Are you feeling it, fellow homeschool mom in the trenches?
It’s so easy to let our mood slide with the weather into the gray, foggy blahs. We can feel trapped, low, crabby.
In the first episode of our new podcast, The Scholé Sisters Podcast, we talk about how levity – lightheartedness, humor, cheerfulness – is a burnout prevention method. When we sink into seriousness, into get-it-all-done mode, into self-importance, we’re bound to be pulled down, lose our joy, and want to give up.
To prevent burnout and also to recover from it, we need to shed our anxieties and pride – and we do that through laughter. Laughter comes from a humble heart, a heart not weighed down with burdens or full of itself.
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When we are face-to-face with our inadequacies or our failures, yes, we need to repent, and repentance often comes with tears, but we should also laugh. God made us human. He did not make us machines. He did not make us angels.
Humor comes from realizing a discrepancy. This should be like that, but instead it’s like this. Humor perceives ridiculous inadequacies and instead of bustling in to meddle and set things right, accepts them as a part of reality, something in God’s hands to work out.
If it were up to us to overcome all discrepancies – to make all things Right – then such would be no laughing matter. But God is the One Who puts things right, and so we can simply laugh when we see what He’s up against, knowing He can overcome even that. If our inadequacies or our societies inadequacies were all on our own head, it would crush us, not make us laugh. But Jesus has removed them from us and replaced them with His righteousness – talk about discrepancy! Thus, we can rejoice. Our burdens have been taken and we can move forward in freedom, grace, and joy because we are not alone, we are not in charge, and we are not left in our sins.
To have a sense of humor is to be able to appreciate a joke. Sometimes God puts jokes in front of our faces, and we should see them and laugh. Sometimes the joke is on us and we should laugh. Sometimes the joke is us, and even then we should laugh.
The more we can laugh at ourselves and laugh with our children, the healthier and more resilient will be our minds and the better and stronger will be our relationships.
Futility makes you laugh or cry. Choose laughter.
We need to laugh more.
It’s easy to say, but it’s hard to put into practice when you’re out of practice. When you feel no joy, no pleasure, what can you do? What if our laughter sounds hollow in our ears?
Make your kids laugh.
Your kids can show you the way. They are much closer to child-like responses of joy, wonder, and humor. They know they’re inadequate, dependent, and incompetent to handle life. But they have parents who take care of that for them, so they laugh and revel in life as it comes to them.
It is when we think we’re supposed to be sufficient, self-reliant, and capable – and, knowing we’re not, fearfully hide from our imperfections – that we lose that capacity for self-forgetfulness that allows children to enjoy life. But we have a Father in heaven Whom we can trust to take care of us, Who allows us and even wishes us to have that child-like trust and joy.
Even if it starts with things as silly as making a face at them or reading a funny book, if you can manage to laugh with your kids you will diffuse tense situations and create a lasting bond. Try replacing the philosophical lecture about their fault with an exaggerated statement of it, and then laugh together.
Most of all, allow them to laugh at you. It does not undermine your authority to be the brunt of the joke at times – because sometimes we all are. Think of what a healthy emotional state your kids will develop if they can see that adults can recognize when they’re being ridiculous and laugh at themselves, too. What pressure that relieves! They can only learn to laugh at themselves if they see you laughing at yourself and inviting them to join in.
Find friends to laugh with.
We need friends. Sometimes all it takes to pull us up out of our myopic self-pity is to tell a friend about our ridiculous day. When we know someone else understands where we’re coming from, is going through the same thing, then we can laugh together. Telling the stories from our day in a way that elicits laughter rather than tears is a good practice.
Too often we vent to our husbands or tell the stories from the day in a way that will make him feel bad for us or appreciate us. What if we told the stories in such a way that allowed us to laugh together about our children, our home, and our journey? We’d have a more connected marriage. We’d stop trying to one-up each other about who does the most work or has the hardest time and simply share life, linked arm in arm. If you’re angling for appreciation when texting your husband or talking to him at night, try instead to share something amusing from your day.
We get down when we look at our work, our children, or the state of our house to bring us satisfaction and joy. That’s good, because those things aren’t supposed to be the source of our joy. It is only by realizing that they aren’t where we get our fulfillment that we can stop looking to them and look to God.
We are to rejoice not in a clean house, but in serving God by cleaning it for usefulness to our family and community.
We are to rejoice not in the education our children are receiving, but in how God has made them image-bearers and calls them to His purposes.
We are to rejoice not in ourselves, our achievements, our callings, or our competency. We are to rejoice in the Lord. Always.
Ask God for joy and satisfaction in Him, not in your situation.
God always gives what He asks of us. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit we can ask for and receive through grace. Then be prepared, for you might be able to say with Sarah, “God has made laughter for me.” God transformed her doubt and resignation into a bundle of promise they named Laughter.
May He do the same for us.