Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #7 Laughing Matters

November 2014 Your 50 Favorite Proverbs | Liz Curtis Higgs

A verse with the word laugh? I am so in.

Holidays are meant to be wonderful, meaningful, and joyful.
Yet sometimes they end up being fretful, stressful, even dreadful.

My recipe for keeping things merry and bright?

  • Add thankfulness on the menu for Thanksgiving
  • Place Christ at the very heart of Christmas
  • Wrap everything with a generous sense of humor

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed..." Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed… Proverbs 31:25

It’s often the first thing we notice about a woman—her clothing, “her garments” (ISV), how “she dresses” (GW).

This woman in Proverbs may be strong, but she’s not dressed for battle. Back in the day, we wore business attire like a suit of armor, as we headed out to slay dragons in the corporate world. Case in point: in the deep recesses of my desk, I found a pad of sticky notes from the ‘80s, featuring a career woman’s checklist for success: “Look like a lady. Act like a man. Work like a dog.”

Hmm. The not-so-good old days.

We know better now. It’s who we are, rather than what we wear, that leads to genuine success. And it’s what we do for others that matters in the end. As Kate Halverson once said, “If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed.”

"...with strength..." Proverbs 31:25

…with strength… Proverbs 31:25

This Proverbs 31 woman really knows how to dress. Not just in linen like the priests, not just in purple like royalty, not just in her own fabulous handmade creations—she also wears strength and dignity like a shield, “as if they were her clothes” (NIRV).

The Hebrew word oz means “strength, might.” What does a strong woman look like? Not strong-willed; in fact, just the opposite. She’s strong enough to be flexible, without fear of losing control, knowing “her position is secure” (AMP).

It’s the strength of the Lord that empowers her—and us.

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation” (Exodus 15:2).
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me” (Psalm 28:7).

And if you cling to the promise, “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” here’s the rest of the story on that verse. After God’s people were exiled in Babylonia, they returned to Jerusalem and celebrated with a feast not unlike our Thanksgiving.

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’” (Nehemiah 8:10).

There it is: joy. More on that in a second.

"...and dignity;..." Proverbs 31:25

…and dignity;… Proverbs 31:25

How would you describe dignity? It’s more attitude than aristocracy. Humility, rather than nobility. The Hebrew word hadar tells us this woman was dressed in “honor, splendor, majesty.” Some translations go with “glory” (JUB) or “beauty” (DRA) or “respect” (ERV).

Put them all together and you get a sense of what God is calling His daughters to step into: His world. His truth. His holiness.

Impossible? Not when it’s His doing: “I the Lord am holy—I who make you holy” (Leviticus 21:8).

We’re never too old—or too young—to walk in His strength and His splendor.

"...she can laugh at..." Proverbs 31:25

..she can laugh at… Proverbs 31:25

You know I’ve been waiting all year for this part! Imagine being “full of joy (NLV), someone who’s “confident” (CEB) and “cheerful” (CEV), who’s not “afraid (GNT) or “anxious (EXB). Yes, please.

Why merely giggle, when you could guffaw?
Why simply smile, when you can snort?

My role models growing up were all funny women. First, I loved Lucy. And Ethel. Then, I longed to be Carol Burnett. Or Phyllis Diller, who said, “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”

Laughing is one way we express our true selves. Our polished image goes right out the window. We can learn how to walk, stand, sit, eat properly, but when we laugh, we lay all pretense aside.

Years ago I saw a magazine ad that said, “Q-tips now come in beautiful decorator canisters. One for every room of the house.” I missed this in Home Ec. Are we supposed to have Q-tips in every room? Tissues, maybe, but Q-tips? I suppose this holiday season, you could pick a decorator canister to match your dining room. You know, in case your guests want to clean their ears before dinner.

The truth? Laughter is good for our hearts, souls, and minds. It’s a free gift from the Lord. No cost, no calories, no guilt, no regrets. Besides, as Fred Allen said, “It’s bad to suppress laughter. It goes right back down and spreads to your hips.”

