Finding happiness 

Happiness is a feeling; a deep emotion that comes hard for those with anxiety, those with depression, those who can’t say no to people, those who are stressed for whatever reason…happiness can be tough for a million different reasons. But when you find it, it’s an amazing feeling. 
The definition of Happiness reads as follows: 

1.the quality or state of being happy.

2.good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

So if you’re one that’s struggling with finding joy in your life, I’m sure you’re wondering how to find that happiness again. As a person that struggled with all the above reasons (and still does struggle with some), I’m here to share how I found that happiness in my life again. 

1.prayer 

I pray daily for God to help me in all aspects of my life. One of my specific prayers was help with the anxiety, the depression, and lack of joy in my life. We all know prayer doesn’t bring instant results but prayer still works. Here I am today happy as can be. 

2.grace

Without grace, we are nothing. Without God, we are nothing. Combine God and His grace, we have everything, including happiness. 

3.prayer warriors 

When you ask for special prayer, be picky about who you ask. You want people to pray with you that believe in the same things you believe. You wouldn’t want a stranger’s help with praying that God heals you of a certain disease. Of course you’d rather have someone close to you, someone that knows you. For me, this meant my mom and those she entrusted to join her in these prayers. 

4.my husband 

If you don’t have your husband’s support, finding contentment in your life will be so much more difficult. I thank God that he gave me Luke. I never would’ve gotten through the rough patch I was in without him. Between his personality and God’s work through him, I knew (and always will know) that I’m in great hands. 

5.willpower

You can’t experience happiness unless you truly want it. You have to maintain the willpower and motivation. It’s like starting a healthy lifestyle; it’s pointless if you’re aren’t 150% committed to getting healthy and fit because you’ll eventually slide off the wagon. If you aren’t fully committed to finding your joy, it’s going to make the journey that much more difficult. 

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭”Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Proverbs 10:28 “The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Hopy Spirit.”


5 things that make me happy

Everyone experiences happiness in different ways. It does not matter what makes you happy; what matters is being happy. In John 16:24, Jesus says “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” God wants us to be truly happy. If you don’t have happiness in your life, dig deep. Dig deep and figure out what would make you happy. I am not referring to material things. If buying something new is what you think will bring true happiness, you did not dig deep enough. Determine these things and ask God for His guidance.

Here are 5 things that make me truly happy:

1.Grace: This one is the most important for me. It took me awhile to find God’s grace and be willing to receive it. Afterwards, my life was changed forever. Yes I still struggle and yes there are those difficult days but without grace, I’d never make it through. Grace brings happiness no matter what is going on in my life.

2.My husband: I’m sure it sounds cliché to some of you, but I really have no idea where I would be without my husband. I surely do not have any desire to find out. He has helped me in ways I never thought were possible and loved me like I never thought someone would.

3.Being a wife: I’m not going to lie. Being a wife isn’t all unicorns and rainbows (no marriage is). But that still does not mean it can’t bring me happiness. There are things I prefer not to do that people associate with married life like fold and put away laundry or cook every single night (thank goodness I’m not stuck in these things and hubby helps me ALOT), but this is not being a wife. To me, some of what being a wife means is being supportive. It means being patient and full of love. It’s dating my husband and continuing to help build our relationship.

4.Family: Although my family is spread out among various places, larger, some are furry and I am now married, it does not mean anyone becomes less important. In fact, I find family to be extremely important in a person’s happiness. Yes we still fight and have times we don’t get along or want to talk to each other but that doesn’t mean we love each other less.

5.Blessings: Every single thing I have is a blessing from God. From my job, my family, our cars, our house, our good health…all of it is because of Him. I thank Him every day for all of my blessings and thank Him for the ones He plans to give me in the future.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
-Frederick Keonig

Tragedy in the midst of life

Memories and experiences never fade, whether they’re good or bad. You may suppress them if they’re negative but nonetheless, they are still there. 

