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“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” James Oppenheim

Dear Jesus, help me be where my feet are. Amen 

Too often, I’m not here, not present in the moment. I’m tossed into the past like Marty McFly in the movie Back to the Future or I’m impatiently waiting for the future (Fridays) like I used to do when I taught school. As much as I want to be grounded in a positive way, sometimes I’m just not. 

Here are a few synonyms I found when I looked up the word “grounded” – punished, stuck, and stranded listed alongside supported, substantiated, and centered. 

Instead of being the first kind of grounded meaning I have to stay where I am, feeling punished, stuck, or stranded, I want to be grounded in God – supported, substantiated, and centered on what He says. 

I want to be happy and grateful now because I’m where He wants me to be.  

The footwork is still ours to do, but it’s not the same kind of work as when we force our own will and then have to maintain it. When I give up trying hard, the “work” is different. It feels easier, more supported, and like I’ve stepped into the flow of life instead of swimming upstream. 

I do a little, and then He comes beside me and does a lot. Anyone who’s experienced what I’m talking about knows exactly what I mean. 

When I signed up to get my master’s degree in counseling, something I avoided for years even though I felt called to do it, a friend passed along to me his books and notes for my first semester of classes. 

I felt panicked about my first assigned paper because Google didn’t exist and I hadn’t done research at a library in years. I sat down in my next class wondering how I’d work full time, care for my two young children, and find extra hours for schoolwork. That’s when the instructor passed out two of the three articles I needed as references for the research paper due in the other class. 

Even though I don’t always remember to stay in the present, I can tell you now because of decades of doing it wrong and the process of elimination that absolutely nothing grounds us, then lifts us up like God. 

I didn’t write much last week because I showed my artwork at a fall festival for the first time ever. Selling my watercolor pieces forced me to do uncomfortable things like matte paintings and price them to sell. While I worked and had to focus on what was right in front of me because I wasn’t sure what I was doing, I thought it no coincidence that the week’s activities coincided with writing about “now.”

Typically, I’m yelling in my head about happiness like George’s father yelled out loud in the sitcom Seinfeld, “Serenity NOW.”     

I’m forcing happiness and forcing it now, not quite the kind of experience God had in mind.

When I recognized how happy I was in the moment while learning new artsy things, I wondered if trying hard (doing my own thing in my own strength) might be more the opposite of happiness than sadness is. 

This may be one of those sections I rewrite before the ink dries since I’m still learning to live in the present moment. For now, though, it seems that doing what’s right in front of me makes me happiest and most productive for Him and sets me up for happiness tomorrow too. 

In This Together, 

FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because the blog posts will eventually be an entire manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. Each blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is one subheading within the chapter. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and suggestions. I’m over-the-top grateful you’re here.

I have something for you!


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