"...the days to come." Proverbs 31:25

…the days to come. Proverbs 31:25

A woman of God not only laughs in the here and now; she also “smiles at the future” (GW), and does so “without fear” (NLT).

She’s not overly concerned for her children, not frightened about her finances, not freaked out about getting older. She knows that “she and her family are in readiness for it” (AMP), because their lives are grounded in God’s truth and wrapped in God’s love.

With the Lord holding our Forever in His hands, we can look “forward to the future with joy” (NCV) and “laugh in the last day (WYC), starting this day.

Happy Thanksgiving, beloved. And don’t forget the Q-tips.

"She laughs at the days to come." Proverbs 31:25

Now it’s your turn

  • Can you think of something funny that happened one Thanksgiving?

We’d love to hear about it! Just click Post a Comment below and share your experience.

The adorable young women in the photo above? They traveled to Scotland with me one November. Beautiful as they come, yet making silly faces at each other—on purpose, for the camera—to celebrate their friendship. Love. It.

Your Printable of Proverbs 31:25 awaits you, as do all our favorite Proverbs on Pinterest. Quite a collection now.

We’ll spend the last few weeks of 2014 unwrapping your favorite verses in Proverbs, then put a bow on the year December 31st. In the days to come, may joy abound in your heart and in your home!

Your grateful sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs #50Proverbs
Your sister, Liz BibleGateway Blogger Grid
Celebrating Christmas with Liz Curtis Higgs
For fiction readers who love a romantic time and place: A Wreath of Snow
For children who love a heartwarming story: The Pine Tree Parable
For friends who love an encouraging word: The Women of Christmas


26 Responses to Your 50 Favorite Proverbs: #7 Laughing Matters

  1. Judy Morrow November 26, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Dear, dear Liz, thanks for the hearty LOL you gave me this morning with your Q-tips comments! And thank you for your always wise and wonderful words on this passage in Proverbs. I have really enjoyed your posts, and on this Thanksgiving I am thanking God for you and your ministry to so many–including me. Sending you grateful hugs!

  2. Jaime November 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    A funny Thanksgiving memory? My family is never going to receive an award for etiquette. Food fights with mashed potatoes in my cousin’s hair, someone making the skeleton of the bird dance… Cleanup is awful. One of the BEST memories (not funny, just nice) is since everyone in my family, which is pretty large(mom has seven siblings plus spouses and children) all have different favorites, when my mom hosted Thanksgiving dinner, instead of making a couple regular size pies, mom made each person an individual pie of their favorite flavor. One year, I think there were 37 pies. I am thankful for so many things this year.

  3. Susan Gruener November 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    One of my favorite proverbs! I do so want to laugh at the future! 🙂
    I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinner at our home about 37 years out of these 40 years of marriage. One of those I didn’t cook at home was 2 years ago when I went to stay with my daughter as she was close to giving birth to our last grandchild, just before Thanksgiving. I prayed about when to fly to their home and picked the day and told her. She thought I would be there way too early, but that is the day I felt I should come. I flew in on Tuesday and we shopped for Thanksgiving dinner the next day. I decided to cook them Thanksgiving dinner because my daughter was huge and uncomfortable. We had our feast on Thanksgiving day and we went to bed after dinner and visiting. About 1am she came into where I was sleeping and said “I think it’s time!”. Little Lorenzo was born the next day! He wasn’t the Thanksgiving baby, but close! 🙂 My funny Thanksgiving story!
    May you have a blessed THANKSgiving Liz!

  4. Blanche Hake November 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    The Phyllis Diller quote brought back a memory from my teaching days. I used it one year as we began a new class. Our new school had wall-to-wall bulletin boards plus boarders. Needless to say, we searched for great opening lines. I didn’t know that it came from her. I, too, grew up with the funny ladies. Those were the days when a family could watch TV together and not be embarrassed. Many thanks for your work.
    Have a joyous, funny Thanksgiving!

