We started a great discussion yesterday, and I've responded to some of the comments on yesterday's post in the comment section. Today is part II - written at the same time as yesterday's post (but I didn't want to break any records for the World's Longest Blog Post!).
I know a person who always seems to see the bright side of things. Who always seems happy to see you - and everyone else, who loves kids - even the annoying ones - and loves to bring fun into any and every situation. People sometimes think this person is goofy or oblivious or a pie-in-the-sky Pollyanna. I have thought it must be exhausting to feel compelled to be so positive and optimistic. People - Christians - I know have openly mocked this happy-go-lucky attitude and I have rolled my eyes (to my shame) at this person's unending enthusiasm.
Are some people naturally like this?
I am not naturally positive and optimistic - does that mean I'm destined to a life of negativism, of being a life-sucker rather than a life giver?
In chapter 11 of Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project, in discussing keeping a contented heart, she comes around to idea of choosing to "give positive reviews." By her definition this means to be more enthusiastic and to become one of the "joyous ones." She quickly realizes how very difficult it is to abandon a lifestyle of enjoying the "delicious satisfaction" of criticizing. She readily identifies how being critical made her "feel more sophisticated and intelligent" and how studies have shown that "people who are critical are often perceived as more discerning."[p. 268] As she seeks to keep her resolution to "Give positive reviews," she attempts an intensive approach - no negative comments for one week.
Could you do that? I'm not sure I could (certainly not without the Lord's help!)....
Here's what she learned:
"Once I started trying to give positive reviews, though, I began to understand how much happiness I took from the joyous ones in my life - and how much effort it must take for them to be consistently good-tempered and positive. It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light. We non-joyous types suck energy and cheer from the joyous ones; we rely on them to buoy us with their good spirit and to cushion our agitation and anxiety. At the same time, because of a dark element in human nature, we're sometimes provoked to try to shake the enthusiastic, cheery folk out of their fog of illusion....instead of shielding their joy, we blast it." [p.270]
And I thought of the person I know who is consistently good-tempered, who is one of the joyous ones. And it occurred to me that this person might not "naturally" be like that. Perhaps a lifetime of choosing to be positive and enthusiastic has led to the seemingly effortless fun and delight that defines them. As I continued reading, I was convicted by the realization that it takes a great deal of humility to lay aside the desire and impulse to use "sarcasm, ironic asides and cynical comments" to make myself appear smart and discerning. "A willingness to be pleased," Rubin says, "requires modesty and even innocence - easy to deride as mawkish and sentimental."
Having "ready laughter" is something that I've valued in others and have desired to bless others with. For me this often means delighting with someone in the "obvious" joke, rather than just smiling out of courtesy. To be there for those around me, laying aside my personal preferences in humour or entertainment styles.
I've never preferred the word "happy." Something in me has always considered it unspiritual. JOY - yes that is good and godly, but it isn't something that is necessarily reflected on the outside. It's a deep sense of peace and satisfaction that comes from the security of a relationship with the Lord - but doesn't mean you'll be happy. Happy is fluffy. Happy is circumstantial. Happy is for morning people. Happy isn't necessary for Christians....
|found it here|
notice the vacancy sign??
May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God;
may they be happy and joyful.