More Than a Witty Face
We all love a good laugh. We gravitate toward funny YouTube videos by the billions (yes, billions!). We put a premium on saying something snappy in a 140-character tweet. No pic is complete without a witty caption #amIright?
Maybe, like me, you’re feeling the pressure to be a woman of wit. Wit simply means being able to say something clever at the exact right moment. If you can punctuate a picture with the perfect hashtag, tell a joke with on-point comedic timing, or deliver a clever comeback at the right moment (instead of thinking of it later), then you might be a witty girl. If you’re not naturally witty, you may be feeling like you don’t have much to offer. And if you are, you should know there are some pitfalls that come with a 24/7 comedy routine.
I like a good laugh as much as the next girl, but do you mind if I offer some food for thought?
Funny Girl Confessions
“Erin, you’re so funny!”
It’s one of my favorite compliments. I actually pray often for God to give me the gift of humor. (More on that in a minute.) I love using humor as God gives me opportunities to write and teach, but I’ve learned a few lessons about being funny along the way.
Lesson #1: Wit can wound.
Saying something funny is awesome. Saying something funny at someone else’s expense isn’t. I’ve gotten myself into trouble with sarcasm, wit’s ornery cousin. Sarcasm is the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say. We often use sarcasm as a funny way to insult others while trying to be funny. Sometimes it feels like sarcasm is my native language. I speak it more often than I even realize. But sarcasm isn’t funny to the person being picked on. I’m learning it’s possible to be funny without pointing out anyone in particular or using a tone that is snide, rude, or sarcastic.
If you are prone to sarcasm, here are two passages I’d encourage you to memorize. (I don’t mean that sarcastically. Learn them by heart. Really and truly.)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).
Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).
Lesson #2: Wit can be a mask.
Let’s be honest, being funny is easier than say . . .
And sometimes, just being yourself.
Sure, everyone may be laughing, but when we refuse to ever let the conversation go deep, we miss opportunities to let people see the real us. Ask yourself:
-- Am I comfortable being funny andbeing serious with my closest friends?
-- When the conversation gets uncomfortable, do I try to deflect with humor?
-- Can I appreciate friends with a different sense of humor than me?
As is the case in all things, Jesus provides an example worth following in this department. Did you somehow envision Jesus as a prude who would never laugh at a joke? Think again.
Jesus was joyful and as His followers we should have joy, too, but Jesus also had a serious side. He didn’t shy away from tough topics like death, money, and sin. He didn’t laugh off the big stuff. Since Jesus was fully God and fully man, He was multidimensional just like us.
Sure, make people laugh. But also, make them think. Which brings me to lesson #3.
Lesson #3: Be funny and be deep.
I told you earlier that I love to make people laugh. Before I sit down to write a book or get up to teach, I often pray and ask God to give me the gift of humor. I’ve learned over the years that humor has a way of disarming people and opening their hearts to hear what I might have to say. But I don’t just want to get them laughing. I use humor as the gate to gain access to their hearts and minds so that they will listen when I talk about more important things like the gospel and God’s Word.
Being a funny girl is great, but being a funny girl with spiritual depth is rare and remarkable.
If you’re not naturally funny, don’t sweat it. You could try asking for God’s help in that department like I do, or you could simply seek to grow in the ways He’s already wired you. Our culture may put a high premium on the virtue of humor, but there are lots of other virtues worth cultivating, like responsibility, courage, compassion, creativity, and persistence.
So, whaddya say? Will you ask God to grow you into more than just a witty face? Ask Him to give you wisdom and spiritual depth and to teach you how to use humor for His glory.
By Erin Davis
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