Go Ahead, Laugh!

LatteI was reminded of two very important things this week on living a happy life. I’m not kidding – this isn’t some garbage on breathing in and out and releasing “positive vibes”or whatever. God legitimately reminded me that laughter is one key to happiness in our short life but so is a consistent communication with Him. I mean, those two things aside from coffee. Coffee comes first. Obviously. *Wink* Speaking of, my coffee pot just beeped at me. Meaning it’s done brewing. Meaning go grab coffee and then continue reading cause I swear everything is better with coffee.

The only way to true happiness is to have a real and raw, genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Something amazing happens when we put all of our cares in His hands. Don’t picture it as a parent demanding the magnifying glass because you’ve been burning too many bugs and leaves. God is not this invisible person that wants to take away the things you enjoy. I heard a story once that put into perspective the way God wants to improve our lives – but only if we let Him. There was a little girl who had received a bracelet of pretty plastic pearls. To her, those artificial pearls were the real deal and more beautiful than anything she had ever seen. She wore them with every outfit, was diligent not to take them in the bathtub so they wouldn’t get wrecked; she even slept with them every night. Those beads never left her sight. Her Dad saw how much she adored those pearls and he decided that he would buy her a new bracelet made with real pearls. “I’m going to give these to her, but only when she is willing to give up the ones she has now” he told himself. He went out and bought the most beautiful pearls he could find. That night he asked his daughter, “Honey, can I have your pearls?” “Oh no Daddy, you can look at them but I must hold them.” So he looked, tucked her into bed and kissed her goodnight. For weeks he asked her every night before tucking her in, if he could have her pearls. Every night she responded the same way. Until one night she finally let her Daddy take her pearls, “Daddy, you always ask for my pearls. You must love them more than I do. So here, you can wear them.” He smiled and took her bracelet, got up and left the room. He returned with the real pearl bracelet he bought and watched her eyes light up. I see God the same way, He has something so much better to give us if we are willing to let go of the thing that we are so dearly holding onto. We need to be holding onto the Lord and only the Lord in order to have a happy life because when we are solely focused on living our life for God; everything else fades to the back.

I was talking with a couple friends the other day – I don’t know how we got on the topic but at one point in the conversation we were talking about keeping our eyes focused on Christ no matter what goes on in our lives. Whether it’s something as small and dumb as red cups or as horrifying as terrorist bombings; we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. “People keep focusing on the wrong things!” My friend started, “we keep looking at other people and what’s wrong with that person’s life. We get all caught up on the gong show going on in the rest of the world and we don’t realize that we are slowly becoming part of the gong show ourselves. It’s like, ok, think of a new driver. They are driving on the highway in the winter for the first time and everyone is telling them not to hit the ditch. The new driver is so focused on not hitting the ditch, that they’re going to hit the ditch because that is the thing they are constantly thinking about and looking over at.” I just sat there, kind of shocked at the simplicity of his metaphor that TOTALLY nailed the idea of keeping our eyes on Jesus. Think about Peter. Why did Peter sink?

“Jesus said, “Come!” and Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and went toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened and began to sink.” – Matthew 14: 29 & 30

Peter sank when he focused on the wind and waves. A driver will hit the ditch when they take their eyes off the road. We will sin and live a dull life for Christ when we take our eyes off Jesus. It’s as simple as that. The only way to keep our eyes focused on Christ in every situation is to be in continual communication with the Lord. I’m not kidding. When we are putting Jesus at the front of our mind I guarantee you will notice things in your day that you didn’t notice before. God looks after you. He does it in the smallest ways that you would normally brush over. I want to challenge you to start shooting small prayers to God. For one day thank Him for all the little positive things. Did you wake up feeling rested? “Thank you Jesus for a restful night and allowing me to feel refreshed this morning. Please help me today to be a light for you.” Did you get to work or school safe? “Thank you Jesus for protecting me when I go throughout my day; it is something that I take for granted. Please open my eyes to see the little things today.” Shoot God those small prayers all continually as you go throughout your day. You would send a quick text to your friend if you saw something that reminded you of them, so why not send God a quick message too? Even when difficult and frustrating things happen. Talk to God. For example, the other day a dude cut me off while I was driving. I was ticked and decided to tail gate him. As I rode his bumper I prayed, “Thank you Jesus for protecting me from an accident; that guy could’ve actually hit me instead of merely cutting me off.” (Ps, the irony is SO strong in this story because I’m dumb) Then God immediately told me to top tail gating him. I was slightly irritated. Ok God, I thanked you for allowing the truck toΒ  cut me off in stead of hitting me, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be nice in return. “Fall back now.” God said again. So I did and as I fell back the truck slammed on his brakes for a pedestrian walking across the street. I would’ve slid into his bumper if I had not listened to God.

Pumpkin 1The other day I was reading in my devotional book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, “You can live as close to Me as you chose. I set up no barriers between us; neither do I tear down any barriers that you put up. Seek to please Me above ll else As you journey through your day, there will be many choice points along your way. Most of the day’s decisions will be small ones you have to make quickly. You need some rule of thumb to help you make good choices. Many people’s decisions are a combination of their habitual responses and their desire to please themselves or others. This is not MY way for you. Strive to please Me in everything, not just in major decisions. This is possible only to the extent when you are living in close communication with Me. When My presence is your deepest delight, you know almost instinctivelyΒ  what will please Me. Keeping your focus on Me is all you need to make the right choice.” I’ve also come to realize that when your focus is truly on the Lord and you want to live life for Him and with Him, you will find joy in all of the little things. I think that when we are trying to walk with God we will see the beauty in this world and appreciate the small things God has done – I also think we will be able to have true joy and laugh. Laugh at yourself. When that truck abruptly stopped and I stopped behind him; I laughed. I laughed at my own stupidity thinking that tail gating was a great idea to get back at the guy. People get so wound up and focused about “being taken seriously” that is sucks the fun out of life. That would be the second challenge to you; laugh more. Stop being so defensive. You’re quirky. They’re quirky. We’re all quirky and we are all going to laugh at and with other people for multiple reasons. So relax. The world is not going to end because you thought there was another stair and someone saw you take a ridiculously large step for nothing. Calm down. You’re life is not going to fall apart because someone caught you making a inexplicably stupid face for a snapchat. Laugh at yourself because you know full well that you’d be laughing at someone if the situation was reversed. Actually, super funny story, for Halloween a friend and I were carving pumpkins. I saw this super cute idea off pinterest. It was a pumpkin carved into a carousel. I thought to myself, “That is such a cute idea – I’m going to try it.” We started carving our pumpkins. His pumpkin was the fabulous classic face and mine was…. starting to lean. As he finished up his pumpkin I continued to hack mine. I told myself that it had to get worse before it got better; like cleaning a closet! He finished his pumpkin and it was so awesome! By this point my pumpkin was full of BBQ skewers to keep it from completely falling apart. “Payton, your pumpkin looks like a pintrosity…” I sat back, looked at the original photo I was trying to recreate and then at my…. mess. He began to laugh and then my other friends came to see what he was killing himself laughing at. They too began to laugh. My pumpkin was now leaning hard left and has serious issues. In that moment I could have gone into a sulk and refused to laugh at my failure or, to join in and laugh at myself. As I continued to stare at the poor, obliterated pumpkin I realized… it was too funny not to laugh at, and I would be laughing it were anyone else.

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I’m excited for all that God will do and open your eyes to when you chose to put Him first and continue choosing him and when we all learn to chill out and laugh. When we are with God through out our day in prayer and when we let those crazy sounds come out when we are laughing hard; I believe those two things…. a great coffee… those three things bring true happiness. Nuff said.

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

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