Friday, July 4, 2014

How to Be Happy

Here's my little guy with our 48-star flag, no offense to Alaska and Hawaii.
Yesterday he stood on this same sofa, so he could see out the big window, as soon as I told him that Isaac was coming home. He ran to the sofa, climbed up as fast as he could, and chattered and laughed and expected Isaac to show up that very minute. Seconds later (I was making dinner in the next room), he fell ingloriously onto the hard floor. He cried to break your heart. He has a big goose-egg on his already square-ish head.

And such is life. One minute we're laughing and looking forward to something with great joy. The next minute we've been knocked off our perch and we're badly hurt, crying even, and surprised by how much pain hurts.

Sometimes when I'm setting out to write something here, certain faces drift across my mind. I think of these precious faces and the hearts that beat near those faces, and I just want to reach through the screen and offer up huge helpings of encouragement and support.

Usually I just tell my own story, sometimes a fraction of my story, and most of the time I try to focus on joy.

But some days are hard. Here, in this house, some days are hard. Sometimes I find myself injured by those closest to me. And sometimes, what is so much harder to bear, I find that I have caused the injury.

It's a long and delicate dance, waltzing through life in community with other humans. Without them we are miserable. With them, we are subject to discomfort. Here are some of the ways I pick myself up and dust myself off when the dance becomes awkward and I find myself tripping. Here are the things I do to be happy.

~ Avoid introspection. For me, this means to take my mind off my injury (or my perceived injury) and firmly place my mind on Jesus. This can be so hard to do. It helps to say out loud, Jesus, help me take my eyes off myself and just look at you. Worship music can help (although I struggle mightily with some modern worship songs, so it has to be the right kind of music or I get even more grumpy).

~Be quick to apologize. This one is pure freedom. It's so, so difficult for me. Its difficulty reveals my pride. Those closest to me have noticed this and pointed it out and ugh, I hate it. But the more I do it, the easier it becomes. Every time, I go into apology with dread and pride clinging to me. But every time, it's such a relief to humbly ask forgiveness. Wow, I should do this more.

~ Be the first to forgive. Yes, this one is hard too! Again, it helps to speak forgiveness out loud, every day if necessary. The forgiveness is for my own freedom. It's the forgiveness of Christ. It's nothing I have to feel or manufacture. It's all a gift from Him. He completes the action.

~ Rest in His approval. Do I seek the approval of men, or of God? I thought I sought the approval of God, until I started writing this blog. Suddenly I cared what other people thought of my writing. I was quick to pick up an offense when a friend (I didn't mind at all with a stranger) said they never read my blog. (Yes, this happened). I had to lay down that offense, repeatedly if needed, and remember that I have an Audience of One. He loves me so much. He loves you so much. Nothing, nothing we do can separate us from his love. It is an inexhaustible well. It is enough to fill the gaps when human love fails. It is enough to heal me of any wound. It is enough to make me want to breathe deeply again, after hours of shallow breaths of anxiety. It is enough.

So rest in that, beloved friend, and I will try to do the same.

I love this encouraging song from Need to Breathe. Listen to it here.

1 comment:

  1. I found your blog just this evening, and I really enjoy your style of writing, your words are speaking what my heart is feeling. Thank you for the encouraging words, I can't help but wish I lived close to you and could meet for coffee occasionally. What a treat that would be.