Finding What I need
The little years. They can suck the life right out of a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I love the joy of baby coos and the babble of a toddler just as much as anyone. But the daily repetition of diapers, spills, whining, and laundry really gets to me sometimes. I’m five years in and while I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I grapple with how to enjoy my life now, rather than wishing it away.
During a conversation about this struggle, a mentor of mine challenged me with this question.
Think of yourself ten years from now: What would your future self tell you that you need in this season of your life?”
It baffled me at first. I sat with it for several days before the Spirit whispered: “You need permission to be happy.”
Permission to be Happy
The word permission caused me to cringe. What am I, 12? And happiness? That answer seemed so trivial, so shallow. The mantra of my adult life has been, “There is so much more to life than being happy.” Perhaps I react a bit strongly to disappointments in life. I’ve swung to the other side of the pendulum into the deep end of the pool.
As I thought about my need for happiness, I thought about how I live under a great amount of internal pressure to “get it right.” As a stay at home mom, with no one looking over my shoulder, there is no one to give me an answer. I end up living under my own strict rule of perfectionism which doesn’t give me a lot of room to mess up, rest or play.
God is showing me that even the pursuit of trying to “get it right” can miss the mark. He is showing me that He desires my happiness.
Where Happiness Lives
But I’m not done. Yet another false belief blocks my happiness. I believe the right set of circumstances will bring happiness. I look for happiness outside of me, rather than within. It lingers just on the other side of the next milestone: when we finally buy a house, or when the kids are just a little bit more independent. I used to think I would finally be happy when I got married, or had a child, or had a second child. Always elusive, happiness slips around the next thing and I refrain from enjoying happiness right where I am.
But what if happiness is closer than I think? This permission to be happy means that I can lighten up and choose happiness, right where I am. I don’t have to live under the tyrant rule of perfectionism. What if I can please God more when I am enjoying my life, enjoying my kids, enjoying the things He has given me?
Remembering My Name
Then I remembered my name: Delightful One. I met Pete Gall, author of Learning my Name* back in 2008 with a group of other young adults during a church service project. Pete described the story of how he traded in his false name for himself, Dumbass, a name that developed from his poor self-image in childhood, for a new name that God revealed, Sweetheart. This interaction with God began changing the way Pete saw himself, God, and the world. Pete encouraged us to ask God for the name he called us.
Several weeks later, as I pondered and prayed, I heard God give me the name Delightful One. He’s affirmed this name several times since then. Until now, I’ve understood it to mean that He delights in me. But now, He is revealing another implication of the name. I am made to delight. Delightful One: one in whom God delights and one who is made to delight. To my utter surprise, God calls me, not to get it right, but to delight, to enjoy, to <gasp!> be happy. Perhaps happiness was never meant to be found without, but uncovered within. I think this is what Christians like to call joy.
As I learn to walk in this permission to be happy I find that I can turn anything into an obligation or an expectation. Even happiness. Instead of trying to find something that I think will make me feel happy, I’m learning that it is more about releasing the pursuit and opening up to delight in what’s right in front of me. I need to slow down and redirect my focus from the tasks at hand to allow myself to delight in the moment. So I breathe deeply the scent of my pumpkin spice candle. I close my eyes and get lost in a good song. I sit back and simply observe the creativity and laughter of my children and let it warm my heart. There are hundreds of things in my life already in place that can bring me happiness, I simply need to let them in.
Announcing Happy Fridays
To celebrate and nurture happiness right here on the blog, I am happy to introduce, Happy Fridays. Every Friday I’ll share pictures, blog posts, clothing, products, hobbies, experiences, pretty much anything that currently delights me. At some point, I will add a link up, but until then I’d love to have you participate in the comments. The first post of Happy Friday starts this week! See you then!
*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase the product I will receive a small percentage of the profit.