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My friend Ashley has the greatest laugh I’ve ever heard! She has an infectious laugh filled with exuberance and bursting at the seams with pure delight. Now, her laugh is also pretty loud. Our friend Adam chides her for that and I sometimes want to punch him when he does because laughter is such a necessary thing in this life. And also, I really love her laugh!

This week, Ashley told me about a show that she watches on Netflix that makes her laugh out loud (ironically, Ashley rarely laughs at television or movies). So, last night I decided to watch an episode of this particular program while I was on the treadmill at the gym.

Well, let me just say, I laughed. On the treadmill. Doubled over once or twice, with tears rolling down my cheeks. At first I thought, “Oh, no…I can’t watch this here. People will think I’m crazy over here laughing so hard on the treadmill.” And I almost turned it off.

But then, I thought…”Who cares?!?”

Is it wrong to laugh at the gym? Do we have to endure our workouts with grimaces and groans and serious faces? Must we be doubled over only for the sake of expanding our lungs to suck in oxygen, to stretch pained muscles? NO!!! Don’t forget that a merry heart is good medicine- so as we work to make our physical hearts stronger, why not make our spirits stronger as well?

Besides, I don’t want to be that person who takes myself so seriously all the time. And yes, I know that there is a time for seriousness, for sorrow, for all of those things that Solomon talks about in Ecclesiastes. Sometimes, though I think I have been tempted to forget that there is a time to laugh, too. It’s easy to lose your smile, your laugh, when life is hard and you have so many days you feel you’re fighting a losing battle.

But for those of us whose debts have been paid by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross, I do believe that we can live in joy and freedom. I believe that when I order my days with good discipline and obedience to the Lord that, like the woman in Proverbs 31, I can laugh at the days to come- not because I haven’t taken them seriously, but because I have very thoughtfully invested my time and resources in planning and preparing for those days. The future is taken care of, so that I can enjoy today.

There are lots of opportunities to laugh during our days. Let’s practice this more often, and what’s more, let’s find someone who needs a little true joy in their lives and help them find their laugh, too.