Lighten Up

Lighten Up

By April Osteen Simons


I’ll never forget one Sunday, a few years back when my perspective on life and what’s important shifted. We were all getting ready for church, just like any other Sunday. Things were going well for the most part, until one of my kids decided to flush the toilet. All of a sudden I heard Savannah scream, “Mom!” It startled me and I ran into the bathroom only to discover the toilet had overflowed and water was pouring out everywhere in the bathroom. It was awful. I was dressed, standing in my really cute shoes in a huge puddle of water. (A moment of silence for the shoes is needed.)

You can imagine the frustration. I’m calling out for help, kids are running around—it was like a circus. Needless to say, that was only the beginning.

Just a few minutes later…


Lighten Up


…upstairs began to resonate with high-pitched screams, “MOM!” I ran upstairs and believe it or not, another toilet was overflowing! It was crazy. The house was in an uproar. We were running around throwing towels on the floor, kids were falling in the water and I was getting soaked.

Just as we were getting it under control, my son, Garrison, yelled from downstairs, Mom, come quick, HURRY!” We ran to the downstairs bathroom and just as we opened the door, the vent in the ceiling gave in and water began pouring down from the upstairs bathroom.



Standing there, almost in disbelief that all of this had just taken place, I began to look around. I assessed the mess, calculated the loads of laundry I would be doing after church and cringed at the thought of all of us having to change clothes. The reality was, I wanted to cry. But then it happened. Suddenly, in the midst of all the mess, I began to laugh. And I don’t mean just a light-hearted laugh, I mean, I was laughing from deep down. I can’t even explain it because I definitely surprised myself! I think it had gotten to the point that it was so bad that it actually became funny to me.

Hesitantly, my kids cracked a smile, almost as if they didn’t know if it was safe or not to laugh with me. Finally, when they realized it was ok, we all burst out into laughter while gazing at the destruction and mess before us. I’ll never forget that day. In fact, I don’t think any of us will.

I wish I could say I always reacted that way…laughing instead of crying or yelling or both. It was only by the grace of God that it happened that way. I guess the reality is–life happens. Times get tough, things get ugly (and smelly) and often the unexpected happens. It’s easy to react.

Here’s a thought–what if we really made an effort to do something else. What if, in the midst of all of the mess, we changed or shifted our perspective? I mean, were toilets overflowing really the end of the world for me? It might have seemed as so at the moment, but in the big scheme of life, it wasn’t. The reality was, I still had my family, my house and my health and we still made it to church (a little late, but we made it).


So, here’s my challenge. It’s really deep…are you ready for it? What if we actually LIGHTEN UP. Let me make it easier to understand. What if we tried to stop getting our panties in a ruffle and our boxers in a bunch. (You know which ones you are.)

I love the way Reba McIntire summed it up when she said, “To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.” I couldn’t agree more. I mean, let’s face it, folks, sometimes we get so busy with life and all that it has thrown at us that we forget to LAUGH.  

Laughing is a good thing!

Do you know laughing 100 times has the same effect on the body as being on a stationary bike for 15 minutes? And hey, a daily dose of laughing can burn up to five pounds of fat over a year. If we would just laugh instead of worrying we’d all be skinny! If that’s not enough, take a look at this:

Laughter reduces stress in your life.

Laughter boosts your immune system.

Laughter is contagious–not only does it lift YOUR spirits, but those around you as well.

Laughter is life-giving.

Laughter creates a positive environment around you.

Laughter makes bad situations better.

The scripture says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” We need to remember to take a good dose of laughter every single day.

You may be thinking, April, if you knew my situation, you would see there is nothing even remotely funny going on in my life right now.

Well, I don’t know your situation, but I do know when you can’t find anything to laugh at, laugh at yourself–you probably have some really good material.

Not long ago, I sent my youngest daughter a text that said, “You’re right.” Autocorrect changed it to “You’re ugly.” You know what we did? We laughed!

I sent a good friend of mine a text with an encouraging message. At the end I wrote, “You’re the best.” I felt so good about sending her that message. I knew it was something that would brighten her day. Later that day, I read back over the message and realized I had written, “You’re the Beast.” Needless to say, we had a good laugh.

When you can laugh at yourself there is freedom. When you can laugh at yourself it causes you to lighten up a little and quit being so serious. And as the saying goes, “Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they will never cease to be amused.”

Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Why not make an effort today to find a moment and just laugh. Don’t allow the circumstances of life to dictate how you live every day. Choose to lighten up and smile and laugh!. Don’t just live life, ENJOY LIFE!

We only get one shot at this thing called life. Let’s make it one worth living.

And hey, just in case no one has told you lately–You’re the BEAST! Have a GREAT day!

April xoxo

april-osteenIf there’s one word to describe April it is “Encourager.” In a world filled with negativity and hopelessness, she brings an inspiring message of hope and life that helps you deal with the demands and challenges of everyday living.  
She inspires with entertaining stories combined with heart-warming humor and practical wisdom. Her message will impact your personal, spiritual and professional life. 
April comes from a family of encouragers; her late father, Pastor John Osteen and her mother, Dodie, pastored Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas for over 40 years and spent their lives encouraging and inspiring people with the Good News of the Gospel. Her brother, Joel, along with her mom and brother and sister, continue the work of her father, encouraging millions daily through television. April travels extensively sharing a message that is relatable, insightful and life-changing. Her audiences include churches, conferences, hope-coaching seminars and business/success events all over the United States. Whatever the venue, her passion is to breathe life and encouragement into people everywhere. 
April lives in Dallas, Texas. She has five amazing kids; Christiana, Garrison and his beautiful wife, Franchesca, Savannah, Elliana and Arriella. Her newest addition is her perfectly beautiful granddaughter, Penelope. April loves life, she loves her family and she loves shoes!
Be sure and connect with April on her blogFacebook, and Instagram for more encouragement!

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