what I’ve learned about being happy

It’s a choice.

Plain and simple. And, just like any other emotion, we can choose to be happy despite what is going on around us. It doesn’t have to be this false and surface level plaster-a-smile-on-your-face-and-act-like-you’re-not-dying-on-the-inside type behavior. There are times life just seems to turn on us, right? We may feel like none of the work we are doing is reaping the benefits we expected, our plans aren’t panning out the way we expect them to, or we cannot find our passport for anything in the world and it’s bugging the mess out of us. Sometimes, it feels that there are so many things that aren’t going “right”, that simply being unable to find that passport or your favorite pair of shorts is enough to make you lose all faith and hope in the Lord & what you believe in…. because nothing just seems to be working out right and you feel forgotten about.

One thing I know is that while you can’t control what goes on around you or the decisions of others, you can control how we respond to our feelings. That was the hardest lesson for me to learn because I couldn’t separate a feeling from an emotional responses/behaviors. I feel hurt, so my emotional response is to be angry. I feel afraid and when I’m scared I talk a lot, try to plan  control what is going on, and I do just about everything I can to figure out what is going on. There is nothing wrong with feeling our feelings, but if we’re going to have healthy relationships, raise emotionally stable children, and function well through  life’s ups and down, we have to literally get a grip.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Galatians 5:22

There is freedom in knowing that you can be hurt without acting out in anger or vengeance. That if you’re embarrassed about a slip up at work or something that happened in front of a large crowd, you can respond with humility. You can have joy and peace in the middle of chaos. It’s possible. We can control our responses to our emotions….. as we as adults work hard to teach our children.

Choosing to  be joyful, loving, peaceful, enduring, kind, just plain old nice, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled takes lots of practice…….. at training your mind to focus on the Lord instead of your issue/s. Life can be hard ….. sometimes it seems so very unfair, but if it weren’t for a sovereign God who sees us and everything we go through knowing what good is awaiting us, there would be no reason to continuing fixing our eyes on our Lord & enduring whatever it is on his strength. Living in a disposition of gratefulness for what we have been given would be silly, just as being frustrated for what is going wrong would be purposeless as well, right? The fact that there is a plan encourages us to continue hoping for what is coming, allows us to want to go through the tough stuff with a bit more tenacity because we know that ‘all things work together for good for those who love the Lord’.

Now what I didn’t say is that this is easy. it’s not. Especially if you feel hard like I do….. But, what a benefit it has been to me!! When you realize that the poor responses is equivalent to a toddler tantrum & how unnecessary the outbursts are, it pretty much shamed me into doing better at controlling my responses & encouraged me to communicate & focus on what I felt and managing that than controlling/fuming/crying over what someone had done to me. (Ain’t nobody got time for that.) But, I do have time to work on those fruits of the spirit and loving in spite of.

 Learning how to control your emotions while not stonewalling, hardening your heart and becoming cold, or bitter can take some effort and it also helps prevent that hardening, too. Helps you to take things a loss less personal.  Giving into your emotions and having negative responses is one allowing someone else to control you but also shows that you haven’t truly forgiven and your heart still hurts a bit ….. possibly mixed in with a little denial. lol. Not knowing what it is that causing you to feel like this or respond like that are huge tale tail signs of denial or just not taking time to really process your emotions.

Either way, choose. Choose to find healing. Choose to get help. Choose to live your best days and be content in every and any circumstance.

My next book purchase will be What to Say When You Talk to Yourself…. I’ve had to work really hard at positive self talk and reprogramming my mind to see the best in myself and not condemn what needs some improvement.

….it has all for my good and His glory.
There’s nothing to be mad about. Disappointed, yes.
Angry and bitter, no.

Life’s about choices….. and, I’m choosing happy.

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Comments

  1. This is exactly what I needed to read literally right when I needed to read it! Just put my two year old boy and 8 mo old boy down to bed after a long day in which I lost it a few times! I too want to choose happy and Thanksgiving in all circumstances. Thanks so much for your posts… I am definitely inspired by them!

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