I wrote this originally back in 1990 for my previous ministry site. I was doing a lot of good writing back then on my beloved “Sony Watchman-type” screen on my Mac. I now write on a laptop PC these days. Marriage brings about such changes in your life.
From reading so much Dr. Brene’ Brown I’ve learned that joy is the most vulnerable and brave emotion there is. You have put yourself out there to experience joy. You need to believe that you are worthy enough to deserve joy. You need to live bravely believing that you can have joy. Which is why this old find from 1990 is so interesting. This is pre-marriage to my great guy. This is before I met my boys who would become these God-given sons (who were also pre-marriage). This is before my story became the story it is now.
“I am happy. I am at a point in my life where I can truly say that I am happy.
“How often are we able to say that and really mean it? There is almost a fear in saying it. The fear is that somehow because life sucks and I am happy now, I had better brace myself for the next tragedy. This happiness can’t last for long. Life is about to throw me another bad pass.
“What a warped view of life that is yet a lot of Christians live with such thinking. Why can’t Christians be happy and feel guilt-free about it? Yes, we’re happy when we are first saved but then we realize there are trials and tribulations in life again. So we decide to hang in there because we are Christians and we will overcome no matter what. Yet joy doesn’t seem to factor in with that thinking.
“Of course there is the other side. There always seems to be extremes in Christianity. There are those who would never claim to be unhappy because that would be a lack of faith. No matter how much life sucks, they claim they are happy–but through that they will never experience true happiness. (Did you know it’s okay to be unhappy occasionally? It keeps our feet on the ground. It’s a reality check. It reminds us to be humble.)
“True happiness can only be experienced by those of us who have experienced sadness. Not a faux sadness either. How can you be happy if you don’t know sadness? David knew sadness, ‘Crying may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’ Psalm 30:5. I am happy and more than that I can say ‘this is my happiness.’ I can say this because I’ve wrestled with God and have come out the other side. I’m not just claiming this by faith. I didn’t just take the stuff that life throws at me. I wrestled with it. I wrestled with it until I found God in it and found out I was wrestling Him. That is why I can say ‘this is my happiness.’
“This is not at all unlike a Superbowl win. In the stands you’ve got the fan celebrating and yelling ‘We won! We won!’ Then you’ve got the player in the locker room. The player who is covered with sweat and dirt and who’s body aches. He is also saying ‘We won! We won!’ But the player can truly own the victory because his bruised body paid the price. When life threw me bad passes, I didn’t become a spectator in the game of life. The victory would still be mine to have but it wouldn’t really ‘be mine.’ I became a player and got dirty and bruised and played hard for that victory. And I’ll never be the same because of it. It’s like Jacob after he wrestled with God. He hung in there until the end and came away with a permanent limp because of it. Every time he limped he knew that he truly had received the blessing. He always had it (even though it was ill-gotten) but now he knew.
“I am a player and this happiness is mine. Not a faux happiness as a result of my faith and not a happiness I am to feel guilty about. I played hard and for the time have come out a winner. I’ll have to play hard again someday but for now I will cherish my time in the winner’s circle. I will cherish this happiness. I will remember this happiness so when life does that bad thing again, I’ll battle it out again. I don’t think Michael Jordan thinks winning the first championship is any better than winning his fourth. Each one was hard fought for. Each one cost him something that he had to battle through to come out a winner. Jackee Joyner-Kearsee won the bronze in the Olympics in Atlanta. She said this bronze medal meant more to her than all the gold medals because of the battle she had to go through to win it. That is why this metal means more. I understand that. I don’t believe you can have such happiness without going through the battle.
“I realize I am sounding very C.S. Lewisesqe but there is so much truth here that is being revealed.”
I remember even now writing this and writing down that opening title, “This is My Happiness” and feeling brave. And alive. And happy.
And I’m so glad that I can declare 25 years later that “This is My Happiness.” Sheesh, my life sure has changed. Never thought I would become a grandma and have so much joy in that. (Perfect excuse to include this wonderful picture).
And that is just one of the zillions of changes. I feel the vulnerability of these life choices and still declare “This is My Happiness.”