such as photos, notes, quotes, items, etc.
- do something out of the ordinary that isn’t necessary, but is fun–eg. have an indoor picnic on the floor
- play with a young child and enjoy his/her antics
- celebrate the silliness in others–don’t constantly tell others (eg. kids) to sit still, be focused, and be serious–let them have some fun and join in with them
- watch a (clean) funny movie or read a humourous book
- I’ve recently learned of Mennonite comedian Matt Falk, and I think he’s great! You can watch him demonstrate building a birdhouse (?) here.
Whatever personality you have –whether leaning towards serious or silly, let’s use our gifts to help and encourage each other.
And for the more serious among us, I think the permission to add just a little more silliness to our lives can help us enjoy our lives more and therefore bless others, as well, in the process.
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What do you think? Are humour and silliness necessary in life? How have you learned to grow in the fun side of life?