Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why your happiness matters.

Recently I've been on a quest:

"What can I do to cultivate happiness?"  

Is this way-self-centered for a mom to even say out loud?
Can Christians really be worried about things so un-spiritual as happiness? 
Isn't that a really shallow thing to think about?

You know what?  I've pushed against those very questions myself.  I've even felt a little (or a lot) guilty caring about investing in my happiness.

(A disclaimer about my self-inflicted guilt trips: My husband doesn't put that on me. My kids don't put that on me. God doesn't put that on me. I put that on me. So I'm the only one who can stop it.  Same for you, friend...)

Behaving selflessly is what is expected of us and what we often love to do.  I'm learning day by day that chasing happiness - finding sparkle - can exist right alongside living selflessly.  (Please note I don't profess to have cornered the market on selflessness by any stretch.)

You and I can choose some things.  Other things, we can't.
I can't choose my way out of fibromyalgia really sucking.
I can't choose my way out of waking up at 4am with my hips too sore to lie down on anymore.
But I can choose what I do next. 

There are always things we can't change. But nothing steals your sparkle without your permission. 

My BFF grew up on a farm.  She taught me the art of watering house plants.  Believe it or not, "own living indoor plants" was one of the life goals I wrote down a few years ago.  I'm a very remedial case when it comes to agriculture.

(My husband wishes I'd formed this friendship before his decade-old rubber-tree lost its final leaf and died a lonely death in the corner of our dining room.)

My friend told me one time about soil and how the nutrients in the soil really matter in terms of the quality and nutrition of the food that's grown there.  This sounded way too complex to me.  But I couldn't properly water a houseplant before she came along. So what do I know?

She laughs, because I often tell her that my secret dream is to be a farmer.  And to own a goat.   (She's not the only one who laughs at this.)

But I can see that there's something important to take away from all this soil talk.

We can cultivate our hearts in ways that give us rich "soil" for our relationships to take root in and that can produce good harvests. 

If you are depleted, you don't have what you need to give when there's an opportunity to be part of blessing someone else.  And you might be kind of lame to hang out with. (I may just be talking about myself here....)

We all have circumstances that threaten to dictate our happiness.  And each of us can practice making little choices each day to hang on to some sparkle and live more beautifully, right where we are... no matter the circumstances outside our control.

Today I give you permission to do something "just because it's fun," as long as it's not illegal, immoral or fattening.  Ok, fattening is allowed - I'm not as extreme as Dr. Laura.

If you want to share your sparkle stories, you can leave a comment or post on my Facebook page!

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