Afraid To Be Happy??

Is that a thing? Like a real fear? Turns out yes. It even has a name: Cherophobia

It’s a real fear, people.

If you’re a Christian, you’re more than likely aware that joy is a fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. But, joy and happiness are two different things. As a follower of Jesus, we can have joy even in the hard times because we (can/should) trust that Jesus is steadfast and never changes or leaves us. Joy in Jesus, regardless. But, happiness is a different animal. Happiness comes and goes based on our circumstances. We shouldn’t let people steal our joy, but they can definitely affect our happiness. The hurts and losses are hard and sad.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

The Bible also says to rejoice (be happy) with those who are happy and to mourn with those who mourn. This can lead to a quandary. We need to sympathize with those who are hurting, empathize is even better, but not let it affect our own happiness on our happy days.

Have you ever been so hurt or scared, that you’re afraid to be happy? I felt the Lord speaking that over me this morning. Letting others know you’re happy is not wrong, it’s not insensitive. It’s not rude or uncaring of their hurts. It’s the rainbow after your particular storm. And, I have dear friends who have been praying that for me.

The people who know you will be happy you are happy. The others will think life just comes easy for you. The thinkers and feelers struggle with even admitting happiness because we fear that we are not only “jinxing” ourselves, but that others will be jealous of our “perfect” life. It “must” be if she’s happy today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let your happy days be just those. Happy days.

Image result for afraid to be happy

Who over thinks being happy? It’s more common than you may think.

I’m sharing because I struggle with this too. I have “appeared” happy when I’m heartbroken. Appearances are just that. Appearances. But, when a true sense of happiness emerges to and from my heart, it’s like a warm gush. A gush I almost fear….because what’s gonna happen next? Something. It’s always something. Or is my happiness going to hurt someone else?

I’ve gone through a really rough patch in my life where I’m sure some people feared their happiness would hurt me. Consider the wonderful marriages when your friend’s is falling apart, or the pregnancy when your friend’s just came to an abrupt end or hasn’t happened at all yet, the Mother’s Day brunch when you friend is missing hers. The vacation you are about to take when your friend can’t. The relationship or engagement that you’re so thankful for, but your single friends are still waiting for that love… It can make you think and fear happiness. For other’s sakes. We may feel guilt over our own happiness.

With women’s ministry as my passion, I am confided in and trusted as a prayer warrior for many precious friends and women. I am aware of struggles and I pray for their hearts. My heart goes out for their sadness in the midst of my own. Can we still fight the fear to share our happiness when it shows it’s lovely face? Can we dare to allow the happiness that flows in to warm our hearts when they’ve been heavy with burdens?

I say yes. I say, being willing to share your hurts AND struggles AND your happiness gives people hope. Not being willing to share one or the other doesn’t ring genuine. We need both. We want our friends to have safe places, hearts, and friends to share hurts with (because we all have them), and then to see their happiness can literally bring tears to our faces and hope to our situations (because we all desire it). May we all DARE to let the happiness wash over us and not FEAR the outcome or fallout. It’s a gift that can and should be relished.

Happiness comes and goes, anyone who says they are happy all the time, I might give the side eye. That’s not possible in this life. But, to be real, admit hardships, and express happiness when it’s present is a blessing to yourself and to others.

I love to see my friends happy, so I trust they feel the same for me.

 

 

 

 

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That Doesn’t Feel Good!

heart

I look at hearts for a living. This morning as I was scanning a rather large patient, a parallel came to mind. The larger the patient, the harder I have to push with my probe to see what I need to see. I usually say “I know this doesn’t feel good, but I have to push pretty hard here. Just know, I’m only pushing as hard as I have to in order to get good pictures. I’m not trying to hurt you.” I say this quite a bit in my job. Some of my patients can’t take the pressure and I have to let the doctor know why the pictures look like they do.

Today, I thought isn’t that just like God? The bigger the problem, the harder He has to push to get His outcome. The pushing and pressing doesn’t feel good. He pushes and pries into our inner most beings to cleanse and transform us. This process doesn’t feel good at all. Matter of fact, it is downright painful, when He makes it crystal clear what the problem is. What our specific problem is.

