Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Remember Screw-ups who Became Bible Heroes, and other Wisdom


About once a week, I'm trying to post interviews with amazing and insightful people who inspire me! This week's focus is Amy.

I grew up with Amy. We went to church together at the Hampton United Methodist Church when we were growing up, and also went to school together from preschool to high school. We went to different colleges, and she moved back to our home turf after getting her master’s and getting married. She’s a full-time mom now to an adorable little toddler, and she also works as a Minister of Christian Education at her church. She’s always been one of those people who just seemed to me to have it all together. She stuck to her morals even when it wasn’t cool, and some of the best most thoughtful conversations of my life were ones I had with her in middle school. Seriously, she was just thoughtful about life from an early age. I hope you’ll be as inspired as I was by her replies to my happiness interview questions.

1. When you're feeling blue, what do you do to make yourself happier?

I frequently struggle with anxiety and depression, so this is a question I ask myself often. When I start to feel a bout of depression coming on (and it does, like waves) I try to do two things. First, I try to re-center my life around God. When I see myself as the world sees me, I get depressed. I'm not wealthy or gorgeous and I spend more time changing diapers and cleaning house than doing fun things. My first impulse to combat depression is to drink more (which helps a bit, hah!), spend money I don't have on clothes I don't need, or buy more makeup. When this doesn't help as a long-term solution, I open up my Bible and remind myself that I am of great worth and that God, fully knowing what an incompetent adult I've turned out to be, still loves me. I enjoy reading Bible stories about screw-ups who turned out to be important people: David, Paul, Rahab, etc. This helps immensely.
The second thing I try to do is focus on other people. When you try to help someone else out, it's easier to forget how crummy you feel about your own life. Plus, it helps you feel grateful for the many blessings you do have. My new mantra is "I could be in Haiti." I'll get all bent out of shape about sitting in traffic when there are people in Haiti who are hungry and homeless and looking for loved ones. My problems are so small in comparison!

2. What's a little thing that you do regularly that makes you happy?

I lose myself in a good book.

3. What's something you've discovered that you'd you like your child(ren) to know about happiness?

I want my daughter to know that happiness isn't something you get from other people or from any tangible objects. When we have a relationship with God, we can have happiness (peace) regardless of our circumstances. I'd also like to tell her that this process isn't as easy as it seems. It takes constant work to remind yourself of this truth. Please remind me of this if you run in to me at CVS with a basket full of makeup. : )

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I love the idea of remembering that we are of great worth, and that many pretty royal screw-ups turned out to be biblical heroes in the end! I've also heard a lot of my friends say that comparing themselves to those in Haiti has made them appreciate their lot in life more these days. Sometimes contemplating sadness can actually lead us toward happiness, or at least toward noticing good things. And I also agree that we have to work at it to be happy or at peace. Here's to working at it...that's what this whole blog is about!



What about yourself do you think is "of great worth"?

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