Recently, a close friends’ grandmother passed away unexpectedly. Although the circumstances were completely different, it brought back the latest memories before and when my great-grandmother passed. Naturally my husband and I wanted to pay our respects so we went to the visitation. Admittedly, I was extremely nervous and awaiting for panic and anxiety to set in because I was not prepared for what was to come. Was it going to be an open casket? How upset were my friends going to be? What about their kids? As we waited in the line right outside the room at the funeral home, I asked Luke where our friends were in the lineup and when he said right by the casket my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. When he told me it was an open casket, he immediately tried calming me since I wear my emotions on my face and just kept reassuring me I’d be fine and not to look. 

Walking by the line of close family members near the casket without looking is harder than it sounds. I turned my head the other way until I got to her husband and provided my condolences. While I maintained my composure, we truly did not stay long. We paid our respects, talked to some of the family and our friends, and left. We didn’t leave early to be rude or because we didn’t want to socialize. We left because that was best for both of us. You see, my husband and I do not deal with funerals very well, especially me. It brings anxiety, panic attacks, memories, and traumatic experiences from the past. 

I say this to tell you it’s okay to not stay for the entire visitation. It’s okay to say no you can’t attend the funeral for personal reasons (although I would if I wasn’t working). It’s okay to tell people no and you don’t owe them a reason for saying no. I’m not great at this by any means. But I’m slowly progressing. 

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:10‬ ‭”And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

This is a very raw, personal post for me. These five things may be no big deal to some, for others it could be eye-opening. Nonetheless, I wanted to tell you more about me.

1.This isn’t my first go around with anxiety.

I mentioned this briefly in another post but I want to get down to the nitty-gritty. Notice I didn’t say that I suffer from anxiety. I don’t consider myself as suffering. In fact, anxiety can be hidden in many ways. I don’t have panic attacks like I have in the past. I have figured out my triggers so I can control my anxiety instead of the other way around. This is one of the most important things for me. Years ago when I first went through a battle of anxiety, it took over. It truly was a battle and anxiety was winning. There were many reasons for my anxiety then but because of it I came to know God. I thank Him everyday for his timing and grace because without either of those I would not have gotten through it before nor would I have been able to ween myself off of my medication against my doctor’s orders.

2.I am an emotional eater. 

Honestly, the only time I’m not stuffing my face is when I’m happy and hubby is around. I was getting better with my eating and lost weight but of course life happens and I let it get the best of me. I started grieving and anxiety kicked back in. I was and sometimes still feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster. It feels uncontrollable even though I know it’s just a mind game. What makes it even worse is how I feel after eating a ton of junk I know I don’t need or even want.

3.I’m self-conscious. 

This is a big one for me because I used to never judge myself. I was happy being me whether I just ate fifteen Oreos or not. Now, that’s definitely not the case. Getting in a bathing suit makes me cringe. Shopping makes me want to cry and if you’re a female you understand why. I hate looking at myself in the mirror and I refuse to get on the scale. I can’t be that person that blames society completely; society does not force me to be self-conscious. However, society doesn’t help with all the “this is what you should look like and dress like” things they throw out into the media. Manufacturers surely don’t help either when you’re in between a size 6 and a size 12 because of all the different measurements of your body. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the numbers make me self-conscious. That’s why I also blame it on myself. I got myself here thanks to number 2 on this list. But I also know I can get myself away from this.

4.I’m extremely forgetful.

I literally forget everything. Thank God for giving someone the idea of inventing sticky notes and planners. Although lately, those aren’t even helping. Doctor appointments? Thank goodness for those phone call reminders. What I told someone yesterday or 10 minutes ago? Couldn’t tell you. Where I put my registration card? Don’t remember that either. I’ve even forgotten my pin number to my debit card. I was at the gas pump and it asked for my number so I typed it in (or thought I did) and well the rest is history. I can’t even tell you how long it took me to finally remember what it was but it just came to me while I was checking out at the grocery store one day.

5.I’m scared of the dark and even more terrified of storms. 

