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5.23.2016

The Pursuit Of Happiness
(And The Lies Social Media Tell You)

[Credit: Sarah Kim]
Let's be honest here. Social media has a way of presenting only the most exciting and enviable moments of life, making it easy to curate a picture-perfect life that is free of worry and care.

Andrew and I had just returned from a whirlwind two-week honeymoon in Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and based on the hundreds of photos I uploaded on Facebook and Instagram it'd have been easy to assume that my life was going great. Except it wasn't. Sure, everyone gets post-vacation blues, but my ennui ran a little deeper.


When I first moved to New York, I had given up a career that I loved and thrived in so that I could be with Andrew. While my green card was being processed, my visa status did not allow me to work, so it wasn't like I could just find a new job. Contrary to what some people may have thought, I did not enjoy not working. Having always been fiercely independent, the thought of becoming a stay-at-home wife was the very last thing I had imagined for my life. 

I had been eagerly looking forward to the honeymoon while I wasn't working, and after our amazing time in Europe, I returned to the U.S. with an inexplicable sense of dread.  There were days I struggled getting out of bed because I did not know what my plan for the day was going to be, nor did I care to wander the streets of New York alone. I was embarrassed whenever new people we met would casually ask me, "So what do you do?", and I would stumble to string together some meaning for my existence. I remember looking at my friends' successes and life events and feeling completely disappointed in myself. I believed in the lie that my life would never amount to anything.

Andrew knew me well enough not to try to "fix" me or preach to me, but he passed me a copy of Henry Cloud's The Law of Happiness and shared with me how it helped him through some of his darker days. (You can read his recent guest post How Positive Psychology Influenced My Life.) The book was so simple that I read it in 2 days, but it truly was a word in season and challenged me to realign my thinking and behaviour.

Here are three things Dr. Cloud taught me:

1. Be happy in the now. 

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. " - Ephesians 5:15-16

I should not be dependent on a future event to be the key to my well-being (i.e. "I'll be happy when I find a job,"), and recognize that I am where I am for a reason. Savor and celebrate the good things I have in my life, which could be as simple as a stroll around the neighborhood and enjoying a cup of coffee at my favorite cafe. Having a daily routine with set mealtimes also gives me some structure for my unscheduled days.

2. Be active in my pursuit of life.

"We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised." - Philippians 2:12-13

This means building deep relationships and communities, actively seek out meaningful encounters and looking for ways to be able to serve others with my time and talent. Figure out what my passion is and pursuing it, and not be afraid to stretch myself so that I can get where I want to be. But most importantly, nurturing a spiritual life in the form of Bible study and prayer and developing a heart of gratitude for who God is in my life.

3. Have faith in my Creator.

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. " - Philippians 1:6


Beyond a healthy dose of optimism, my happiness is ultimately rooted in my relationship with God (not my career or marriage or social status). I am not defined by what I do in life, but what He has done for me. I rest in the understanding that I am fully known and intimately loved by Him, and trust in His promise to take care of my every need.

[Credit: Sarah Kim]

Happiness, as I have discovered, is not an end goal, but simply the by-product of living life how God has intended us to. Writing this does not qualify me as an expert on happiness, but I wrote this with the hope of encouraging anyone who may be struggling through a season of your life. Please leave a comment here or send me a message on Facebook if you'd like to chat- I'd love to hear from you!

2 comments

  1. Perfect time to read this. Thank you :)

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    Replies
    1. I am glad this spoke to you- thank you for reading!

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