Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Happiness

Tonight I sit by the soccer field with my laptop, alone with my own thoughts for the first time in ages. No character voices chattering, no looming work deadlines, no other people's opinions or problems ringing in my head. It feels pretty good.

I’ve been ruminating about happiness lately, particularly as it relates to the writing life. I’ve come to the conclusion that happiness stems from knowing who you are. For me, it’s knowing that I am a child of God, redeemed by the blood of his son Jesus; a wife; a mom and a writer.

I don’t fulfill these roles perfectly, but I fulfill them anyway. My perfection comes from Christ, not Christine. His love and His blood cover all my flaws.

Being a writer is something I’ve struggled deeply with, as many of you know. Creativity is both a gift and  a curse; next to my faith it is my most defining trait. But even that has to be held loosely, like money, health and love. If I try too hard to fulfill it, it becomes a burden.

It’s been a burden for a long time, but not any more. I’ve been blessed to finally find a cure for the depression that’s plagued me for many years. Part of the cure is medication and part is just the raw courage of making some tough decisions about my life and whom I choose to be close to me.

Ultimately, though,  it all boils down to this one fact: God knows me. He created me, Christine, exactly the way he wanted me. My flaws are no surprise to Him. In his eyes, I am perfect. Not because I am perfect right now, but because He sees me as He designed me to be and as I will ultimately be when I am with Him in Heaven.

My desire to be more and better are put there by Him. My striving pleases Him. He rejoices with each step forward that I make. Striving to be more holy is not to be disdained as a “guilt trip.” It is to be celebrated, because it means I am continually learning to listen to and follow the inner voice of God.

Being creative is also to be celebrated. When I use the gifts God has given me, it’s an act of worship, even if I’m writing about gargoyles or elves. All that matters is that I allow Him to shine through my work if He chooses to.

That I am available.

Because in life that is the most that we can be: available to others, to the spirit of God, to our families, and to ourselves, and willing to follow through on whatever is honestly asked of us. The hard part is knowing which requests are genuine need and which are born of selfishness or deceit. But God helps us with that, too.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments, and I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” John 14: 15-17

For a very long time I didn’t understand the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life. Now I know that it is the Spirit who is with us and reveals all truth to us.

“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received …the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” 1 Cor. 2:11-12

I look forward to the fulfillment of this promise: 

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor. 2:9