I am 27 and afraid of the dark. I won’t even go outside in the dark alone. If I have to come home in the dark, I’m absolutely petrified and my anxiety is at an all time high. Add in a storm at night and you can catch me snuggled up to my husband watching the radar until it passes and constantly asking how much longer or how severe it is. Last year while I was at work (I am a teacher), there was a tornado watch. No big deal but since I’m in one of the classrooms at the end of the hall it’s my job to help keep an eye out. That tornado watch turned into warnings all around our area so naturally my coworkers and I had our phones with us when it was time for lunch. All of a sudden we were in that tornado warning and shoving students into safe rooms. Once they were all tuckered down, of course the adults were keeping watch and trying to keep the students calm. I was in such a panic that when a coworker came to the door and looked at me she said I needed to get out and go sit down. THAT was the worst panic attack I’ve ever had. Luckily nothing touched down around us but I can say it scarred me for life. I also thank God that nothing did happen that day.

There you have it. 5 things people typically don’t know about me and wouldn’t know if it weren’t for this post. After all, these definitely are not things you’d bring up in conversation.

 

 

 

Confessions of an anxious Christian

As Christians, sometimes the world expects us to be perfect human beings. I am here to tell you, that’s not the case. No one is perfect, but as Christians we strive to be. We want to please Jesus in every way possible. There are trials and temptations thrown our way no matter how hard we pray. That just means you pray harder, you work harder and you love harder. My trial is anxiety and I KNOW this is something I can overcome but only with the help of God. I’ve done it once; it will happen again. Until that day comes there are things I, as a Christian, go through that people may not understand or even know about. These confessions are what I struggle with, whether it’s spiritually, emotionally, relationally, or mentally.

Confession #1: I’m hard on myself.

As I said earlier, we all strive to be perfect in the eyes of God. Life happens. We slip up in some way. Then we beat ourselves up about it. For me, it’s like a continuous beating  emotionally. I keep apologizing, promising God and myself to be better. Acts 3:19 states “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Deep down, I know this verse to be true but the anxiety inside me continues to scream apologies and promises.

Confession #2: It’s hard for me to say no. 

Even when there are times I want to and need to (no matter what the circumstances), telling people no makes me feel horrible. It feels as if I am letting everyone down regardless of the circumstances. My husband even says “Just tell them no,” which sounds so simple but for me a million questions come to mind. What if they get mad at me? What if they stop talking to me? What if they think I’m a bad person? What if they think “saying no” isn’t something a Christian should do? Aren’t I supposed to be loving everyone the way Jesus does? Would Jesus had said no?

Confession #3: I’m a massive over thinker.

If you haven’t figured that out by now, I over think things. When I say overthink I mean I completely analyze every single situation. What could happen, what will happen (as if I can predict the future or actions of other people), what would happen to me…those are all questions that run through my mind for every scenario. As a Christian, that’s not my job. I shouldn’t be analyzing all the scenarios thrown my way. My job is to give it to God, but if I’m honest it’s not always that easy.

Confession #4: I take things personally.

It’s become hard for me to tell if someone is joking when they make a comment or if they are serious. This is hard for people with anxiety, especially me. No matter what the comment is, you don’t want to make it more awkward and say “Wait, are you kidding around or are we being serious here?” In person, I take comments, conversations, and situations in stride. Once I’m alone where my brain starts running 300 mph or I get home to my husband, it all comes out. I’m either stressing about it in my head, trying to figure things out or blabbing to my husband about it. After all, he is the reason I have learned I take things too personally. Again, just because you know that about yourself, doesn’t make changing it easy. It’s a process, just like controlling anxiety itself or should I say not letting anxiety control you.

Confession #5: I want to be left alone.

Let me explain this one clearly. I don’t mean everyone drives me insane and I want to be stuck in a room 24/7 by myself (although I do have those days). By this confession, I mean there are times my anxiety is so high I feel like I can’t function. I not only want to be alone so I can process my thoughts and get myself together, but sometimes I need that. One thing I have learned is that it’s okay to want and need time to yourself-time to think, time to rest, time to heal, time to handle the anxiety. For me, this can be as simple as a shower, a nap, reading a book for a bit, or just laying down. I think this is a difficult one for people who have never experienced anxiety to understand. As I still work through handling my anxiety, I try harder to make it known why I’m so tired or so stressed or why I have that look my husband says I have on my face when something is wrong.

Anxiety is not an easy fix. Being a Christian with anxiety definitely does not make it easier. But I know God is gracious and I can rely on Him.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” -Psalm 55:22

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” -Hebrews 4:16