I just want to be happy!

How many times have we heard that heartcry - from friends and family....and from the depths of our own soul! Most of the time, I consider myself a happy person. I love life and people and it makes me happy just to "be". Sometimes I find myself just grinning wildly -- for no apparent reason.

But other times, I don't feel that joy. I want to, but it eludes me. What I feel instead is a need to get to the shower and have a long, deep cry. Sometimes my schedule affords that luxury and oftentimes the weeping is cathartic. Getting those sad emotions out makes room for happy ones. Other times, though, there is no opportunity to escape to solitude and cry it out. And, sometimes, even when I can make it to the shower alone and sob, the release of emotion does not erase the despondency. It seems to fuel it instead.

I have discovered through the years that I am neither insane nor alone in my fight for joy. From talking with my friends to reading the stories of some giants in the faith to digging into the Psalms, I find that most everybody has to do this same battle. Some find more victory than others. Over the next few posts, I will share some things that I have found helpful, in case you find yourself waging war against melancholy moods.

First of all, check out the physical. We must always remember that we are made up of a soul, a spirit, and a body. And the three are interconnected. Sickness and especially fatigue take their toll not only on our bodies but also our souls (which are our minds, emotions, and our will) and our spirits. When we were in the "little ones = little sleep" stages, my husband coined a phrase -- "sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap". Amen. I have a tendency to assume I have superhuman capabilities and can therefore defy the laws of nature that govern sleep and productivity. In other words, I often push myself too far beyond my physical...and emotional...capacity. So, when I find myself pushing back tears and wanting to be by myself, I have learned to first ask - am I tired? Do I need to adjust my schedule and get some rest? Now, I can hear some of you saying - "that would be nice but I can't. I have too much to do". Yeah, been there. Said that. And got convicted. None of us has too much to do if we do what God has called us to. Where we get into trouble is when we start doing things God hasn't called us to do. I don't need to make a list for you - the Holy Spirit will do that on His own. Just ask Him.