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.

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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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…But I won’t do that.

There are many things I would compromise on, but feeling loved is not one of them. My experiences have brought me to the point and realization that words fall short. If I don’t feel loved by a person, their words are just that, words.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (NIV)

Looking back, It’s the same with my relationship with Jesus, it wasn’t until I felt His love for myself, that I could believe it. Once I believed it, I built my life around it. This is where transformation comes in. When His love washes over us and we realize He’s been waiting and pursuing us all along, our hearts are drawn to Him. It’s in these moments, that we worship in tears and awe, sometimes even speechless.

So, when it comes to my future husband, I will compromise. But, I will not settle. To settle would be to commit my life to a man that I’m not sure loves me. To quote Meat Loaf, “I would do anything for love…but I won’t do that.”

I questioned my ex-husband’s love for the 10 years we were together. I will not do that again. One thing I ask the Lord to provide most of all, is a deep sense of assurance. A love I can rest in. A love I can be myself with. A love I can be emotional with. A love I can be honest with. A love I don’t ever question. A love like His. Everything else comes and goes. If we find this kind of love on this earth, romantic or otherwise, cling to it and thank God for it. It’s a love from Him.

Passion, Calling, Gift, Career…

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My passion is learning and teaching healthy love, which flows from the love Jesus has for us. I believe wholeheartedly that this is my passion because I didn’t know healthy love before. I married unhealthy love because I was unhealthy. I didn’t know any better. Under nourished falls for over bearing and controlling. Makes sense now. This is my passion.

Now that I know better, because I know Jesus’s love better, my passion is to share with others. Others who may not know. Others who turn to unhealthy relationships, marriages, or vices to satisfy their God-given cravings. Others who don’t know their worth in His eyes, how to be treated respectfully, speak up when they need to, give God their pain, ask Him for help, or look to Jesus first. Because I didn’t. I know the loneliness and desperation this can lead to. So, I share. This is my calling.

I’ve always loved to write. I’m able to articulate my thoughts and feelings better this way than verbally. The words flow and come relatively quickly when a topic comes to mind. I thank God for that. Writing relieves me. When I write, I can actually feel sadness, confusion, and stress leave my body like a pressure valve inside me. I feel better. I feel lighter. Like I did what I needed to do. It energizes me and calms me. If it helps anyone else, bonus. I’ve been told that it has. This must be my gift.

I earn my living looking at hearts. I’ve done cardiovascular ultrasound for 16 years. Yes, sometimes it gets monotonous. But, I know it’s important. I know it helps others and serves a need. I don’t like missing field trips or summer breaks with my girls. It pangs me that I can’t pick them up from school or take them to dance class. I hate rushing them out the door on the mornings they don’t have to be at school. But, I provide for my girls and God knew that I’d need to. He led me to this career path. I have a job that needs filled. I have a job that helps others. And, I am thankful. I am thankful that I can provide for us and save for retirement in an air conditioned office with an ultrasound probe. This is my career.

While I get paid to look at hearts all day, my passion is ministering to them. I recognize how one supports me financially and the other supports me emotionally and spiritually. I had my career before I had my passion. Oh, how I would love for them to come together one day…

Nonetheless, I feel more fulfilled than ever knowing my passion, accepting my calling, and sharing my gift. If God opens the door for my passion to support me financially, I will enthusiastically jump aboard. But, in the meantime, I will continue to lean, learn, grow, and work. I will thank God for what He’s taught me, the courage He’s supplied to share, the format in which to do so, the hearts I’ve been able to touch, and the hearts I’ve been able to see.

Truth is, we may or may not be able to make our livings pursuing our passions. But, we can always take them with us. And, we should. Do you think plumbers, welders, septic tank workers, grave diggers, or proctologists were born with a passion to do what they do for a career? Possibly, but not likely. Thank God they do it. We need them! Make a living to support your family. Bring the joy of your passion with you. God will honor that. He will use you to bless others and touch hearts right where you are.

One day the door may open to earn your living with your passion, but if it doesn’t, remember that God placed you where you are and He put that passion within you for a purpose. Earn your living and share however you can. There are many jobs that need to be filled. Take your passion with you. We need you.

What More Can I Give?

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I was thinking today about how Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season, and so much more. God gave us the most lavish gift of sacrifice and salvation when He gave us His son. Jesus willingly became human in our broken world so that we could live with Him forever in His perfect one. He set the bar. Now, that’s a gift!! What more can I give?

When we buy for our loved ones, we try to think about what they would like personally. Some prefer experiences, others food, some sparkly things in little boxes, dolls that walk or talk, or trucks that dump and demolish. My girls asked for Legos and walkie-talkies this year. Bingo! Makes it easy to shop when there’s a list.

But, what can I give Jesus? Does He have a Christmas list? If so, what would be on it? Let’s not forget to give to the true Reason for the Season. I think near the top of Jesus’s Christmas list would be our TRUST, our TIME, and to TELL others about Him and what He’s done for us. Trust, time, tell. These are treasures in all of our relationships. It takes faith to trust, dedication to spend time, and courage to tell others. It’s no different in our personal relationship with Jesus. He doesn’t need us, He wants us. He chose us. He died for us. So, what more can I give?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

God’s gift of His Son was the greatest gift we have ever or will ever receive. The ultimate treasure. What are we holding on to? That is our treasure. What are we holding back? That is our treasure and that is what He wants. Our hearts are naturally stubborn and scared. But, God’s presence in our lives will transform our hearts. He loves us right where we are and too much to leave us there. His presence will prompt us to follow Him and fight our fears rather than succumb to them.

Trust. Time. Tell. Treasure……My heart. What more can I give you, Jesus? Thank You for the best gift ever. You.

Why Brokenness is a Gift

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I read somewhere “there are two types of people, the ones who know they are broken and the ones who don’t.” I firmly believe this. We are all broken. Some of us know it and willingly admit it. Some don’t know they are broken yet (like children), and some just plain refuse to admit it. Viewing ourselves and each other as broken people evens the playing field. This perspective leads to humility and grace. Admitting our brokenness and dependance on Him is when God’s strength and power as Healer and Provider can manifest it’s greatest significance in our lives.

Ultimately, whatever leads us to the foot of the cross in brokenness will be seen as a blessing in our lives. It may be parenting struggles, an illness, loss of a loved one, divorce, lack of a role model, people pleasing, a past regret, financial ruin, addiction. This is how all things work together for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28). This is how Jesus takes the most painful experiences the evil one throws our way and turns them around for His Glory. This is how people can be touched and loved on a whole new level by admitted brokenness.  This is how He makes beauty from ashes. We are all in this thing together.

To lay our egos and hurts down at His feet and accept God’s love into the cracks is to be beautifully broken. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, God does. Wounds left untreated may fester in time and repeat themselves generation after generation if not brought before the healing power of God. He heals, renews, and restores.

I love the lyrics of the following song and want to share…..”Keep Making Me” by Sidewalk Prophets

“Make me broken
So I can be healed
‘Cause I’m so calloused
And now I can’t feel
I want to run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken

Make me empty
So I can be filled
‘Cause I’m still holding
Onto my will
And I’m completed
When you are with me
Make me empty

[Chorus:]
‘Til You are my one desire
‘Til You are my one true love
‘Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me

Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
‘Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
‘Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely

[Chorus]

‘Til You are my one desire
‘Til You are my one true love
‘Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making,
I know You’ll keep making
Lord, please keep making me”