What is the most consistent component found in grounded leaders who handle personally/help others navigate stress effectively?  I am finding, as I read and interact with those doing so on a large scale over the long haul, it really boils down to one word-HUMOR!  (Incidentally I happen to be writing this post while my sons are watching classic, black-and-white Little Rascals reruns with intermittent guttural giggles…a key component of our family life.)

Here are a few insightful quotes that are helping me navigate the stressors in my life and ministry right now:

  1. “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” ~Henry Ward Beecher
  2. “The closest distance between two people is a good laugh.” (Here’s a post inspired by this fortune cookie quote.)
  3. “No mind is thoroughly well organized that is deficient in a sense of humor.” ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  4. “Celebrate your successes.  Find some humor in your failures.” ~Sam Walton
  5. “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” ~William Arthur Ward
  6. “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” ~Langston Hughes
  7. “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” ~Charlie Chaplin
  8. “A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
  9. “It is a curious fact that people are never so trivial as when they take themselves seriously.” ~Oscar Wilde
  10. “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
  11. “Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.” ~Eric Sevareid
  12. “Total absence of humor renders life impossible.” ~Colette

While we are not referring to the crude, slapstick fare of late night TV, truly “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” (Pr 15:15).

May I encourage you to join me in not taking ourselves so seriously and learn to laugh at yourself, a sign of sustaining maturity.  Look for opportunities to share laughter with those around you with whom you already share frequent tension and discouragement.  You can cry or laugh…and I am finding that the bust-a-gut tears of the latter are often much more not only cathartic but sanctified in their effect.