Better

Apparently, my previous posts have generated concern in those who know me in real life. First off, I want to apologize for that. I forget sometimes that people actually read this and they might actually take what I say at face value. Bad blogger.

Not to say that things haven’t been difficult and I haven’t felt overwhelmed. However, I am managing. I’m sure they aren’t as dire as I implied, but you know how it is when you’re in it. Things have also gotten somewhat better. Steve and Maggie’s shows are both over and my parents are back in town so I have a little more help. Strangely enough, though, what helped the most was something I heard on a comedy podcast.

I was listening to a new podcast, “You Made It Weird” by Pete Holmes and he was talking with TJ Miller (comic & actor). TJ’s an atheist, but the things he was saying were very in tune with what I believe as a Christian. He was talking about how instead of being annoyed or depressed about maybe not being/doing what would be the most awesome thing ever, realigning his thinking to be/do the best in what is actually happening. For instance, instead of being resentful that you’re, say, a janitor instead of a famous athlete, making a commitment to be the very best janitor you can be – realizing how that choice will impact others around you. He said that you may not think being a good janitor is a big deal, but if you’ve ever been in a bathroom where the janitor does a poor job and doesn’t care, you really notice and appreciate when a public bathroom has been cleaned with care. How it can make a difference in your mood, your day and how that can, in turn, affect the rest of your day. So if a person isn’t committed doing their job well – no matter how menial or trivial he/she thinks it is – the results can have a trickle-down effect that reaches much further than you thought.

This idea struck me as something I’ve certainly heard a number of times in church. Colossians 3:23-24 puts it plainly, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  Paul tells us to not focus on our bosses or any of that, but to do our work as if we’re doing it directly for God. Because we are. Because we have no idea how the little, seemingly pointless things we’re doing might affect someone else and somehow bless them or change their mood or simply make it possible for them to do the next step in a job God is doing.

I think this applies just as well for people who aren’t Christian. Maybe, instead of God, you focus on blessing your family selflessly so that they can go on to do what they do with the support they need. Maybe your spouse has had a horrible, soul-crushing day and just by coming home and finding dinner ready or a mess cleaned up or even just a drawer filled with clean underwear, they get a little refill on that energy bar. Maybe you’re that aforementioned janitor and by doing the best job you can cleaning that restroom, you’ve provided a less horrifying place for that breastfeeding mom whose boss doesn’t want her pumping in her office. Or for someone who just got horrible news and they need a private place to cry. Or any number of scenarios where the person walking through the door can breathe a sigh of relief instead of uttering a horrified, “Oh, sweet Lord….”

This silly little comedy podcast then moved me on to an idea that my husband has been trying to get me to understand for years now. The idea of simply choosing to be happy. Instead of choosing to focus on what’s wrong or what’s pissing me off or all the struggles I’m having, I can choose to just. Be. Happy. To turn that “what’s wrong” into a “what’s right”. To decide to find something praiseworthy or offer up a prayer rather than being pissed off. To count my blessings instead of my struggles. To choose. Not to pretend, but to find the positive in the midst of negative.

Does any of that make sense? I’m working on it and, so far, I’m doing okay. In fact, my birthday was on Saturday. I spent it at home with the 3 boys, doing nothing special. Most years, that would have utterly depressed me. Instead, I decided to enjoy the time with my boys, do some cleaning to bless myself (happier in a clean house, y’know) and just. Be. Happy.

Y’know what? It worked.

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