when being “happy” isn’t as hard as we think

Recently I’ve been reading a book called “Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy” by Leslie Vernick.

YES, it sounds totally weird and self-helpy. But it’s great – it could be better classified as Jesus Awareness and titled “Practical Ways to Actually Live Like the Gospel is Reality.”

It’s great. I recommend it.

Vernick talks about negative thought patterns, identifying the ones to which we particularly fall victim, and then goes to scripture and gives doable strategies for claiming the thoughts and actions Jesus came that we might claim in abundance.

Wa-bam. It’s awesome.

 

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Anyway, last week, I babysat for a family.

When I got to their home and walked in the door, I was going over the list in my head of things I need to get done before my own baby comes.

Finish book revisions, send requested material, paint nursery, fill nursery, read a book or ten about how on earth to take care of a baby, organize that bane-of-my-existence junk drawer in the living room, learn how to apply fake eyelashes (I don’t know. I just want to!), figure out how to schedule writing time with a baby, tour the hospital, sign up for a birthing class, try not to freak out about labor on a daily basis…all the things.

All the things!

After babysitting and reading books with the little nugget for a very enjoyable hour and a half (that’s all he wanted to do! Really!), he went down for his nap and I took out Vernick’s book to read.

Here’s what I read:

“Why has our doing overwhelmed our being?” ( Vernick p. 45)

Oh.

I don’t know.

“We live in a world that defines a person’s value and worth by his or her productivity and efficiency. How much we get done and how well we can do it are benchmarks of a good day…[but] God defines personhood and success very differently than our culture does.

From Christ’s perspective, success isn’t measured by how much we do, how much we earn, or how much we have, but by how well we love and by what kind of a person we’re becoming in the midst of life’s activities.” (Vernick, p. 46).

 

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I read these words and instantly thought about my own to-do list which, up until this moment, I hadn’t realized was being played on repeat in my head. I honestly didn’t even realize my mental to-do list existed – I was so used to waking up to it and going to sleep with it and working for it throughout the day.

So then I wondered, Does God really need me to do all these things right now?

I mean, my list is full of good things, but does He care more about me enjoying Him and just being rather than doing?

Suddenly I felt like I’d gotten rescued from a hamster wheel.

And it’s not that I won’t do all the things on my to-do list eventually, because I will. They’re important. (Well, most of them are. But I maintain the need to learn false eyelash application is important, too. Because makeup.)

It’s just that suddenly, there’s no imaginary person named Pressure standing over my shoulder and checking the things off my list, giving me a gold star for each one.

Vernick challenges us to allow ourselves to be silent before God for a time – not reading, not watching TV, not even studying the Bible, just being with God and listening.

So I tried it while the nugget was sleeping.

And suddenly, I saw the whole room differently.

Wait.

Let me rephrase that.

I saw the room.

The room I’m sure the mom wishes she could have cleaned perfectly all of a sudden showed signs of life. Of being. Of little ones growing and being, too.

Here’s a little bit of what I had the eyes to see when I got off my own hamster wheel:

 

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I would encourage you to take just 5 or 10 minutes to be silent before Jesus. It’s amazing what you’ll see, what you’ll hear, and how refreshed you’ll feel coming away from just being in His presence…just being with Him.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Target. 

To buy some fake eyelashes.

 

Blessings to you,

Robyn