It’s been a great day! I woke up feeling refreshed, and even though it was 10:30 and only 6 hours of sleep, I tried my best not to think about it and got on with the day. And since, I don’t intend this to be a post about what my day looked like, I’m going to get to the point of it.
I was happy today. I felt happiness again. It’s been a while since I noticed it, so I cherished each moment of it. I decorated our apartment for Christmas and I seriously made the best of every minute of it. I watched my “faux-fire”, listened to my Christmas music, even talked with my mother during some of it. It made me happy.
I wonder why I’d forgotten what it felt like to be happy. It’s a strange feeling, happiness. It’s almost like a decision you make, a choice to be satisfied and content with where you’re at and what you’re doing. It’s kind of like letting go of it all and rejoicing in the present.
On Sunday, while the pastor was preaching I could hear the kids in the basement running around screaming and laughing. I thought to myself when was the last time I had let myself go and enjoy a moment in that way. Enjoy it so much that I just wanted to laugh and scream and run around like a little child. To be honest, the last time I did so was probably with a bunch of little kids quite some time ago.
God says, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). Maybe if we could all learn to truly let go of our worries for tomorrow and trust in who God wants us to be we would be a happier world.
One of the things I love about going to Africa is to see the joy people have even though they often have no clue what tomorrow is going to bring. And I know it’s cliche to say it, but it’s what makes me love life over there. It’s what makes me feel joy when I land and peace. Because for some reason, the world switches. It’s not about materialism, and gaining more and more stuff, and working long hours to get more accomplished today so that tomorrow I can make more; it’s about surviving today. And tomorrow I’ll worry about tomorrow. If I can find enough food to eat today, and a shelter to sleep under, I can be happy.
I know and understand that there are a lot of issues with life in some developing countries, but I also know that a lot of it is good. For some reason, life made sense to me so much more when I was in Ethiopia and Uganda than when I am in Canada. Amidst the craziness of it, I found joy.
I’ve been reading a devotional that has brought me through the twelve steps. I’m on step four right now: We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. One of the devotionals was about joy. It said,
“When we set out to face the pain and sadness of making a moral inventory, we will need the “joy of the Lord” to give us strength. This joy comes from recognizing, even celebrating, God’s ability to bring us out of bondage and to care for us as we pass through the sadness toward a new way of life.” (p. 74, The Life Recovery Devotional)
I want to be happy. I want to feel joy. In fact I need the joy of the Lord to be my strength to get through this. And maybe that means I need to really start trusting that God will take care of my tomorrows. If I can just get through today and celebrate today, tomorrow I’ll be celebrating tomorrow and this joy, this feeling of happiness will not be here today and gone tomorrow.
13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. (Mark 10: 13-16)
And now onto you: What brings you real joy? Where have you found happiness?