I work with some weird people, and I absolutely love it! I have an eclectic assortment of coworkers who provide endless entertainment. One of the girls I work with and absolutely adore is a free spirit through and through who loves the Lord with all of her heart. You cannot box this girl in, and she hears God so profoundly that you never know when she’s going to come for your life. She’ll get this look in her eye and you know that she’s just gotten a download from the Lord. It’s so cool!
Sometimes she’ll just look at me and ask a simple “are you happy?”, a question that always catches me off-guard.
I don’t usually think about happiness. In fact, it almost never crosses my mind. Being happy is not a motivating factor in my life–it’s so far from my primary concern that I never know how to react when she poses the question. But I’ve come to appreciate her asking.
This is rarely my answer because I so seldom know when I’m happy. After she asked this question more than once, I began trying to think of recent moments when I’ve been decidedly joyful.
Writing words that I know are Holy Spirit inspired.
Recording episodes of the Strategic Whimsy Experiment with a dear friend.
Solving problems by bringing two parties together.
Standing silently on the beach and watching the waves roll in.
When was the last time you were decidedly happy?
This is usually the answer that flies through my mind first. It’s as if the pessimist in me comes out and wants to squash all joy. I really am good at being a Grinch.
It’s almost as if I think I should be unhappy, that happiness is a piece of frivolity that a serious person such as myself shouldn’t even bother with. I tend to unintentionally turn my nose up at things that are loud and raucous and joyful, but why? Why the pessimism, the cynicism, the seriousness?
I think it plays into my perfectionist facade. Joy is a vulnerable position to take and it’s one that I probably assume too infrequently.
Are you afraid of being happy?
I Don’t Know.
This is the answer that’s the truest. 90% of the time I have no idea if I’m happy because I’m not that in touch with my emotions. I’m on autopilot, especially at work, going through each item on the to-do list, putting out the fires I can see, and trying to solve problems before they become fires.
This question forces me to stop, check in with myself, and see how I’m feeling, even if I have to do this on my drive home. It’s a necessary check-up in an age when it’s so easy to exist on autopilot.
So, I want to pose the question to you. Please know that this is a safe space and there’s no judgment behind the question. There is no right or wrong answer; I just hope that you’re able to answer honestly. After all, this is between you and God. It might be hard to give a real answer, but if we don’t start at a point of authenticity then what’s the point?
Are you happy?
To go Deeper: Read How are You Doing?,
The Fruit of the Spirit Isn’t in the Produce Aisle