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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Deep Grief

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While I can’t personally speak of the grief associated with physically losing a child, parent, sibling or best friend yet, I can speak to the grief of divorce. As both a child of it and one of my own, I can relate to that pain. Both divorces I didn’t want. Both divorces left me at the mercy of other people’s choices.

Some wonder why I grieved like I did through my own because of the way he treated me, but I still did. I grieved the loss of a dream, the loss of my will, the loss of the life I thought we would live, the loss of a man I loved whether I should have or not. I still did. I grieved the loss of his family whom I had grown to love. I grieved for my girls, I already knew the life long struggles they would encounter because of it. The loss of my marriage hit me deeper because I was determined to stay married through anything. I was willing to fight for it, and he left….without a struggle or a tear. It was devastating to my self worth, tender heart, and desire to honor my commitment of marriage.

It’s been four years since my divorce and I thought I would share how I felt and some of the things that I did during my deep grief. There seems to be a lot of grief around me right now. Three deaths and a funeral this past week and my heart is heavy with loss. No one escapes grief. It comes in many forms. The emotional or physical loss of someone you love, a dream you had, or a change that alters what you had originally hoped for will need to be grieved. If this helps one person to know they aren’t alone or strange in how they feel or deal with grief, it will be worth it.

My physical grief was such that I lost 20 pounds that first year. I had no appetite and excessive thirst. I couldn’t get enough water and didn’t want any food. Nothing sounded good. I ate to live for the first time in my life. Normally, I love to eat and look forward to my next meal. The food I did eat wouldn’t stay long. I was physically ill from my emotional pain. I could feel it. I had physical pain in my chest and queasiness in my stomach. I still get the same way when sad, nervous, or going through a rough time.

I never missed a day of work. Work gave me purpose and routine was helpful during that time. My boss made it clear that if I needed to stay home for emotional reasons, they would understand. If I had skipped and stayed home, I felt like my sadness would have been worse. Alone, in the house we shared, alone or with the kids, didn’t help. I went to work every day and poured through the Bible between patients. I clung to Bible verses and sought God like I never had. I read and read and read. I would shut my office door sometimes and cry. When time to reset passwords would come, I would use words like “surrender”, “godisfirst”, “remember”, “remain”, and “godislove”. If I had to type a phrase over and over again, it might as well be some of these. I needed the constant reminders. I still do this.

I started to walk every day on my lunch break. I already had anxious thoughts constantly racing through my mind, at least my feet could try to keep up with them rather than sitting still with my heart pounding. I felt like my heart raced whether I was moving or sitting still. Walking and fresh air helped. I still look forward to my lunch time walks. Sometimes I pray silently or out loud while I walk, sometimes I fill my headphones with music. Depends on my mood. It helped and still does.

I prayed on my face first thing every morning on my bathroom rug. I cried more tears than I knew possible. I dry-heaved. I questioned. I surrendered. And, I ultimately, accepted. None of that makes what I deal with today easy. But, what I learned to do while grieving does still help me today. It also gives me HUGE compassion for others who have felt similar pain.

I plugged into a women’s Bible study small group, leaned on them, and gained prayer warriors. I started to write and summoned the courage to share. I decided to write about the love I craved in hopes it would touch others like it touched me. Writing about His love helps me. The love that never walks out, demeans, betrays, or rejects. The love that never fails. I knew I needed it desperately, and still do.

Grief doesn’t end, it changes. I still deal with issues because of the divorce. I’m aware that I always will. I’m also certain I will encounter more grief as this life continues. My prayer is that what I’ve learned will help me through those times. And, that I can support others through theirs.

May His Love surround us.

Go Where the Love is….

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Go where the love is. Go where it flows freely, not where you have to wish and wait for it to appear or feel like you have to milk it to get it. We wake up hungry for love and go to bed just as hungry. God designed us this way. If we have people in our lives that fill our cups, we are so blessed! There are days when, no matter what or who attempts to love us, it’s still not enough…..This is exactly why God created us this way. Only He can refuel us when the loneliness and sadness kicks in. We may try to compensate with sex, drugs, alcohol, people pleasing, and staying “busy” but, ultimately, the sadness and loneliness will kick back in. We are humans, we are flawed, He LOVES us anyways. Hold on to that for dear life. Thank GOD we don’t have to be perfect for Him to love, forgive, and accept us. His grace covers us.