It’s Narcissist Friday!
The old Westminster Catechism asked what the “chief end of man” was. The answer, which was memorized and apparently forgotten by so many, was: “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Sometimes people get so involved in trying to glorify God that they forget to enjoy Him. In truth, the two cannot be separated. We can’t glorify God unless we enjoy Him. The rules and standards that so many try to live by will never glorify God until we relax and remember that He loves us and wants us to enjoy our relationship with Him.
One thing I have noticed among those who have been abused and manipulated by narcissists and other controllers is the lack of joy. The abusers make life so serious, almost all the time. I suppose life is that serious for them. They cannot find joy and peace, so they don’t want others to have those wonderful things. They are quite willing to make your life miserable in the hope of finding some kind of pleasure for themselves.
But you can’t let them do that. You can look to the Lord who loves you and laugh. His creation is meant to be enjoyed. You were made to laugh. Someone once said that they often pictured Jesus laughing. I think they are right.
No matter how serious the mission, how painful the suffering, how sad the loss—there is a place for fun. Some people will think it is inappropriate. They will want you to be serious. Especially in difficult times, they will want you to exhibit the costly emotions. Sadness, anger, grief, worry, fear—these are acceptable. But not fun, not laughter.
And yet, many people have faced death with a smile on their faces. Some have found memories of loved ones to be funny, even as they grieve their loss. Some have overcome the pain of their suffering by laughing at themselves and life.
When my father faced the final stages of the dementia that would take his life, he said some funny things. It was a time of great loss for me. I watched him struggle as he lost his grip on reality. But, when I think of those days, I remember the funny things he said, and it doesn’t hurt quite so much.
The truth is that life just isn’t that serious. If you understand the truth of the gospel, you know that your salvation is secure, won by Jesus on the cross and given to you as a gift. You don’t have to strive to measure up. You can look around and see the joyful, even funny, things in life.
Adults who have lost their sense of fun usually take it from their children as well. Instead, we should watch how the little ones can enjoy such simple things with the light hearts of innocence. And we can feel that innocence in ourselves because of the gift Jesus has given to us. Life is not that serious!
As our children left the house for whatever reasons, we often said, “Have fun!” Sometimes that surprised them because they were not thinking of the possibility of fun in relation to what they were going to do. But we wanted to give them the release of a burden. Whatever they were going to do, they could find some way to have pleasure. They might have to look a little, given the situation, but the joy will be there for them to find.
I grieve when I see someone whose days are filled with the struggle of a narcissistic or abusive relationship. The stress never seems to let up. Always on edge, always worrying, always striving. These people forget the wonderful freedom and strength that a good laugh can bring.
Resolve today to laugh more. Don’t let your laughter be at the expense of others, of course. Be kind and find ways to help them laugh. One of the great pleasures in life is helping another person find the joy of laughter. A kind word, noting something to enjoy, can change a whole day for someone.
A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in due season, how good it is! Proverbs 15:23
Life just isn’t that serious!