What makes you happy?


Passion: 1) a strong and barely controllable emotion. 2) a state or outburst of such emotion.
I think I’m a pretty passionate person. 
I recently read a post by another blogger who wrote about passion.  She told a story that she was asked “What are your passions?” and she didn’t have a clear answer.  Somehow everyday life got in the way and she was just subsisting…not really living with a passion for much outside of her family and home and work. She just had the daily grind, not really anything she was pouring herself into that made her ridiculously happy.
I think I fall on the opposite end of the spectrum.  If you ask me (or really, anyone who knows me) about my passions, I think you’ll get some answers.  Zumba, fitness, blogging, Hanson…would be some things that may come to your mind.  Sure, these may seem like “silly” things to you…but they are things I’m passionate about. They are things I have found that make me happy.  I wish I could explain it, but if you don’t have those things, I’m not sure you would understand.
But there is a small problem I’ve encountered.  Many people read this passion as “obsession.” I think it’s because they either don’t have passions themselves….or they don’t think mine are worthwhile.  Either way, I’m not their shrink, but I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I’ve heard “You’re really obsessed with Hanson.” Or maybe “All you talk about is Zumba. You’re so obsessed.”  When people say these things, they sort of sound insulting or condescending.
Obsessed: 1) Having or showing excessive or compulsive concern with something. 2) influenced or controlled by a powerful force or emotion.
Sure, maybe in their eyes, if I was devoting this time, energy, and passion to say, saving the whales, it would be more worthwhile…and not an “obsession.”
But you have to understand: I have found things in life that I have decided to wholeheartedly chase…things that make me ridiculously, unapologetically happy.  Things that define me because I choose to pour myself into them. And that doesn’t make me “obsessed.”  It makes me passionate.
I’m passionate about becoming the best Zumba instructor I can. I watch videos of other great instructors at my desk at work on my lunch break often.  I’m trying to learn from the best and hone my skill, not just watch videos because I’m obsessed.
I’m passionate about becoming the healthiest me…so that means I spend a lot of free time at the gym.  I like trying new classes and pushing myself.  But when I go to the grocery store after a sweat-fest…and the clerk says “Oh you’re one of those gym goers, huh?” It feels like they are looking down on me for being at the gym all evening. Well, I’m passionate about becoming the best version of me I can.

I’m passionate about blogging. I take pictures for the blog documenting my life. I take notes on my phone of ideas to write about.  Not only am I documenting my life (so I can remember the little things) but I’m also making some amazing friends. I’m passionate about connecting with others who share my interests, and finding friends in uncommon places. 

I’m passionate about Hanson.  Their music stirs my soul, and they just make me happy.  And know what?  Through that passion I’ve found some of the best friends I’ve ever had, friends who know I’m strange and quirky and don’t care. But it isn’t a teen girl’s obsession about a cute boy AT ALL, I have found an artist I’m proud to support, and I can’t help but consume every piece I can of their work…because I love the way it makes me feel.  Why wouldn’t I chase that warm fuzzy feeling? 
All that to say…I hope you have something you are passionate about.  Whether it is gardening, or photography, or running, or whatever. Something that you can’t help but talk about all the time.  Something that instantly identifies you to people.  I’m the Hanson girl.  I’m the Zumba girl.  I’m the gym girl.  And I like being those things.  I’m not obsessed, I’m passionate…and I think there is a difference.
What are you passionate about?  Do you have passions outside of your family?  I think it’s healthy to have things that just stir your soul into a joyful oblivion. What is that for you?

Disclaimer: I also am very passionate about my family, my faith, and my job….but those are never called obsessions, so no need to rant on that.  


Contentment

Here is a fact about me. I am happy. Satisfied. Pleased. Content.

Sure, my life looks pretty great from the outside looking in.  And, honestly, it is pretty great.  I have two jobs  I adore, we have a beautiful home, a great marriage, and we are both healthy. But there is so much more that isn’t on the surface.

There are people I want to kick in the throat (some on a daily basis). There are frustrating days. There are family issues. There are money worries.  There are times I hate my body. But I’m choosing to seek the joy in my daily life.

I think in life you have a choice.  You can be jealous, upset, worried, and compare yourself to others. I’ve been there at different points in my life.  That choice is tough.  You stay bitter, you have trouble truly loving people (because you want to hate them), and you are hard on yourself.

