“no habit is an accident” challenge: simply choose happiness – final recap

Last month’s #simplychoosehappiness challenge, proved to be another fruitful one.

Naturally, not at first. In fact, it was a pretty bumpy month for me; filled with the natural high’s & low’s. Instead of swiftly navigating the low’s that are bound to come with the high’s, they somewhat threw me.

That is, until I realized, I’d been looking at it all wrong…

The pursuit of happiness is an inaccurate statement.

Yet- the construction of happiness is another notion, entirely.

Pursuing happiness leaves us stressed, exhausted, disappointed, unfulfilled, and more bummed than when we started the quest.

Constructing happiness–daily, leaves us inspired, motivated, and hell-bent on maximizing, utilizing, and enjoying every moment – seeing things not as happenstance, or circumstantial contexts, but as opportunity.

Because ironically, there’s no limit to our happiness, there’s no “Ok, that’s it, you’ve had too much happy” moment.

And no, I’m not saying you need to go around with giant yellow smiley face stickers plastered all over your bumper, or be constantly jumping up and down with exuberant, belly-laughter.

What I am saying, is our potential for happiness exists right now. And now. And now.

Not at some final destination, not waiting to be uncovered by one successful, defining moment where we’ve finally made it in life.

“Happiness is the joy that you feel when striving towards your potential.” – Shawn Achor

What I learned, is choosing happiness every day entails a concentrated effort of:

-focusing on what brings me joy,

-wholeheartedly embracing it,

-doing more of it,

-sharing it,

-utilizing my character strengths daily,

-and finding a way to give more than to demand.

Giving is something I’m sure of {now more than ever} that I don’t do enough of.

It was also at the end of this month, with help from my Dad, that I finally came to terms with this:

I’d been entrusted with times of extreme unhappiness, not because God abandoned me, but because he’d gifted me with a chance at resilience. He’d given me the opportunity to find grit at {my} rock bottom. To come out stronger and better equipped for whatever else He has is in store.

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Even bigger still, is His call for my empathy–the ability to not only recognize it in others, but to help them. {Dawning moment}.

Like, Wow. I need to do something about this.

Unhappiness doesn’t always look the same either, but one thing’s for sure–there’s no shortage of suffering & need in this world.

I’m not even entirely sure what action I’m going to take first, but the ideas are brewing fastBecause {undoubtedly} there’s also a little bit of heaven to be found everywhere.

This past weekend gave me several examples of exactly that.


#1:

I spent the evening with a mix of friends, both new and old; grilling, drinking wine, playing cards by the fire, and then later–taking a late night boat ride around the Lynnhaven River.

I’ve never seen so many shooting stars in my life, let alone in one sitting. The water was smooth as glass, with nothing polluting the sky but a few exterior lights from the homes outlining the channel. The water reflected the sky; the sky the water.

We turned the boat off; floating in the middle of the bay, experiencing the silent magic of peace and stillness.

Once again, I came face to face with my smallness in the face of an expansive Universe and a God who calls each of those stars by name.

Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing. – Isaiah 46:20 

In days and nights like these, pressure dissipates, and I start to grasp how I have not just every opportunity, but a responsibility, to live happily and lovingly. To show compassion to myself first, with an unshakeable knowing that I am loved by a Savior.

To hate on myself, my qualms, and imperfections is to miss that I was stitched together with purpose, compassion, and unending grace; flaws and all. 

That’s who I am. And that’s who you are! It’s overwhelming to think about, isn’t it?

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#2

Then I heard an all-too-true sermon this past Sunday by Steve Kelly; cementing what it means to #simplychoosehappiness.

The pastor addressed how we’re constantly concealing our hurt, pain, and strife; from others and ourselves. We find ways to wreck our own happiness and settle with accepting a pattern of expectation & disappointment; promises made & promises broken.

It’s to the point that we don’t even believe or trust the good that does come our way. It’s not even failure we fear most, but success! For, what we work so hard to conceal, God wants to reveal.

That’s the freeing part.

It’s an open invitation to stop denying, stop deceiving, stop shaming and get good with the good that He is bringing into our lives.

Our boundaries (or limits on happiness) will get bigger when we learn to: act diligently in protecting our hearts and choosing to get good with the good.

“Above all else, guard your heart; for everything you do flows from it.”  Proverbs 4:23 

It’s not the circumstances of our job, location, family, parents, friends. Truly, none of that determines our success.

It’s living a life of fully expressed joy by honoring Him; whenever, whatever our work.

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“If we must live with uncertainty, we may as well pursue what we are deeply passionate about.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

Still not sure what you’re passionate about yet? 

Be impassioned with knowing & sharing this truth:

You & I are loved; infinitely, immeasurably.

#simplychoosehappiness in that.

K.V

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