    • Michele November 26, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      Amen, Blanche! I miss the days when families spent time together….before personal computers, ipods and cell phones. TV was a luxury and the shows were wholesome and funny. I sound ancient! Lizzie, you are such an inspiration. Have a blessed Thanksgiving:)

      • Chris November 26, 2014 at 9:54 pm #


  5. Marilyn Cheney (Monroe) November 26, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    Hey Liz, I met you on Tues. when you were sweet enough to come to the Louisville rescue
    mission and spend some precious time with our sweet ladies. I just wanted to thank you again. I was so blessed by what you shared with us. And our ladies…they have never sat and listened like they did for you. You had them spell bound. I feel like the Holy Spirit was among us . We worshiped together as you painted a picture for us all to see…of God’s great love for each person there. You made feel loved and so blessed to be a child of God. Love ya Liz. Marilyn (Monroe)

  6. Martha T. November 26, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

    A funny Thanksgiving memory(now, but not then!) is when my mom’s cat jumped up on her kitchen island to get a bite or 2 or 20 of turkey! As I recall, we cut the place away where he had eaten and kept eating our dinner! 🙂

  7. Paula Timpson November 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Every Thanksgiving since I was a little girl my Grandpa and I would sit in the kitchen and eat Thanksgiving meal .He would ask me every yr ,’Do you like Mince pie?’ Every yr I’d say, ‘No.’
    Funny sweet special memory.

  8. Mary Ellen November 26, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    My mother in law-new to roasting a turkey back in the 80″s, was told to go wash the bird. My sister in law meant rinse and pat dry, but Mom heard “wash.” And “wash” she did. In the sink, in hot water with dish soap and a scrub brush!.He was clean-no doubt. We ate Italian food that year. No one ever let her forget that one…:)

    • Judy Morrow November 29, 2014 at 12:51 am #

      Oh my, Mary Ellen, what a great story. I so burst out laughing when I read that! Thank you for sharing!

  9. Christina Anderson November 26, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    My dad was hilarious and I sat to his right at the dinner table. We always had a big family dinner at Thanksgiving and one of my uncles, who was a Presbyterian minister, always was asked to say grace. He would usually give rambling, flowering graces. One Thanksgiving when we were all gathered around the table Uncle Standley began to pray. Under the table came the unmistakable sounds of one of our cats throwing up. If you have ever heard this sound, it is a terrible thing. There is no mistaking it for anything but what it is. My uncle kept on praying, oblivious to the sounds of a cat hurling under the table. I opened my eyes and caught my dad’s eye. I thought I might have to be carried out, so great was my inclination to whoop with laughter. My dad’s eyes were dancing and his shoulders were shaking. I glanced round the table and all of my cousins were valiantly trying to stifle their own laughter, as was my grandmother. Some of us had tears streaming down our faces – silent tears! My mother, who was a very sanctimonious person, had her eyes screwed shut very tight and if she heard the cat she gave no indication. My aunt also seemed blissfully oblivious. My dad, mom, grandmother, aunt and uncle and my favourite cousin who was there at the time, are all in Heaven now. So i have this wonderful memory of suppressed hilarity – often the best kind.

    • Kathy November 29, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Christina, this story is just HILARIOUS!! Thank you for making my day!!

  10. Chris November 26, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

    You have truly helped me change my life. Your verses are laying around all over the house and I read them and think back to your teaching. It really helps me with my depression and I’m certain it helps you too.

  11. Cathy Gross November 26, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    Our daughter called home from England where they were stationed in the Air Force. Her dilemma? Her turkey was not roasting as she had expected.We talked about all the obvious problems like an oven not heating properly. Turned out she did not thaw her turkey before baking. I just never mentioned that one requirement. They had friends in and all had a good laugh. God is so good to us!

  12. Gwen November 27, 2014 at 12:20 am #

    One Thanksgiving my sister and I cooked and baked and did a delicious meal. Just our families. The kids were finally old enough to be left playing and having fun playing dress up. We each weighed ourselves and decided to take a loooooong walk. We seemed to need it after that lovely pie and turkey and salads and potatoes and…and…. We walked far and wide and walked for well over an hour. We knew we had to have walked off at least one pound–at least in sweat!! We each weighed. We each gained two pounds walking right after the meal’s walk. What?!!! We weighed again. True. Walking had made us gain TWO pounds. So we sat down at the table and ate pie while playing Scrabble!!!

