Inspirational

Finding Your ‘Happy’ Back: How I Finally Discovered the Art of Letting Go

happy

I could probably gripe about a lot of things that annoy me when working as a nurse, but if I had to pinpoint my biggest frustration it would probably be computer problems. Like, ugh. Since when do I have to be an IT Specialist?!

I’ve been charting electronically for eighteen years or so, and in all that time I’ve discovered the number one fix when having computer trouble.

You call the Help Desk (appropriately named), and you plead, “help me! My screen is frozen!”

I mean, you just wanna finish charting. You have sooooo much to do and so little time.

Usually the IT person will fire back with, “have you restarted your computer?”

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“I need you to turn it off, give it about fifteen seconds, then turn it back on.”

Reboot. Unplug. Reminds me of calling Comcast Cable. Am I right?!

The IT guy will take control of my mouse and locate some screen I didn’t know existed where he’ll “end” the running programs. Heck, I’ve had instances where I had a handful of programs running at once and didn’t even realize it.

A couple of years ago I realized I wasn’t as happy as I knew I should/could be. I mean, I was happy for my family, time with my husband and kids, our home, and the nuggets of great moments mingled here and there, but something wasn’t right. I loved my life, but it’s like the program wasn’t running like it should. I was frozen by anxiety, stalled by worry, and run down with fatigue. It turns out I had too many tabs open on my dashboard, and I was running more programs than my server could handle. I wasn’t operating at full speed, and I seriously needed to delete some cookies, but not being very techy, I didn’t have a clue.

Remember that movie “How Stella Got Her Groove Back?” Well, I guess I could have titled this post appropriately as, “How Brie Got Her Happy Back.”

Remember how the Help Desk always tells you to turn off your computer, or to end your multiple programs? Well, when I cried out for help in life, God came back that I had too many tabs open. It was overwhelming. I wasn’t running at my full potential of joy because I was running too many irrelevant programs. I had to delete some cookies. Empty the trash.

I started with unplugging. I stopped running and got real quiet. Once I turned off my anxious mind and sought the Lord for what was important in life, I was able to hear His direction. I had to close some tabs. I had to evaluate what I could close out, and what I needed to keep open.

I decluttered not just my mind, but also my life. I stopped activities that weren’t building up my relationship with my family. That direct sales business that was consuming me? I let it go. All the clothes I had to wash? I gave them away. All the trinkets I had to dust? I sold them. The big house I couldn’t keep clean? I let it go. The busy tasks that I thought I needed to do to be a “good mom?” I stopped. The comparisons of myself to other women? I turned my eyes from others, and instead I sought the Lord.

“What do you want for my family, God?”

All the things I had thought were important, I realized they were not so much.

I asked myself, “is this ________ leading my children closer to the Lord? Is is glorifying Jesus? Is it building my witness? Is it built in love, and does it display God’s love to others?”

If the answer was “no,” then I re-evaluated if that was a tab I needed to keep open, or if it was bogging down my productivity.

If it was keeping me busy, but not making me fulfilled, I let it go. Y’all, you’ve never seen such a decluttering. Not only did I sell or give away furniture I had accumulated over a twenty year period, but I also trashed false ideas the enemy had planted in my mind over several decades. I let go of fear over things I couldn’t change, and I got rid of material possessions that took up my time and money. We re-evaluated how much we worked. If we downsized our life, couldn’t we also downsize our work week? The answer was yes. If we got a smaller home and less cars, couldn’t we gain more time together? Absolutely. If we dumped our full schedule and let go of our preconceived notions of how our life should look, we found a hidden treasure.

It was our happiness. Peace in simplicity. A feeling of fulfillment in simple pleasures. A healthy operating system that ran more smoothly with less windows open. The to-do list got chiseled down, and the moments of quiet increased. The problem is, we live in a society that celebrates busy! The fuller your plate, the more successful you must be. But we debunked that myth. We live in a world that says more is better, and then we wonder why our days at work drag like a slow internet connection, or our off days disappear like a hastily deleted file. I’ll tell you a secret. More isn’t better; it’s only overwhelming your system.

Running from one thing to another is typically something people brag about, but then they wonder why everyone in the family falls apart prior to bedtime. Wives and husbands are craving a date night because their schedules are too full for everyday moments together. Families are on countdown for vacation so they can escape the hectic pace of their life. Why is it this way?

When our systems break down either physically, emotionally, or mentally, we cry out to God, “why?!”

And He’s just shaking His head, “I told you to be still.”

Perhaps the cure for anxiety is letting go. Maybe the solution to financial worry is getting rid of the root of the problem. I’m saying that I think the secret to finding your happy is in the action of taking your eyes off the things that cause you stress. Everyone laments about their stressful life and full schedule, but how many are actually finding a solution? If you’ve got too many files open, close them out! If you’re holding on to problems you cannot change, people who cause you pain, and past hurts, then it’s time to delete the cookies. Empty the trash. Unplug. Give your system a break, and when you restart, I’d consider removing all the dangerous files.

I had to get to a point in life where I said, “is this impacting my eternity or my children’s salvation?”

No? Then I’m letting it go.

I asked, “does this have a kingdom impact? Is it glorifying God?”

No? Bye-bye.

And finally, “is it done it love?”

If it’s not done in love or showing His love, then I’m not really about it. I can be happy at my job, because I’m showing His love. I can be happy with less stuff, because I have all I need. Love. I can do less activities that keep me busy, and spend more time loving my family. For my husband and me, every day together is like a date night. When thoughts come to my mind that cause me anxiety or depression I’m immediately questioning, “but is this love.” God doesn’t give me thoughts that aren’t centered or from a place of His love for me. Even His conviction is from His love, but fear never is. When I clear my mind of the outside noise, I can more easily clear it of the inside noise. Interesting how that works.

So, how do you find your happy? By looking for it! It’s just not found where you think. It’s not found in a bigger house and fatter bank account. It’s not found in pay raises and job promotions. It’s not even found in a trip to The Happiest Place on Earth (sorry Mickey fans). Are you ready for it? Your happy is found right where you are. It’s right here. It’s directly in front of you and in your grasp. You just can’t see it for all the distractions. You’re running too many tabs all at once and holding on to files you should have gotten rid of long ago. If you’re crying out to the Help Desk, I can tell you already, they’re gonna ask if you’ve turned it off.

Restart. Reboot. End Program. Because you can only run on so much before you crash.

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Brie Gowen
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Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.

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