Some of us ask Him to stop or do whatever we can to avoid the painful pressing. We’d rather have “bad” pictures or no pictures at all if it feels like that. The pushing and pressing is for our own good, just like my patients. If they don’t let me press, I can’t do the study. I can’t give the doctors the images they need to assess their hearts.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NLT)

When He presses, He’s pointing out and removing what needs to come out. When He releases, we have more room for Him. It hurts, but the filling is the change. We have to be pressed to be changed. So, squeeze Lord. Push. Press. Do whatever you need to do in me so I can have more of You. There is more room for the sweet fruits of the Spirit like joy, peace, patience, and self control after a good pressing. Make room, Lord. I want to look like You. I want to act like You. I want Your wisdom and Your courage. I want to love myself and others like You do.

If you’re in a situation right now where you are feeling pressed on all sides, remember that the bigger the person, the harder I have to press. The bigger the problem, the harder He presses. Cry out to Him in your discomfort and know that He is at work. It doesn’t feel good to be pressed, it’s not a massage. It’s a painful inner pressure when He is working inside you. He is pointing out your specific problem and it takes humility and willingness to allow that pain.

Your faith will be tested. You know that when this happens it will produce in you the strength to continue.  And you must allow this strength to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. James 1:3-5 9 (NIRV)

Braces hurt, but lead to straight teeth. Working out hurts, but leads to a better body. If you are willing to stick with Him through the pressing, you will come out the other side with immense relief and more prepared for the next press. You will have Jesus. All of Him. And He will have you, all of you. And, that’s the prettiest picture we could ask for.

Love Them Anyway

love

We are called to love others as God loves them…and that means to love them anyway. Because we are not perfect and will fail each other, we will need to choose to love anyway and in spite of. We are studying the various fruits of the spirit in our women’s Bible study and the lesson on love hit me hard. Not because I have a hard time loving necessarily, but because of how Beth Moore explains why we tend to withhold love or are afraid to in the first place. The reason is rejection and fear of further rejection.

When we offer love and it is not returned, it can be the most painful experience known to man. Jesus felt the pain of rejection personally. When we experience that pain, we subconsciously protect ourselves from ever feeling it again….because it hurts. This is why we withhold or withdraw love. What we fail to realize, is that God sees our attempts. He catches and rewards our attempts to love even when they are rejected, ignored, or go completely unnoticed by man. This frees us up to go ahead and love anyway…because He sees.

For singles, this doesn’t mean to fall in love with anyone and everyone. Guard your heart. Be prayerful about who you fall for and commit to. But, we can still show brotherly and sisterly love to all in the process. Show love to potential mates by respecting them enough to be honest, polite, and direct. Every ex doesn’t need to turn into an enemy, wish them well and keep moving. One of my best friends reminded me that the one God has for you won’t leave. I believe this to be true! If they leave, let them go gracefully and be thankful that you are one step closer to the one that won’t.

We are called to love our enemies. This feels completely unnatural, but it is for our own good. Loving our enemies removes the enemy title. It doesn’t mean we hang out with them on a regular basis, call them when we have a problem, or have play dates (unless we feel led to). It also doesn’t mean we continue to put ourselves in hostile or harmful situations. There are some people in our lives that we will need to ask for God’s guidance on how to love and do it from a distance. To love our enemies is to recognize that they are fellow humans that Jesus also died for.

Forgiveness will lead to another blessed fruit…..peace. Peace that passes all understanding is a fruit that we don’t want to miss out on! This allows us to move forward in our lives without the weight of pent up bitterness, anger, and resentment. Remember, if God sees our attempts to love, He also sees those who reject it. God is merciful and just and it is His job to judge. It is our job to love.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another – John 13:35

Some of us have an easy time saying “I love you”. Others, really struggle with saying it all. What it means, is I love you…anyway. I love you after all we’ve been through, what we will go through, regardless of what you do or don’t believe, in the midst of our failures and distances. It means as a brother or sister in Christ, I love you.

Forgiveness is the final act of love. Jesus forgave us all as He hung on the cross. He loved each one of us enough to die for us…..anyway and in spite of.