Written by Loretta Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Christian Womanhood magazine in 2013
I believe it could be said that I am a happy person. I am a half-full kind of a person. Is this because I have an outgoing personality? Is it because I am spiritual (I know that is not true!)? Being a happy person is not personality; it is a choice.
Right now I am going through a tremendous trial with my mother. One of my close relatives, who is also her neighbor, has been taking her to court for using his property. Upon arriving in West Virginia to take care of her because she had foot surgery, I discoverd this relative had brought up this matter again. I thought that we had satisfied his demands. We were taking steps to make sure she didn’t have to use his property for access to her property. This morning before starting to write this article, I got an email from him that said to contact his lawyer about the matter. That means this case is not over, and the steps we have taken were in vain. My spirit plummeted.
My family travels approximately 25,000 miles a year. Since our children have become adults and the ministry has grown (meaning the things we carry with us to your churches), we now have three rigs (motor home and trailer, truck and trailer, and truck and trailer). At the end of June, two of those rigs bumped into each other due to a car’s stopping on the interstate to help another car not miss the exit ramp. These big rigs don’t stop as fast as a little car and so “crash.” It wasn’t a bad accident because no one was hurt; it was just expensive. Oh, I know we have insurance, but the insurance does not cover the deductible, trips to make the repair, lots of details to even get the repairs, and the ever-present question, “What will happen to our premium now?” I can honestly say that I have looked to Heaven and said in the last couple of months, “God, I feel like quitting!”
In both of these situations, I believe I am justified in not being happy. I don’t like problems that cannot be solved. This is what I believe robs me of my happiness: dwelling on things that have no solutions. We women are problem solvers. We like to either fix it ourselves or else get someone to fix it.
So what are we to do? If ever I have to practice what I preach, it is right now—at times like these. We must force ourselves to do Philippians 4:4 thinking.“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” was Marlene Evans’ life verse. She taught me to rejoice (or let me be a liberal and say “be happy”) in the Lord. You can’t rejoice in the problem or situation, but you can rejoice that you have a God Who sees and hears all your needs.
We must find a way to be happy in every life situation. A little “Pollyanna” thinking does help with this matter. As far as the wreck is concerned, I could think
• “God kept my family safe.
• “It could have been worse.”
• “He gave us a shop to get the hitches fixed so we didn’t have to completely miss a meeting.”
There is always something to rejoice about during a hard time.
Also we need to think on Philippians 4:8, which says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” We just have to be “happy” talkers. Mrs.Evans was a master at pulling a rejoicing matter out during a hard time and then talking about it for a week.
What I’m saying is to think and talk about anything good that is going on amidst the trial. I’ve been telling stories to people about my mistakes, like making fun of the fact that I walked through a McDonald’s restaurant with my skirt tucked into my nylons! Laughing at myself helps me alleviate the bad, “woe-is-me” thoughts.
I also have a story I’ve been sharing about my grandson (you knew as a grandma, I would someday write about him!). Kevin is now nine months old and very animated. I was pushing him through the store in his stroller and started shaking him from side to side. He had so much fun that I now walk up to him and shake my head vigorously to get him to shake his head back. I can promise that laughing at him makes it easy to forget my stress.
Be happy on purpose this month. Plaster Philippians 4:4 and Philippians 4:8 around your house and post them in your car.