One of the many ways God has been at work in my life over the past 1 ½ years is that my family has broadened. There are new relationships that my children and I are now included in. They have been transformational and life-giving to us!
A very amazing part of it is that I have had the opportunity to have new people to love!
Loving Tom, Allison, and Caroline and being loved by them has changed me!
Therefore, I was excited to be included in Caroline’s preparations for her junior year.
I had my speech all planned out!
Because I love her I wanted her to have her best junior year of college ever and I felt like I had some “wisdom” to share. Little did I know that the wisdom would be given to me.
I was just getting to know her last year so I wasn’t exactly privy to her innermost thoughts . . . but over the course of the year I watched her handle a myriad of adversities. Each time, regardless of the difficulty of the struggle, one thing I was struck by is that she always handled each one with grace. That doesn’t/didn’t mean they were easy to navigate but what it does mean is that she embraced each of them as opportunities for growth and development. So much so that the night before she left for her junior year she expressed nothing but excitement. She went on to explain how each adversity had shaped her and how now, she has really beautiful things in her life because of them. She allowed them to shape and transform her. Now, instead of being negatively impacted, she sees her hurdles as catalysts for positive change.
And she’s 20.
Do we do the same thing? Do we let negative things in our lives shape and change us in positive ways? Do we allow them to exist and still claim our happiness? Sometimes when I face hurdles, I like to feel sorry for myself. I weep a little . . . (not really, but I am prone to tears). I think I can’t “handle it” and for a little while I let myself be overwhelmed. Then I’m reminded to “suck it up” and instead embrace each adversity and challenge as an opportunity. I’m reminded to be happy!
We can control more of our happiness than we think we can. That’s one of the conclusions by Dr. Laurie Santos, a professor of psychology at Yale University where, among other things, she teaches the school’s most popular class ever,“Psychology and the Good Life.” This course explores what science tells us about the things that truly make us happy — and how we might find more happiness in our own lives.
It’s different than what we think it is.
And – although Santos doesn’t draw the correlations, we can!
So much of what she teaches is in direct line with being a people of faith. Join me over the next four weeks as we explore pathways to happiness aligned with our faith!
The first one is we control more of our happiness than we think. I’ve watched and am watching Caroline learn to do it. I’m learning to do it. And I hope you’ll join me.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.