How to Be Happy
“Even a modest pleasure can be a luxury if its scarce enough—ordering coffee at a restaurant, buying a book, which is why deprivation is one of the most effective, although unenjoyable, cures for the hedonic treadmill.” -Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project-
It strikes me that after two and a half months of living in a land full of luxury, I’m ready throw myself back into a place of lack, because of love. And I do look forward to it. To unpacking my suitcase (finally) and settling into my own little home, with my dogs, in the raw beauty and infuriation of all that is Africa.
And that actually, not having things for a little while, is quite healthy for the soul. When you don’t have running water, or when the power is out, or the food is not what you’re used to, something as simple as turning on a light, or eating a croissant, can bring you such happiness.
Happiness is important.
Some might think it’s selfish, but actually statistics show that happier people bring other people happiness, and are more altruistic than unhappy people. I mean is there anything worse than being around an unhappy person?
I’ve been reading this book, The Happiness Project for the last month, and really ruminating on what does it mean to be happy, and what does it mean for me, and for all of us? I’m beginning my own Happiness Project.
It truly takes a dedication of the heart, mind, and soul to choose joy even in the face of tragedy or more often than not, small annoyances.
How to learn this with small children’s shoes, and stuffed animals, and office supplies strewn across a floor that somehow has to magically make it into six duffle bags.
Still wishing I was Snow White with a room full of helpful birds.
It has been a glorious and yet heart wrenching season jam-packed full of days with family, new friends, and days of runnings around speaking, trying to spread this message of hope:
that God’s heart beats for us, and for the least of these, and for my tribe in Uganda.
And He’s calling all of us into something deeper with Him.
So is it selfish to pursue our own happiness? Especially if its not going to hurt someone else?
Sitting in the sun and breathing for five minutes with our eyes closed.
And that part of happiness is keeping our own resolutions, our own set of principles which guide our lives and help us keep our integrity.
Be more positive.
Take care of me.
Be less serious.
I think it makes us better people.
“A sense of growth is so important to happiness that its often preferable to be progressing to the summit rather than to be at the summit.” THP
So even, if I haven’t yet attained my goal, if I’m growing towards it, I should allow myself the pleasure of happiness.
And celebrate the small victories when I’m able to keep one of the resolutions I’ve made to myself, to God, to my husband, or to my family.
While the last two months have been crazy busy, and hard, I’ll allow myself the brief pleasure of feeling that I finished well. I did what I set out to do. I listened to my Father. I said, yes.
And while there were losses, and I’m certain some balls got dropped, I was able to thrive through the midst of extensive travel, a surgery, the loss of a baby, a speaking tour, stress, demands, deadlines, and still managed to crawl back up into His arms, where I find my home.
So even though I’m not Wonder Woman, and I can’t do it all, as my hair, my toe nails, and my bags have seriously estimated at this point–
I’ve been faithful with the little I’ve been given.
I’ve stared in the face of some of the biggest challenges of my life, and what they mirrored back is that I have the strength to overcome them.
Broken, yes, but not hard.
Somewhere in Africa, God’s been building something inside me. If we stay tender, and we let Him, He can do something awe-inspiring.
And sometimes we need to stop and celebrate that.
The spitfire moments of joy, we can grasp and hold, before they slip in between our fingers.
A slice of heaven.
Before we move on to the next enormous task in front of us.
Jesus told the disciples, “Freely as you have received, freely give.” And He sent them out.
It’s all about receiving more, and giving more away.
And as I stand at the precipice of this next season, I carry this truth in my heart.
If I let Him, He will do it…..