Joy and laughter are two great ways of describing my family. These are very important aspects of life for us. That doesn’t mean we don’t have serious times, but we want to have a lot of fun with our kids. We want them to experience childhood to the full.
I try to tickle my kids every day; to see them laugh is an awesome thing. In fact, I believe that seeing a kid laugh shows there’s a different side of beauty in the world. With so much pain and hurt in the world, we want to set up our kids to have every opportunity to laugh, have fun, make mistakes and learn from them, so that tomorrow is better than yesterday. After all, isn’t that the picture of sanctification? God wants us to experience the gifts of His joy and grace in this life.
In our household, we are often cracking each other up about the silliest things. And if you ask almost anyone in the clubhouse, I’m always trying to get others to laugh. I don’t know what it is, but God weaved into my personality the love of laughter. Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved making people laugh. I don’t like to see people down, and since I’m no good at motivational speeches, I do what I can to lift people’s spirits through laughter. I want others to see life from a perspective that acknowledges that everything will be OK. And especially in the world of baseball, where there is so much failure (even when you’re successful, you’re failing at something), I try to keep things light.
It’s important for me to keep this perspective for myself. After going around the world and seeing how much worse off many people have it, I realize our situations are not as bad as we often think. There’s a lot of bad in the world, but when we acknowledge the good we have, we can give thanks. When you have a heart of thankfulness, it’s easy to reach for laughter.
I believe that being able to laugh at yourself is a huge characteristic of being a follower of Jesus. When you’re able to see your weaknesses, and the fact that you’ve been made whole in Jesus, you can laugh at the trials in life. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously, and as a result, we can experience stress and anxiety when we try to be too perfect. The Instagram and Facebook life tells us we need to be perfect all the time. I wish there was a social media platform where you had to show your worst photo of the day. It would be much more realistic.
Of course, we shouldn’t focus on our weaknesses or laugh them off, but I try to show that my weaknesses are made whole in Christ. Especially in tough circumstances, it can be hard in the moment to be able to see the good that may come from it, but after the fact you can point to what God was able to do through that time.
The person who is always negative and questioning God won’t be able to share a strong testimony of God’s goodness in their life. As Christ-followers, we don’t want to look like the rest of the world. We want to separate ourselves in order to bring joy to others, allowing them to open up and be vulnerable with us. We are able to share the light of Jesus with others through our joy.
One thing I try to do is to be the same person every day. Especially at the baseball field, whether I’m having a hot streak, a cold streak, or somewhere in the middle, I want my attitude and character to remain steady. That speaks volumes about what you believe in. If you believe in something other than the omniscience of God, you can ride the waves of emotions and people will tiptoe around you. I don’t want to be that guy. I want to be the guy who, whether living in abundance or not, others know they can come to and be lifted up.
“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” — Philippians 4:10-13
Contentment in Christ is joy.
— Steven Souza, MLB outfielder
Steven Souza is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Steven’s Increase profile here.
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