  13. Julie Sunne November 27, 2014 at 12:46 am #

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Liz! One filled with love and laughter.

  14. Elisabeth Allen November 27, 2014 at 4:43 am #

    I think this verse is one of the overlooked (or maybe not since it’s #7 here!) beauties from the Bible for girls! Thank you for sharing. And the photo’ of two girls having fun … it made me giggle! 🙂

  15. Linda H November 27, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    Being a young inexperienced wife, I tried to cook a turkey with the bag of turkey parts still inside he cavity. There were alot of laughs and one lesson I never forgot. Loved the comment about surpressed laughter goes to your hips. Might be my problem. I am going to remember laughter today as a healing for my soul. Have a blessed Thanksgiving Liz.

  16. Cynthia November 27, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    I can’t remember any one funny story. But what I remember is laughing, laughing, and laughing some more.

    It’s always fun to get family together and start telling stories. Remember the time. . . ? It may be the same story we’ve heard a million time; but, it’s still so great. We laugh so hard our eyes water and our sides hurt. Love it!

  17. Cris November 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    When my son was 6 , he watched me check a pumpkin pie to see if it was done with a knife . I left the kitchen and when I returned the pie looked shredded . He had stabbed it at least 50 times , he wanted to make sure all of it was done .
    He watched me prepare the turkey …I always throw out the neck and other stuff they leave inside . He went to a friends house and watched his dad cook the giblets . When we were eating he kept looking at the turkey . He said he wanted to eat the ligaments but couldn’t find them . He said his friends dad said it was the best part but our turkey didn’t have any . I had to call his friends dad to find out what turkey ligaments were .
    Thank you Liz for all you do !

    • Jaime November 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      That is adorable! Little boys say and do the cutest things. My son, who is five, ensures there’s never a dull moment in my house.

  18. barbara November 27, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    Just finished reading The Women of Christmas. I LOVED it! What a wonderful way to start the beginning of the Christmas season. Thanks Liz….I’ve read just about all your books and have loved everyone of them. Keep on writing, my dear Liz!!!

  19. BABS November 28, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    You’re so funny and real – I know this is a late comment but you reminded me of my husband who on receiving curt official letters – IF signed by a woman, he would read it out to me – like a Thespian actor….but then adlibbed – Yours faithfully…power dresser, clad in slimming black, with red lipstick slathered on both tight lips, mincing along in high heels which will cause chronic back problems in later life. Selah, ha, He was all for women – ism but loathed feminism…with a passion. So funny!!! I laughed then, and at the future. xxx

  20. Kathy November 29, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Thank you, Liz for what you do and you are so right! Laughter is so good for us. Loved the Q-tip stories. I’m a new fan but a faithful one from here on out! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  21. Carol November 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Whew! Went straight from turkey clean-up to Christmas decorating, but finally sat down a minute to enjoy the laughter and this wonderful Proverb! Thank you, Liz, for the laughter you always encourage! Now, here’s something that wasn’t so funny at the time, but three years ago, just after I had wrestled with a big bird and got him all dressed and ready to shove in the oven, guess what?? No oven!! That’s right. My old oven was unexpectedly deceased. Now what?? People coming, and a big raw bird!! No problem, as it turned out. My knight in shining armor hopped in his pickup truck and headed to the nearest Lowes. While he was gone, I went about other preparations and wondered about finding a turkey caterer at this last hour. But, lo and behold, the truck came roaring up the drive hauling my new three-oven, ceramic cooktop stove! Woo-hoo! Dear husband drug that baby in and got her all plugged up. Thanksgiving dinner was back on, and I have enjoyed that stove and all those wonderful ovens forever after. God causes all things to work together for good, right? Yes, He does!