We’ve received a legitimate request for more posts on the blog, which means we need to get up to speed to post more regularly. We will absolutely attempt to do so. Promise!
I’ve recently, seredipitously, read two books with the same theme…The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Both books center on finding more happiness in our current circumstances. Both books have been valuable reminders to me. My anxiety-prone self was particularly impacted by Voskamp’s chapter, “How will He not also” which begins, “God and I, we’ve long had trust issues.” Can you relate? I sure could.
I recognize how much my happiness, from day to day, is compromised by my addiction to anxiety. There are lots of things I worry about – one or two things I obsessively worry about. Voskamp accurately characterizes worry as a “ruse of control,” but then follows with a one-liner that went straight to the core of my heart, “Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is.” Trust, she says, is work. “Intentional and focused. Sometimes, too often, I don’t want to muster the energy. Stress and anxiety seem easier. Easier to let a mind run wild with the worry than to exercise discipline, to reign her in, slip the blinders on and train her to walk steady in certain assurance, not spooked by the specters looming ahead. Are stress and worry evidences of a soul too lazy, too undisciplined, to keep gaze fixed on God?”
You know how when something is really right, it just slips into gear in your brain and you know that that message is exactly for you? That’s what those statements about worry were for me. I’ve been working on greater focus in my spiritual life for quite a while now. Have been trying to hold onto a stronger and surer sense of God’s love for me…and His desire to give me good gifts. I’ve spent a lot of years trying to stay hidden from God. Afraid that if He really noticed me, surely He would test me with circumstances too overwhelming for me to bear. That’s been a burden that has deeply compromised my relationship with Him. I’m getting healthier about that. Understanding and comprehending the events of my life that fed that fearful belief. And aware that deeper happiness comes – in the very current circumstances of my life…in my deepened ability to trust God. Trust that He is…that He genuinely and deeply knows and loves me…and that all is in His hands and thus, if it is, it’s right (I’m indebted to Catherine Thomas for that particular insight.)
God is a happy Being. I feel confident of that. And, loving His children, He desires us to be happy as well. Despite challenges in our circumstances, I believe that we can be happy. One way to get closer to it is to give up running in that (ridiculous, isn’t it?) “easier” course of worry and stress and disciplining ourselves, instead, to mindful, genuine prayer. “…trusting God is my most urgent need,” says Voskamp. I second that motion. “Thanks,” she says, “is what builds trust.” I believe that…and am in the process of trying that out…but that’s the subject of another post. Meantime, take a serious and honest look at that tendency to worry as a facade of keeping control and, honestly, an easier course for us, too often, than the sincere work of building trust. Happiness, I think, is around that corner.