Monday, February 24, 2014

Happiness is...Writing a Blog Post

"People desire joy and happiness more than anything else in the world. There are many popular expressions of this sentiment in every language and culture. For example, we wish people good luck or good fortune. This is certainly a noble and worthy custom. And yet, all of this wishing does suggest that people are not that successful in finding joy and happiness in their lives." Lukewarmness: The Devil in Disguise, Francis Carvajal
"A 'happiness project' is an approach to the practice of everyday life. First is the preparation stage, when you identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement, and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse. Second is the making of resolutions, when you identify the concrete actions that will boost your happiness. Then comes the interesting part: keeping your resolutions." Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life, Gretchen Rubin

"Happiness. Purpose. Meaning. Everyone wants to be happy. Do you create circumstances to nurture this desire and enjoy your journey through life? I hope so. Too often I meet people who are not. Perhaps you say you are just too busy surviving to be happy. Have you ever met someone who wasn't busy? The chances are good that you have not; at least not recently." Living Intentionally, Laryn Weaver
Happiness is... unexpected inspiration.

Like most bibliophiles, I read multiple books at a time. The above three quotes are from three books I am currently reading. In fact, they are the first few sentences of each. Honestly, I did not set out to read specifically about happiness this month. Baby #4 is about to be one year old next month, and I have felt the need to dig myself out of survival mode and begin to live more intentionally. Yes, I know a year is a long time to get stuck in reaction-mode versus living intentionally, but when you form habits of living daily life, it can be challenging to notice they are bad habits, much less resolve to change some of them.
I don't know about you, but the two things I tend to neglect during survival mode are all about me, my interior, spiritual life and my emotional and physical well-being. The laundry has to get done. The children have to eat. We have to complete our school work. We even have to clean the house periodically. Even my ministry and my business get attention. People are depending on me, after all. But, things that revolve entirely around Mom get left out, and that's not good. The result is that the joy I experience is fleeting, and I am completely drained. every. single. day.

So, I was given the first book from my BFF who knows what I need. In confession, she mailed that book to me last fall, but I wasn't ready for it. Now I am. I picked up the second book, at the recommendation of another friend, curious that Rubin chose her home as her second project, since that is where I spend the majority of my time. And, the third book I found by chance, or more likely by the careful orchestration of the Holy Spirit, as I listened to an inspiring training call for my business and realized the speaker was Catholic. When I heard she wrote a book, I knew I had to read it.

Happiness is...the presence of God.

I was expecting Rubin's book to be about happiness. I was not expecting the other two to mention the trait in the first few sentences. My thoughts have been swimming about the confluence of these topics ever since: fervent faith, happiness at home, and living intentionally, such that I've been unable to read past the first few pages of any of the three. Of course, the fact that most of my reading is currently done while nursing and rocking baby to sleep, making it next to impossible to highlight or take notes during my reading has been a huge factor. I process so much better when I write things down, and this topic begs my attention.

Am I happy? Yes. Deep down there is a peace that sits steady. I have lived enough and been blessed enough to know that I am infinitely loved by an awesome God. What I lack most days is joy, the outward sign of an internal happiness. My children deserve a joyful mother, and my heart longs to deliberately and prayerfully find ways to be joyful.

Happiness is...looking forward to fun!

Many years ago, while trying to order my life after baby #1, I followed the sage advice of FlyLady, and one of the things I added to my binder was a list of things that bring me joy. I still have that list even though the binder has changed and morphed into an electronic task list of sorts. It says things like read books, laugh out loud, eat chocolate, spend time outside, talk with friends, and write. As I was contemplating the list most recently, I keep settling on the idea of writing.

This space has been neglected for too long. This space that brings me joy. It is going to take moving mountains to spend time each day here, but I am going to try again. Thanks to Jen Fulwiler, I have motivation to create a new habit and write seven posts in seven days! I hope at least one of my posts brings someone like you a little joy, a little inspiration for this last week of February! Click below to find more bloggers joining Jen's challenge!

What is something that brings you joy? Are you including it in your daily life?

No comments: