I never really knew how bad I was at being positive until this week.
I mean WHAT A WEEK. It has been up and down and up again and right back down. And I should buy a hat and embroider “Negative Nelly” right on the front of it because I haven’t done much but complain. About everything. To everyone. Work hasn’t been great, I’ve been up to my eyeballs with stress, I’ve had maybe 20 hours of sleep all week, and I just have not been my usual happy self. I haven’t really enjoyed life a whole lot.
And all week, I’ve had people, so many wonderful people, encouraging me to find the positive, look up, and remember that “this too shall pass.” I didn’t want to listen to any of them and their positive attitudes actually made me mad because I really just wanted someone to feel bad for me! I threw the biggest pity party and no one showed up! I mean seriously, hundreds of invitations and not a single guest.
I have cried over every single thing that has gone wrong and I haven’t even taken a second to thank God for all the millions of things that have gone right.
And then I met a lady while I was out covering a story on Friday. It was a small community story that should’ve been quick and really didn’t have any emotional ties.
But it was just like God spoke right through her. Out of nowhere, she said, “Life is full of so many blessings. We always have to find the positives. I’ve buried two husbands and a son, but I try to find even one thing good every day even in a sea of bad things because there’s just always a sunny side. Keep the sunny side up. You’re young and beautiful, so smile and always remember to count your blessings.”
It’s like she knew what a bad week I was having and that I needed someone who was totally removed from the situation (my life) to remind me that my life was indeed so beautiful.
So, of course, I ended up crying at a city clean up event.
I had just had a not-so-great week at work and my personal life felt like a train wreck. I was finally doing the job I’ve always wanted to do and loving it when my bosses asked me to help out with my old job while they hired a new person. There is no part of me that wants to do that. So I immediately slipped into a “woe is me” attitude and never once thanked God that I even have a job at all. I just felt like I had worked hard and earned the spot I was in and it was being taken away from me because of someone else’s mistakes, and I mean I just pouted and chanted “life’s not fair” for days when in reality, everything really does happen for a reason and I have got to be positive about where I am and what I’m doing, even when it isn’t easy.
At the end of the week, I went into an even busier weekend, going to a concert in Birmingham, a trip to Franklin, TN for my best friend’s birthday, and running my first half marathon, still on very little sleep. I tried to remember how blessed I was to get to do all those amazing, fun things, but I still found time to complain about how tired I was. But my positive attitude did start to peak through on Saturday when I had an amazing, stress-free day with some of my best friends. I was starting to see the beauty in life again.
And then Sunday came. I woke up extra early to prepare for the race, and what do you know, my eyes were swollen shut, red, puffy.. the whole nine yards. I had had an allergic reaction to my eye shadow the week before, and when I saw everyone looking so pretty on Saturday, I decided to wear a different eyeshadow with the same brush, and boom – the reaction was back and better than ever.
My positive attitude pushed through and I put some medicine on my eyes, said a prayer, and pushed through. I finished my first half marathon in under two-and-a-half hours with some of my best friends while my family, friends, and boyfriend were waiting at the finish line to cheer me on. It was one of the best moments of my life and all the other low points from the week before seemed miniscule. My soul was happy. I ended the day at church hearing a message about God controlling your life and how much worse it is when we control it – Bingo! That had been my problem. I wasn’t giving Him the reigns, I was only letting Him have one. And that makes for a pretty bumpy ride.
And when I woke up Monday, my allergic reaction was worse and my eyes were swollen shut. I’ve had to miss two days of work and go to the doctor multiple times. I’ve been in terrible pain and I look like an absolute monster. It has been zero fun to be me the past few days, and, you guessed it, I’ve complained the whole time. I’ve gotten mad at people for telling me it will be ok, because, “HELLO I have swollen, red, yucky eyes! It’s not ok!” On top of that, I was dreading go back to work to do a job I didn’t want to do.
When I reached out to one of my best friends who really gets me, she said, “Well first you have to pray.”
I had not prayed. I had been trudging through this depression and anxiety and terrible attitude without reaching out to the only One who can ever fix it. And He will fix it.
He reminded me quickly of how great my life still is, even with some rough patches.
The problem is, I have this idea that life is supposed to be perfect, and when it is, I can be happy, and when it’s not, I have to be upset. I am allowing myself to react to my circumstances, and that is called “happiness,” when what I’m seeking is “joy.” Joy is an internal state that only God can give you. Joy is there even when the world around you is falling down. Happiness comes and goes, but joy is constant.
Lately my life has been feeling pretty perfect, and I have felt on top of the world. So, the moment it became real and less than perfect, I lost it. I lost my happiness and joy wasn’t there because I wasn’t focusing on the Joy-giver.
God does not promise a perfect life. In fact, He lets us know that life will be hard, but He also lets us know that the outcome, the end reward, is far greater than anything we can ever imagine.
These days are fading quickly, but His promise and His eternity are coming to life day by day.
If I continue to be heartbroken when things don’t go right, I’ll never be truly joyful.
I am a perfectionist with 1,000 checklists going at all times, but I can’t let my life be a checklist. Jesus is too big to fit on a checklist (another blog in the works) and He doesn’t want to just be checked off. He wants to take my list on His shoulders and handle it all, but I have to give it to Him first.
My life will never be perfect and will never look how I want it to look. There will be days I’m exhausted, there will be days my job is trying to steal my joy, there will be people who test my patience, there will be “stupid luck” things that happen that put a hitch in my plans, and there will be moments when I’m not sure if I can make it one more second, but at the end of the day, my life is a gift and it’s a pretty awesome one.
He didn’t have to give me this life and didn’t have to make sure I’ll have life after this one, but He did, and man am I thankful.
So, rather than walking around with my pity party hat on waiting for someone to show up to my party, I have to smile and laugh and take it all for what it’s worth and breathe in all the beauty around me. Because no matter what, good or bad, this too shall pass. And I want to make sure I’m soaking in the moments that I want to remember forever while I let God take away the ones I don’t.
From now on, when people try to lift me up and tell me to count my blessings, I think I might do just that and count them right then and there. After all, it’s a good habit to keep the sunny side up.
Be blessed. Be very blessed,