When asked in a pastoral counseling session, how do I start or where do I begin, that is a highly individualized question that needs a very personalized answer. Unless of course you are in the lush Palestinian mountains with your disciples and followers and a man named Jesus is leading the conversation.
I have used the phrase "where do I even start" a lot lately. There are so many aspects of my life that are starting over again. I am now, for all intents and purposes, single once again, putting two children through college by myself and facing the onerous task of battling cancer at the same time. How do I lead a life that reflects joy and happiness even in these dark and daunting times? Does happiness even exist and, if so, where does it start?
I have to sit back at these times and reflect on all that is happening and how changes are propelling other changes and how with each baby step forward, I am not looking back. I am trusting in the promises of new life as I reopen my heart to all that God has to offer me on a journey that He is guiding me on. I have a choice, clearly, in which path I take. That's what free will is all about...choosing your own path with the information provided to you. Biblically, that would mean leaning on God's words and promises and making right choices in our lives. Does that mean they will all be the right choices? Well, I think you know the answer to that is No! But it does mean we start with Him. We take the journey one day at a time and relish the time He is giving us here on this earth. We work towards easing the burden of others daily...why? because they have been put in our path to show them The Way.
We have all been grafted into the family of God, each and every one of us. How we perceive that grafting, part of a family? being a prisoner? a crock of *&%$@? will determine if, when, where, why and how our happiness begins. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell us that if we positively impact someone's life, even on the smallest levels, spreading the love of God that we ourselves are experiencing, our lives are bound to feel the effects and reverberations of that impact, and most likely in more ways than one.
For me, I have to say that happiness starts afresh every day that I look to God and thank Him for the life He is giving me now, not just the life I have led, which sometimes was not so very pretty, and not just a prayer for the future life I want, which is being cancer free...but NOW, happiness starts right here, right now when you choose it to be your guiding force throughout your day! Joy will abide in you when you choose to begin!
"Happiness starts here,
Journeying along the path,
Joy expressed through God."