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In the ridiculously wee hours of the morning , my son has the habit of coming over to my bedroom to slide into bed with us. He’ll usually fall back to sleep. Occasionally he’ll have a staring contest which ends up in me either jumping out of my skin or getting an eye poked out. Today, January 1, 2019 was no different. I heard the door the creak open and my little guy wandered in and hopped into bed. We slept for a little while longer. He wiggled around and makes himself more comfortable. It’s quiet. Then he uttered the word “happy.”

I looked at him and thought “oh no! he’s awake!” But then I realized he was sleeping when he said it. This warmed my heart and made me smile. It was probably residue from saying it so many times the night before. We rang in the new year with my church family and once the new year hit, all the children were running around telling everyone “Happy New Year!” and blowing their noisemakers, which, if you’re not careful can contribute to partial loss of hearing if you get one right up close. They were so happy.

And that’s the beauty of it. The residual happiness from the night before had spilled over into his dreams and he sleepily blurted it out this morning. As if it had been on the tip of his tongue. And I thought, this has to be my word for the year. Before you say it sounds cliche (which it does) understand it can’t just be a word. It has to be a way of life. This year I want to see the good and the grace in everything, so that the word “happy” sits on my mind and spontaneously comes out.

Also please understand that happiness is not an outcome of my current situation at any given time. It cannot be based on how great my day is going. It cannot rely on sunny weather or the drive-thru getting my order right. It cannot depend on whether my children being obedient and respectful, or my husband acting in a way that pleases me.
It is not only the euphoric tingle I get when I receive a clean bill of health or when I hear really great news. My happiness comes through the form of joy and knowing that no matter what the circumstance, I can choose to be happy in the midst of any situation. And my joy comes from knowing that Jesus died on the cross for me and his sacrifice lives on in my life.

So I can choose joy. I can choose to be happy. And this year, I hope YOU choose to be happy too. Life is not complete without hurt and pain and disappointment. Do not let those things decide the outcome of this new year. No, not today. Life’s too short. Choose joy…..choose happy.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4 (ESV)

I look forward to sharing with you soon!

-M

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