I like to fix stuff. And by that I mean that I like to solve problems and make things happen and accomplish all the things and throw away to-do lists because everything has been checked off.
And in the middle of all this fixing, Jesus is teaching me to slow down. Over the past twelve months or so, three words have been turning over and over inside and it’s (slowly but surely) changing my pace.
Fix your eyes.
I’m lingering. In the middle of rushing and hurrying and fretting, it’s like He keeps pushing pause on the soundtrack and prompting me to just sit and be for a moment. As I read The Happiness Dare this past week, I was reminded of this truth:
God has not necessarily called us to fix the things around us, but to instead fix our eyes on Him.
And when we fix our eyes on Him, our perspective shifts. Everything that has become blurry from frantically running and striving becomes crystal clear as one thing emerges: gratitude.
I want to leave this blog post there. I want to skip ahead and tell you about a book I’ve been working on (not mine, good gosh, no ma’am. keep reading.). I want to stop right here and wrap it up or maybe even continue and tell you about learning to fix my eyes on Christ in the midst of both a crazy year and a year of totally ordinary days.
I am learning to slow. I am learning to pause. I am learning to listen, to linger, and to look for the beautiful ordinary.
But there’s a story I haven’t told — because I can’t, in good conscious, tell it. All of those things I’m learning? I’m learning them in what feels like the heavy settling of a fog over a field, in what feels like the night after your eyes have started to adjust.
Many months ago my life story shifted into a new chapter. It isn’t one I saw coming and certainly not one I would have chosen, but here we are and this is it — at least for now.
If I could change it, I would. But the only thing I can change is me.
If I could fix it, I would. But, at least this time around, it’s not mine to fix.
It’s a weird kind of hard because this is where I write about how every story matters, this is the place where we gather and talk about how even the broken and messy stories hold hope and a promise of new life. We’ve talked no less than 50 times about beauty coming from ashes, life from death, and how not one single page is wasted.
You know by now that I believe it: God doesn’t write our life stories with a pencil because He has no need for an eraser. He will not make a mistake.
Sometimes, though, we do. We mess up. Or the ones we love say words that can’t be taken back. Or strangers on the other side of the world make choices that feel inexcusable. Or the country seems like it has split wide open beyond repair.
I don’t want to get political or gloomy, but I do want to be honest. It’s hard to look despair and hurt and brokenness in the eye, to not shy away from the headlines, when so many of us are facing those same feelings in our regular everyday lives.
Or, perhaps, I should only speak for myself in this and say that some days happiness is a flickering lightbulb that just won’t stay on. It’s there, it works, and it shines brightly. I can reach for the chain or flip the switch and light bursts forth in an instant. But there are still shadows. I can’t change that, can’t fix it. And truthfully, I can’t even tell you the story, can’t put words to the page or ink to paper, because this isn’t my story alone to tell.
But I can choose gratitude for what remains and what may be.
I can choose to trust in the dark what I know to be true in the light.
I can choose to risk big and reach for happiness, trusting that Jesus was joyful and our God loves to laugh.
I can decide each day that life isn’t a problem to be fixed but a gift to be lived. I can purpose in my heart to keep searching for and practicing happiness because it’s already there.
Less than two months ago I stood on the mountainside where Jesus said, “Happy are those…”
Blessed, too. But translated to the original word, it’s “happy.”
What if happiness and grief hold hands?
Because I’m holding happiness in one hand and grief in the other, and I’m finding that they go together, can live together, and laugh and cry together.
Hands open, eyes fixed.
One of my favorite people in the world released her second book today! The Happiness Dare: Pursuing Your Heart’s Deepest, Holiest, and Most Vulnerable Desire by Jennifer Dukes Lee is a fun, insightful read. I’ve had the pleasure of working on super-happy marketing materials to promote the dare, but as I read the book I was truly surprised by how much science backs up the art and act of happiness. Lately, happiness seems like a risky dare in our current world. But I’m in. Will you take the dare, too? If you want to find out your personal Happiness Style or download a Happy Spotify Playlist, you can find them both here! Or if you want to snag the book while it’s majorly on sale, it’s right over here.
Affiliate links are used in this post. I received a copy of the book for free, but all opinions are truly my own.
Just lovely, Kaitlyn. God has the incredible knack of mixing our sorrow with His love.
Beautiful post, Kaitlyn. I loved how Jennifer gave us permission to feel grief and disappointment and at the same time, permission to feel happiness. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. Allowing happiness in gives us a weapon to travel through the grief and land on the other side. I just posted about her book, as well, and how it serves as a powerful weapon! Thank you for blessing me today. I am stopping to pray for you in this season of grief.
Yes I think that’s key… that it doesn’t have to be either/or, but is a both/and. And thank you for the prayers, by the way.
“Trust in the dark what you know to be true in the light.” -that is so beautiful and so true, and sometimes so very, very hard. Yet, the Lord hears our cries and answers according to His limitless mercy. He is faithful. What an amazing post! Thank you so much for writing what is in your heart. We have hope through it all. May the Lord restore your soul as He holds you in His love and comforts your grieving heart.
Thank you, Cheryl. I’m so glad you stopped by and took the time to comment.
Love this and you so much, friend! THIS: “Because I’m holding happiness in one hand and grief in the other, and I’m finding that they go together, can live together, and laugh and cry together.”
Gorgeous writing. Thank you for this. Thank you for so many things — mostly, for your friendship. I love you.
xoxo you’re pretty great, friend.
Beautiful post. Oh how my heart hears yours here. I was only just praying through tears for those God placed on my heart…I was crying because I felt God’s love pour out for His hurting people in how I was being led to pray and who God has been bringing into my life: strangers far away, but sisters in Christ, loved so passionately by my Savior. So yes, grief and happiness in one. Grief for the suffering of the body of Christ, but also for the unbelievable goodness, faithfulness and love of our mighty Savior.
Sorry: I meant “tears” in that last sentence.
I love you so, girlie… and I have been missing you and praying for you and I so get this! Truly, I do. I think when we acknowledge that happiness and grief hold hands, we can see and feel how they both offer healing and are both saturated with Love.
And this: “I can choose to trust in the dark what I know to be true in the light.” <– So Much Amen, my friend!