when it's hard to find the happy

There have been some rough days.  Days that easily fill my mind with worry, anxiety and concern over myself and the people I love the most.  

I pray.  And pray again.  And then I pray some more.

Sometimes things change, often sometimes they don't.

But today, for the first time in a long time, I woke up and went through my mental checklist of who and what normally concerns me when I awake and I was able to put an imaginary "it's ok" star by almost every category and individual. 

I smiled. I could breathe easier.

I felt happy.  

And then, I felt guilty.

Hmmm. Not the emotion I was going for.

The guilt revealed the real problem I have. This morning I was feeling better and happier because my circumstances had improved and things were lining up the way I had hoped they would.  I felt a little bit in control, kind of like I had God on a string and surely He saw now that He should do things my way so that I could have a very nice life.

But......yuk. That is so not who I want to be.  Because that is so not how God and life work.

I don't want to depend on my circumstances to be happy or feel joy.  I want to live above them, not under them.  I want to be someone whose faith is secure and solid; someone whose trust in God is so deep and complete that I don't need to have every box on my list checked off in a positive manner in order to feel good and approach my day with a glad heart. 

I want to live a life that greets each day with gratitude simply for the breath and life He has given me, and for the gift of knowing Him.

Even if He never answers another prayer the way I expect Him to. 

Let's face it- we all know people who have more joy and contentment on their bad days than we do on most of our good ones. And granted, we all breathe a sigh of relief when we get a reprieve from the things that have kept us up at night a good long while.  That's to be expected.

But it's the everyday joy I am seeking; the one that will remain with me when life goes haywire and my world spins crazy.  The kind that grounds me in knowing and trusting that God has all of this - every moment - in His control, even when it seems that no one, not even God, could fix the mess that is happening.  I want to approach my day if not always with a smile on my face, then with one on my heart knowing that God's got this and I can move forward in trust and confidence in the One who made me, knows me and knows exactly what I need.

Instead of reaching for my checklist to tell me how I feel, I will reach for Him. 

And I bet in doing so, I will reach joy.