So did you take the ten-second challenge? Becoming more joyful is not as easy as it seems, is it? It’s like trying to improve your posture. You have to remember to think about it. And decide again and again if the effort is worth it. But who doesn’t want more joy in your life? Who doesn’t want to be a happier person?
We don’t realize that choice has so much to do with how we feel. We tend to believe that how we feel is out of our control, or controlled by what happens to us.
If that were true we would have no real freedom. Fortunately, it’s not.
Some happenings are bad and do demand a time of grief and thought, but many more times we just get caught up in fear or anxiety that is unnecessary. If you have no control and no responsibility, let it go. Don’t weigh yourself down with pain and problems that don’t belong to you.
As a therapist, I listen to people’s pain and problems all the time; it’s part of the job, but I listen to them for them. I don’t take it in. It isn’t mine. It doesn’t belong to me. If I take on their pain, I’m no good to them. My job is to walk through it with them, and help them experience it, see it clearly, and make choices about it.
Is it the end of the world? No, not even if it feels like it. Face it. Experience it. Get out of it by doing what you can, and go back to focusing on the good in your life.
The hardest things to do this with are death, divorce, and the pain of your children. That last one is maybe the hardest. But we must remember that pity is the nastiest thing we can do to another person. Children are hard-wired for struggle. It’s how they grow and develop character. We don’t want to take it away–just strengthen them to walk through it with the truth about themselves.
And the truth is always that God loves them and wants the very best for them. God is good and can be trusted, but has enemies who are very active here–that is where suffering comes from. And that is precisely why we don’t want to give it a lot of time. Do you want to walk with God or His enemies?
God is never surprised by pain or happenings. He always has a way out, you only have to ask Him to show it to you. Then trust that He will because you are His kid, and go back to making sure the good things in your life get at least ten seconds of notice. God wants you to thrive.