Why you need to laugh

Jun 29, 2020 | 2 comments

A couple of months ago, I was approached by an organization that prepares people for the field. They asked if I had any training about laughter and life on the field. I answered that I had not directly presented training on laughter, nor did Global Trellis have workshops lined up that addressed laughter . . . but that I love to laugh!

Jessica (not her real name) said that she’d read somewhere about laughter on the field. She had been tasked with organizing a week of training focused on member care and wanted to include a short video training about laughter . . . since Global Trellis provides video training, could we offer one about laughter?

On the phone with someone you just met, it is a fine line between humble bragging and helping when you think she might be talking about you. In Looming Transitions, I wrote a chapter called “Laughter Revives the Soul” and it turns out that’s where she got the idea to provide training about laughing.

(Come on! That’s funny 🙂 . . . she was talking to me about something I wrote but forgot that I’d written it. Ha! As you know on the field, the humorous is often friends with the awkward.)

This is what I believe: we are made to be integrated beings who are able to lament and laugh.

Sadly, that is not what many cross-cultural workers are known for. Instead, we’ve got a bit of a reputation for being either work-a-holic buzz kills OR do-good-ers who make things worse because we don’t have the necessary training for the good we’re trying to do. Jesus was neither a work-a-holic or a do-good-er. He wept repeatedly as a man of lament. As was the cultural tradition, he reclined at plenty of tables and enjoyed time with people. He was able to lament and laugh.

Because the world is in a season of lament, I’m not sure that you need a deeper dive into lament right now. Have you looked at the price of plane tickets around the world? How many people do you know that need medical care that’s only available in another country? Or let’s just think of the TCKs who will be transitioning to their passport countries for college in August? What an awful way to enter college. We’re fairly versed right now in lament, though we will have more formal training on Biblical lament in the future.

A belly laugh sounds good right about now.

This month’s workshop is called “You Need to Laugh.” It looks at why you need to laugh and how to cultivate laughter on the field. Without lament and laughter you will become dulled to life around you. Sure, you’ll live and it might not be bad. But it won’t be life to the full. It won’t be as rich as it could be.

Wisdom from Proverbs 14:13 reminds us that “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.” A whole, integrated person laughs and aches, rejoices and grieves.

Now, this might seem like an abrupt right turn, but you also need to rest. What I learned from being behind the scenes in helping to provide sabbaths in other online spaces is that a week of Sabbath was a break for almost everyone . . . but the people who needed to rest. One week wasn’t enough for the graphic artist, the editor, or the content coordinator to actually have a break in the rhythm because . . . the next week was coming.

Since this is Global Trellis’ first year, I’m going to experiment with sabbath in this space. What does sabbath look like here? From July 1st to the 16th, there will be no new blog posts (so no new posting on Facebook or Instagram about the blog posts). And as a sabbath gift, the workshop You Need to Laugh will be free until July 6th. The 31 minutes you spend watching the video may change your time on the field more than anything else you do this month.

Let God-infused laughter soak into your soul. Because being fully alive will break your heart and revive your soul.

Get “You Need to Laugh” today while it’s still free. Happy Sabbath blog break friend.


Photo by Nikoli Afina on Unsplash

Amy Young

Life enthusiast. Author. Sports lover. Jesus follower. Supporting cross-cultural work.



  1. Kathy Lanham

    Please send me your webinar on laughter. Ty Kathy


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