The last few months, I have needed to switch my focus. I was not happy with anything. I was grouchy and snapped at my kids a lot. I was fed up with everything around and completely overwhelmed with life. There wasn’t just one thing that overwhelmed me. I had just had enough.
I looked around and realized that I just didn’t know who I was to myself anymore.
One evening, after I was finished teaching my beautiful Chinese kids, I came upstairs where my entire family was sitting together watching a television show. All I felt was disappointment and frustration. Why? This should make me happy. They weren’t fighting or angry. They were content to watch the same show and not argue.
I was upset because just a couple hours prior to coming up the stairs, I had asked for one simple task to be completed before I got done teaching. It did not get done. There were five people sitting in my living room who could have done it very quickly, but not one of them thought it important enough to do so.
Y’all, I lost it. I raised my voice to stern instead of calm and proceeded to tell them how very upset I was that this had not been completed. I told them how busy I was and that I no longer have the time or energy to keep cleaning up after them. Guys, I don’t ask them to do that much around the house. In fact, if they did the one or two things I ask them to do each day, there would be no dirty house at all, and I would be a happy momma.
That’s when one of my children told me very matter-of-factly that what I did wasn’t really a job and didn’t matter that much. I was crushed. She saw me teaching as a hobby and running Titus II as just something to kill time. Heart broken.
I came unglued. I should have walked away to gather myself, but I had that moment where fire flowed in my veins and my mouth would not stay shut. That was not okay with me, and I let them all know how very important everything I did was to more than just our family. It wasn’t not my finest “Christian” moment.
I collected myself the next day and realized that happy no longer existed in my world. I couldn’t remember the last time I really smiled and meant it. When was the last time that I really truly felt happy? I had no idea, and that scared me.
I made a decision right then that I would change the way I lived. I needed to be happy for me and for them, but this was going to be something I did for me. My focus changed from all about my kids, husband, ministry, and others to more on me. I had not taken care of me.
How did I start to find happy again?
I realized that I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like the way I looked. I didn’t even have a full length mirror in my house. I didn’t feel good, ever. I began by changing the way I ate. I wanted to love food in a good way. I started to cook more at home and eat out less. I cooked whole and healthy meals; meals that everyone would like, but wouldn’t realize were really good for them. Now they all come to expect a healthy meal every evening. We do have one day a week that we do easy because we are just too busy to cook that night.
I then started to be more active. When I say active, I mean I actually started to move more. I work from home all day. My occupations (all of them) are centered around the computer. That is a lot of sitting, reading, staring, and listening to music. I also have no one here to hold me accountable, so I really had to rely on myself for this. I would make time to work out for at least 20 minutes a day, six days a week. Instead of sitting to teach or write, I would stand at the desk. I started to listen to upbeat music that I could move to. It made a huge difference in my energy level.
I started to find things to do that I loved doing. I sing more often just because. I have always been a singer, but I had no longer enjoyed being part of the worship team or even had a desire to sing. I needed to find that part of my happy again. I started to dance when I sang. Sometimes it was crazy funny, and other times it was emotional and raw. I even started to sing in the shower. Yes, singing in the shower makes me happy.
I started to schedule time in my life for me. What? Oh yes! I took an entire weekend and drove to see my best friend. We stayed in a hotel, got a tattoo, had a glass of wine at a beautiful Italian dinner, and we laughed. We laughed so much and so hard that I swear if I would have laughed any harder I would have peed my pants. I found time in my calendar to go on a writing retreat. Just me. No one to distract or deter me. I will get to write, sleep, eat, and write some more. It wasn’t easy to mark out time or coordinate schedules, but I did it and will continue to do it because I need it. This is my sanity and heart that needs to be fed with happy.
I changed a few other things to put happy back in my life, like getting my kids involved in cooking alongside me and playing games with the family or watching a movie together. I decided to not concentrate so hard on the floor that didn’t get swept today or the laundry that is spilling over the baskets. It will get done, but no one is happy when momma keeps on nagging. I will ask twice and then there will be consequences. Easy and simple as that. Peace of mind for momma, and the kids know better.
Friends, these changes weren’t all taken that well by the family, but I had to do it for me. And you know that saying, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” Yeah, nobody was happy in our house because I was always so upset and frustrated. Just because I made some changes doesn’t mean that everything runs smoothly or perfect. We still have plenty of arguing, fighting, and dirtiness, but there is more happy, and we are learning how to do this together.
What do you need to do to put happy back in your life? What are some small things you can change? Find your happy. Make whatever changes that are needed so that you can live a happy life.
Proverbs 15:13 says, “A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.” I want to have a happy face when people see me. I don’t want to crush the spirit of my children or myself. Happy will surround me so that I can help my home have happy again.
Lord, happy is how you want your children to live. We were never meant to be broken, sad, or depressed. We were meant to live with a heart full of joy and live life to the full. Happy helps with full. Lord, show us how to put happy back in our lives and live a life that is overflowing with joy. Amen.