Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happiness? Bah-Humbug.

I used to try to be happy.

Really hard.

I tried smiling more. I worked out more. I read my Bible more. I prayed more for happiness.

But the harder I worked to find it, the more happiness seemed to elude me. Why would God not answer such a heartfelt prayer?

My life felt empty. It was even worse since I was supposed to be a Christian and here I was struggling with finding happiness!?! The guilt alone from that made me even more unhappy! Why couldn't I just be happy for heaven's sake?

Then, I had my first baby. I was certain I would find happiness. But, post-partum depression kicked in. Insomnia started. I was emotionally and physically exhausted. "Where are you God?" I cried to Him. "I know You have the power to heal me and bring me to a better place. Why aren't You helping me? I am in pain and You are choosing to be silent? Where are You?"

Happiness was no where in sight. I figured that God was punishing me for something. At times, I even questioned my Faith, and wondered why I continued to pray to someone who obviously didn't care. If He really was there, He would have known how unbearable it was and would have healed me.

That was a tough place to be.  It's been eight years since that time and I am amazed at how far I've come. Not like I'm saying, "I have arrived, ladies! And, man, is the view from the top great!" No way! I am still climbing this mountain, but it feels good when you know you've made some progress, right?

Happiness is such a loaded word. We think it means being all smiles, waking up every day and thinking, "I am so happy! Isn't life wonderful? Like a big bowl of cherries!" Well, sorry Pollyana, but when I'm around someone like that, I want to haul off and whack 'em in the back of the head. "Hey! Why don't you be real and keep your annoying happiness to yourself!" (Wowzers. Perhaps that was a bit much?)

The truth is true inner happiness is not an emotion. It's a state of mind. When I stopped waiting for my circumstances to change, for my husband to meet my expectations, or for my finances to be in order to be happy, I found contentment...which led to happiness.

My life has been more stressful in the past two years than ever before. I have cried more tears, dealt with more disappointments and lived in less than satisfying situations more than ever before, yet, I am happier than ever. (I know. It's shocking.)

The thing is, I stopped waiting on life to make me happy. Once I realized how deeply I was loved, (no matter how ugly or how messed up I had been) I was free to be happy. It had nothing to do with my situation. It had everything to do with my internal dialogue and resting in God's love.

God meant for us to lead a happy life. How we learn to do that though, is much harder than I ever realized. I look back and see that even in my deepest moments of despair, He wasn't ignoring me. He was teaching me to trust that He was there. Not to make everything better, but to show me that happiness isn't in this world, but in the depths of my soul, where He is. Where true happiness can not be destroyed, no matter what is happening externally.

Anger, tears, frustration, fears, insecurity, etc...All of these things were part of my finding true happiness. My Faith in God and staying near to His Word (even when I questioned my faith) kept me struggling on the path to find what I so desperately wanted. It was when I finally became content in the lows, that I was able to find true happiness.

And now, I stand here on the side of this mountain of life (Wow. That sounds all philosophical and stuff), looking at what I have gone through, and am deeply happy. It's that depth of happiness that makes me appreciate what I went through to get here.

And there's still sooo much more to learn...





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photo credit: Dithedy via photo pin cc

8 comments:

  1. There is a big difference in living your life "Joyous" as we were instructed to do and being "Happy". Circumstances can cause momentary happiness, but Joy is inside you. It comes from the peace in knowing that no matter what happens here on earth that you are loved by your friends, family, and most of all God.

    I can say, since I have been in your life for 28 years now, that I have noticed a change in you over that past couple of years. I miss you so much since you have moved, but I do believe that it has been a good thing for you and your family. I love you sis!

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    1. Girl. You are a gift. Truly. Thanks for that sweet comment. Nothing in me has changed on my own power. God has truly changed me. Got a WAYS to go, though! HA! :) Love you and can't wait to see you guys over the holidays!

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  2. I completely understand where you are coming form, for me its trying to please everyone, nothing seems to be enough and loving, loving when its hard to love. Being the person that God wants me to be. Then I came across this verse in a bible study that I am currently doing and I was at ease...

    I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation--- the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ---for this will bring much glory and praise to God..
    Philippians 1:9-11


    Sorry for the long comment, it just came out :)but nice to get off my chest.

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    1. Thanks for the long comment!!! Seriously! I love it! Thanks for sharing. Being a woman is hard work and demanding. Our inner joy must come from somewhere other than ourselves!! Love the verse you shared! Thanks Erica!

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  3. Great post! Joy definitely comes from within.. not sure if we'll ever "arrive" at that on this earth, but the journey sure is fun! I love to read your writings/thoughts. You are a blessing to many people whom you will never even meet in this lifetime! Bless and be blessed.
    Love you!

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    1. Thanks Gaye. I appreciate your comments always! Thanks for being such a good support for me! It means the WORLD!!!

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  4. Oh Bri you did it again. I always love that your words are so sincere and refreshing. Thank you for be ing so open and making a lot (all) moms feel like they are not alone in these feeling of discontent in what is suppose to be "they happiest times with your little ones". Granted they are always a blessing but if this job ain't tough. Lovely post.

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  5. Your words here are beautiful, Bri! Words that surely will bathe a soul in need of some truth drenching. I so enjoy reading these encouraging words that you write, my friend!

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