But years ago I chose differently.  I chose to be happy.  I chose to let the little things roll of my back. I chose to love myself and my life. I chose to see the little blessings in my life. I chose to live as drama free as possible, all based on the fact that I would choose happiness. And this has resulted in the biggest case of contentment that I’ve ever known.

I constantly pray for contentment and joy, they don’t come naturally.  I really think it is a discipline to work on these things.  Sure, there are great days.  But it can be hard to have great weeks, let alone great months, or great years.  But, after much prayer and being totally conscious about my attitude, I’m totally rocking life these days. 🙂

And it isn’t me.  It has a lot to do with the blessings the Lord has given me, but it mostly has to do with the joy and happiness I have found in Him.  This contentment has allowed me to love my friends and family more.  I make friends so easily because I can easily feel God’s love for those people. I enjoy my jobs more (and I think I’m successful in my jobs) because I’m so grateful for them. I cherish my marriage because I choose to not “pick” at my husband, but instead to see the wonderful things he does.  He may not always take the trash out, but I can be ok with that.

I love this graphic.  “The filled people are the truly happy people.”  I want to be freaking overflowing, y’all.

Where are you?  Are you feeling content? Or are you insecure, unhappy, and bitter?  I hope you make the choice, at least for today, to choose happiness.  Satisfaction. Contentment. Happiness.  It is there. You just have to choose to see it.


Hot Topic

This has weighed heavy on my heart, so I’m putting it out there.  This is my opinion.  I know you have one too.  I would love to hear yours if you can express it without belittling me or others.  I left the comments open so you can give your opinion.

This in light of the North Carolina Ammendment 1 thing (which defined marriage as ONLY between a man and a woman).  Then President Obama came out in favor of gay marriages.  Lots of legislation on this recently.

I have several gay friends.  Some who are planning to travel to states that allow marriages and get one of their own.  I love those friends.  And because I love those friends, seeing them discriminated against makes me sad.

Now, let me make one thing clear: I am a Christian.  I serve Jesus.  I know what the Bible has to say about homosexuality.  I do believe it is a sin.  But here is where my problem comes in.

While I believe those gay friends are sinning (and I would tell them that if we talked about it), I also sin.  A lot.  Every day.  I lie, curse, I have stolen (I’m not proud about it).  I covet my neighbor.  I harbor hate in my heart.  I do LOTS of things that are sins.

Sins make God angry.  They break Jesus’ heart.  I know this.  But while I try to not sin, I fight a sinful nature.

In God’s eyes, a sin is a sin.  There is no hierarchy for sins.  So here lies my issue.  If we legislate and ban one person’s sins, but not another…where do we draw the line?  How do we decide which sins deserve legislation discriminating against those sinners?  Will people who steal not be able to adopt children?  I am sure if your parent is a thief, it isn’t good for the child.  If you lie, should you not be able to marry?  Well what makes those sins “less” than being homosexual.  I choose to lie sometimes just like they choose to be gay (or on the other end of the argument, my sin nature is no different from theirs).

While I do think there are some political issues that are tied to religion (sanctity of life issues, and some others I can’t think of at the moment)….I am not comfortable with this one for some reason.

I can’t pinpoint it.  I wish I could.  All I know if that when Christians show hate to that group of people, we totally block them from the love of God.  My Jesus spent tons of time with sinners.  He did tell us to obey and respect the law, so laws that are passed I will obey.  But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt my heart.

Maybe I am just burdened that my sins are great as well, and I don’t have legislation passed against me.  I am sooo thankful for God’s grace.  I extend His love to my friends (gay, straight, or whatever).  I want them to know that no matter what, they are welcome to come running into the arms of Jesus.  He loves them.  He died for their sins.  Even their homosexuality.  So why all this hate towards someone Jesus loves?

I know that was a mish-mash of my thoughts.  Because in my head and heart they are mashed up.  I guess I need to talk with my pastor to get more Biblical insight.  Because from what I know, I’m not sure Jesus would have voted on some of these Amendments.  I think he would be praying for and loving on those people.  Not belittling them.

Again, I welcome your thoughts and opinions.  Just don’t beat mine up in the process. 🙂