The Mystery of Happy

May 7, 2016

Say cheese, house. Saturday was our photoshoot. The house is photo-ready, but it took a cleaning, decluttering marathon to get here. Even still, I find myself tucking things in closets and walking around the house holding a Lysol cleaning wipe to swipe away anything I missed. It’s amazing how dirty a lived-in house can become and how much stuff a family can accumulate over the years.

But, my battle this weekend hasn’t been just with dust and clutter.

I’m struggling with the Enoughs, as in I haven’t done enough, I never do enough, and I’m simply not good enough.

Does anyone else ever fall into that pit?

Once securely in that insecure place, I feel like I’m in the Star Wars’ trash compactor scene. It’s gross and dirty and the walls are closing in - fast.

It's not much of a mystery how it happens. It doesn’t take much to put myself here, and believe me, it’s a self-imposed state - being stuck in the Enoughs. But, situations do contribute.

The house hits the market this week (enter stress). Joe travels to Wilmington to officially start his new job (enter more stress and worry). Plus, my well-intentioned father found a glaring mistake in my second book (see The Mystery of Being A BIG Dummy). The last two of these, happened on Mother’s Day. Mix these up and you have a giant kick into a shame and anxiety-filled downward spiral. It’s no wonder that I don’t think I’m capable enough to handle all the things going on in my life right now.

Still, it’s Mother’s Day and the start of a potentially difficult week with Joe gone and the house for sale (we have to be on high alert). I tried to give up the Enoughs for positive thinking and calmness. We went to church, heard a good sermon on keeping perspective and outsourcing our anxieties (raise my hand). Things were going well, but still.

There’s most certainly a snake living in one of the birdhouses at school. Creepin’ me out. So, I can’t shake off

the Enoughs piled high particularly with this problem facing me this week. Falling into this not-good-enough pit is like finding a snake in the birdhouse. The dark and evil thing is just waiting for the right opportunity to strike and release its toxic venom.

Okay, I realize that chances are the dang thing is non-poisonous. A garden snake or black snake perhaps. But, in my mind, all snakes are anaconda-sized, deadly serpents hellbent on revenge against humans and with a flair for the dramatic. Shouldn’t one assume the worst when dealing with a snake of unknown size and variety?

At any rate, I fell into dark thinking. Don’t I have enough problems to deal with? I don’t have enough of anything to handle the snake problem.

As I furiously scribbled those thoughts into my journal, I glanced up. My eyes fell on Happy. In our decluttering efforts, I found the lost dwarf and had set him on my desk atop my Bible and prayer journal. There is something ridiculously happy about Happy. The smile cemented on his face says, “I’m not only overjoyed at this moment, but in all those to come.” Instantly, I’m reminded of the verse from Philippians 4:11, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Or more elaborately expounded upon in The Message, “I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Even snakes in birdhouses? I wonder. With slumped shoulders, I decide, perhaps especially snaky circumstances.

Happy doesn’t battle the Enoughs. Happy is enough because he’s content.

The only way through the madness is to find contentment.

“I have God’s more-than-enough”

Psalm 4:7 The Message