Friday, July 26, 2013

Happiness Project: It is what it is

In the book I quoted in the last post, At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon, there is a chapter where the rector is having a heart to heart with a member of his congregation. I found it rather inspiring and thought I would share this excerpt.

"I've never been one for physical exercise," she said, "but what God does with our faith must be something like workouts. He sees to it that our faith get pushed and pulled, stretched, and pounded, taken to its limits so its limits can expand." 

"If it doesn't get exercised," she said thoughtfully, "it becomes like a weak muscle that fails us when we need it."

"Would you agree that we must be willing to thank God for every trial of our faith, no matter how severe, for the great strength it produces?"

"I'm perfectly willing to say it, but I'm continually unable to do it."

I have always felt that when I come to a trial (noticed how I come to a trial, that the trial doesn't find me), no matter what it is, the trial somehow becomes a trial of my faith. I ask the question of the day: Do I have faith enough that things will work out in the end? And after I ask myself this question, I proceed through it, fighting the whole way - I don't handle my trials with grace. 

Last night, a new friend provided me with a great perspective that I want to emulate. She said "Oh well; it is what it is, and everything will work out." I noticed that she would say this after I complained about a trial, or after she related a trial to me. It is reassuring that I to can live in the "it is what it is" and continue to move on and let my faith grow the way it is intended to grow. 

I can stop fighting the trial, and really embrace it. I guess the next step is to be grateful for it.I see this as a three step process:

  1. Recognize that the trial is what it is; the trial will take me to my limits so my limits can expand
  2. Embrace the trial; recognize that my limits will be expanded and be ok with it
  3. Be grateful for the trial; be grateful that my limits are being expanded and recognize God for his efforts in trusting that I can expand the way He needs me to
I am inspired to include the phrase "it is what it is, embrace it, be grateful for it" to my 10 commandments that I am working on for my Happiness Project. I love being surrounded by great and wise friends, and amazing literature. I'm liking this so far! 

Question: What are some 'commandments' that you live by that have helped you get through trials? What are some things you say to yourself to help you find happiness again when you find yourself in a slump?


Brenden+Nikki said...

That is my dad's favorite saying! He always says "It is what it is" every time I complain to him. ha ha. He has never been one to let me wallow in frustration. He always tells me to just move on.

I'm with you on handling trials with grace. It's hard for me to do that. I always want to complain and always feel like a victim. However, my patriarchal blessing says that I will handle my trials "as a real lady" and so that always comes to my mind and keeps me in line. I always think "am I handling this like a lady?" If not, I try to correct myself, as hard as it might be at times. If the Lord knows I can do it, then that means I can, and I must!

Unstoppable Lindsey said...

What an awesome blessing to know that you are handling it like a lady. There has to be some kind of subliminal message in mine that says, "First, you will cry. Second, you will get angry at everyone involved in the trial including me. Third, you will get angry with yourself for being angry with me. Fourth, you will shy away from coming to me for at least 3 days. Fifth, you will humble yourself and become resilient."

WHEW, that is tiring after a while....

Perhaps that is something I need to do too. Maybe I will add it to my 10 commandments!