Finding Happiness

I cleaned my room on Saturday, which is always a daunting task because I am a pack rat.  Not like the guy who was a hoarder that lived at my old apartment complex, but I do like to save things “just in case”.  There’s a certain point where “just in case” because an overwhelming closet of stuff.  In fact, I’m scared to go into our coat closet because it’s so jammed with coats, cleaning supplies, and storage bins that something usually falls on me.

Though my room wasn’t in such a sorry state, it felt like it was “falling” on me.  My room generally reflects the state of my life.  When it’s cluttered, my life is cluttered.  When it’s cleaner, I feel cleaner.  When there’s dirty laundry strewn about, I feel out of control (and find it difficult to find something to wear).

Lately, I’ve been cleaning up my life.  My recent battles with anxiety and depression have been especially vicious and I felt defeated.  Then I remembered something I read in the introduction of  Brian McLaren’s “A New Kind of Christian.”  The funny part is that I find the introduction to the book so compelling that I count it as one of the most important books I’ve ever read, but I’ve never actually read past the first or second chapter.

Anyway, McLaren talks about coming to a point in his life where he was so unhappy, dissatisfied, and depressed that he was suicidal despite being a successful pastor. As he contemplated suicide, he was struck with this thought–he could kill himself or he could change his life.  He chose the latter, reasoning that both options were radical changes.  If someone could be so radical as to commit suicide, then he could radically change his life.

When I feel myself teetering towards the edge of unhealthy thinking, I grab “A New Kind of Christian” off my shelf and reread this passage again and again.  In some way, this book has saved my life.  It makes me wonder what I would think if I read past chapter two.

After languishing in depression and anxiety for a couple of months, I’ve decided that things have to change.  Like my room, my life had become messy and unmanagable.  So I am in the process of making some radical changes in my social life, for my health, and to get to start doing those things I want to do someday.  Someday has arrived.

I signed up for two Bible studies and an acting class.  I went to the doctor for a check-up and told her about my swollen knees, which are arthritic.  Now I’m going to aquatherapy three times a week (starting next week) to not only help my poor knees, but to jumpstart a healthier lifestyle, too.  Oh, and I got a low-end acoustic guitar that’s smaller and more female-friendly, and I’m learning how to play it.  I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar.

These experience aren’t just personally beneficial; they’ll give me a ton of writing material.  And we all know how dry the inkwell has been these days, especially with the difficulty of trying to manage my own blog and Backseat Writer at the same time.

When I started cleaning my room, I guess I thought I would uncover happiness underneath a pile of books or in the dark recesses under my bed.  However, what made me happy was the change, though my room got much messier before the job was done.  I suspect that’s how life is going to be; fortunately, I can rely on God’s strength when I tire of life’s dust bunnies and doubt’s piles of junk mail.  And in all this, in following God, I hope to find happiness, too.

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