Step Wisely

We have spent the last five weeks exploring what it means to be truly happy; to be deeply content and at peace. Most everything we have discussed has had nothing to do with circumstances, but instead has focused on our own hearts and the real issues that cut us to the core. We cannot separate authentic happiness from our hearts being set free by the Living God.

There are so many things that we could discuss this final week that fall under the “So You Want To Be Happy” umbrella. As I considered what would be most fitting to discuss today, I couldn’t help but consider how satisfying it is when I see my son starting to make wise choices based on what he is being taught at home.

If you have children, you most likely want your children to grow into wise adults. You take the job of “parent” seriously, and you want to teach your kids right from wrong, how to succeed, and many lessons that you have learned along the way. When you witness your kids choosing the right things you have taught them (speaking kindly, telling the truth, and choosing wisdom over foolishness for example), I am sure that you swell up with pride.

Our true, lasting, deep-seated happiness can only come when we are rooted in relationship with God. When we accept the love of God that has shown to us in Jesus, we are immediately accepted as His children, no matter what. Our good-standing with God is dependent only upon our faith in who He is and the work He has accomplished.

You love your kids no matter what. They could act out terribly on any given day, but they are still your kids. You desire for them to be healthy, and to become wise. God calls us His children, and He desires the same for us. He delights in us as His children. He actively teaches us right from wrong, and how to walk wisely. He desires for us to live healthy, wise lives.

In the book of 1 Kings we see God tell Solomon, David’s son,  and a man who loved the Lord, to ask what He should give to Solomon. I’d probably ask for some kind of super power like flying (I am not a huge fan of airplanes, and would rather just take myself places), or maybe even the ability to pause the world around me to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee when everything gets to crazy and out of control. But Solomon was different. Solomon asked for supernatural understanding and wisdom in order to govern God’s people well.

Whoa. Puts my petty requests to shame.

You and I have the amazing gift of being able to glean from Solomon’s God-given, supernatural wisdom. The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings primarily written by Solomon to his son(there are a few additional contributing authors as well). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Proverbs. I cannot tell you the amount of trouble that I have been safely steered away from as a direct result of studying the wisdom found in this treasure of a book.

Just today a situation came up that could have really blown up. I felt personally attacked, misunderstood, and I really (really) wanted to fight back. But after years of reading Proverbs regularly, I instantly thought, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city (Proverbs 16:32),” and then, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12). ” I talked myself down, and was able to step back to make the decision to forgive, give the benefit of the doubt, and stop conflict before it started (over something silly, might I add).

Our health as growing people depends upon our willingness to receive and embrace wisdom in all areas of our life. So today’s challenge to you is to take the next 31 days and read one chapter of Proverbs everyday. Proverbs is a very approachable book, whether you have studied a Bible for years, or whether you haven’t even purchased a Bible yet. As you read, underline portions that really speak to your areas of struggle, and when you encounter moments in your day-to-day living that irritate you or challenge you, recall what you’ve been reading and choose a different path.

Step wisely. Walk in the wisdom, and reap the fruit of peace that comes with knowing you are choosing healthy living according to the supernatural, God-given wisdom taught in His word.

I’m curious: have you ever acted foolishly? What did it cost you? Or have you ever chosen wisdom over your impulses? How did that turn out?

 

Run Hard. Love Strong.

~Haley~

The Connection Between Carpe Diem and Your Happiness

I turn thirty this yeaquotescover-JPG-36r. It’s not “old” by any means, but I’m still taken aback that “thirty” is upon me. It seemed so far away when I was in college, and yet here I am.

Three decades of living, and I can still smell the leaves on the tree that held up my tire swing. I remember the taste of watermelon by the pool, and the smell of Georgia summer nights, lit up by the twinkle of fireflies. Some days I feel like I’m fresh out of high school or college; I can remember those days so vividly that it seems impossible that 10 years have passed.

Alanis Morissette famously wrote the lyrics, “I have no concept of time other than it is flying.” I think of that line so often these days. Time is flying by, and there is nothing that I can do to slow it down. The best that I can do is to savor it all: the sweet, the bitter, and everything in between.

This series has been all about becoming healthier, happier people. One terrible habit that hinders our progress is wishing away our days. Are you as guilty of it as I am? When work is draining and unsatisfying, when the hours are long, when we are tired, when kids are screaming, the house is a mess, when you’re waiting on a promotion, or a big move, or something “bigger and better” it is too easy to fall into the trap of wishing away our days.

The really tragic thing is that if we don’t intentionally break the habit of wishing for what’s next at the expense of today, we will never really live fulfilling lives. Eventually the hourglass will run out, and we will be left grasping at the wind for the times we wish we could relive. We will have lived an entire beautiful lifetime, and we will have squandered it by wishing it away one day at a time.

In my last post I opened up to you about my past struggle with anxiety and panic. I look back on my journey of healing with joy, not because it was easy. It was brutal. I had to face my worst nightmares as though they were my reality, and I had to go into the darkness with the Lord for Him to lead me out to true freedom. But I walked away with the gift of a greater desire and stronger resolve to live today. I want to taste my coffee, and sing along to the music. I want to look my son in his beautiful blue eyes and to soak up each moment that I have with him. I want to tell my husband that in spite of everything we have been through, he is my hero.

To be sure, there is nothing like facing the reality of life’s frailty to appreciate that tomorrow is not guaranteed. It took me believing that my tomorrow’s were gone for me to stop wishing away my todays.

Dear friends, I urge you out of a deep desire for your health and vibrancy to take a deep breath and to find the beauty in your life today.

I realize that some of you are facing battles that I can’t even comprehend. You are in the thick of a war that seems impossible, and every part of you is screaming that you just want out; you just want the pain to be over. Oh, friend, I wish that I could look you in the eye and tell you face-to-face to hold on. I would tell you that you are not alone, and that one day the pain will be but a memory.

Soon after I had given my life to Jesus, one of my dear friends, and author of www.holymisfit.com, made me a CD that included a song by LaRue called “One White Tulip.” I still have the CD, and still cherish that particular song. I will let the lyrics speak for themselves:

I was just thinking
About how time flies
And that we’re all drifting
Like clouds in the sky
And you have always been there
And now we have all changed

And it’s been one Beautiful life

I was just wondering
On how to recall
The wonderful memories
And how they all fall into place,
Like the smile on your face
Like the kisses and the tears that we’ve shared

It’s been one beautiful life
And I know it’s tasted it’s trials
It’s been one beautiful life
And I know it’s tasted it’s trials

And it’s not over
It’s only begun

We’ve always been different
But never alone
Like one white tulip
That stands on it’s own
And you will always be here
And we will stay the same

It’s been one beautiful life
And I know it’s tasted it’s trials

Join me today in resolving to no longer wish away life this side of Heaven, hoping for whatever is next. Breathe deep. Feel the moments. Continue with me as we “do life” together, all the while seeking to grow into a vibrant group of people living life becoming who we were made to be. Living life beautifully.

Run Hard. Love Strong.

Haley