Thursday, July 31, 2014

No Guilt Should Ever Come From Being Happy.

dress- Asos (on sale!) Sandals- Piperlime (similar here and here) Purse- ℅ Olivia and Joy
Bracelets- The Shine Project

makeup by Harley Chapman

I just got off the phone with my mom, and our conversation sounded a little bit like this:

"Mom, I feel like I'm coming out of one of the hardest summers ever, and right now things just feel so good… Almost too good… In fact, the best they've been for quite a while…"

"Okay, so what the problem?"

"Well that's exactly the problem. Things are so good right now that I'm having anxiety that this won't last long and I'm only getting relief before something incredibly awful happens."

In her one of a kind, mom-like way she basically said:

"Get over yourself. Good things happen and it's not fair to discredit them or God for giving them to you. It's also not fair to think ahead and plan for the worst. We live in a society where nothing is ever enough and people are always looking ten steps forward while missing out on right now. Life happens, and you have to roll with it, but don't trap yourself in not being happy in the moment."

I really am a positive person. I am happy and have a pretty balanced life for the most part. I've had trials that I've had to learn to overcome, but at the end of the day I am very blessed and optimistic. I can't pin point when it started, but I will say that in the past year, I have become fearful of what bad thing will happen next. Actually, I take that back… I can pin point when it started. It was when the kids entered our lives and my heart and feelings inside grew to spaces I never knew existed or that even needed more growth. Sometimes, when you have more to loose, the fear of loosing it is very overwhelming.

I'll give you a petty example of what I mean. A year and a half ago we bought our perfect little home in downtown Phoenix, in an area I had dreamed of living in. We had worked hard to save our money for this place, and were excited for a new chapter. This new chapter eventually brought Zoe and Shiloh to us, a new office for Threads, an amazing job change for Mike, and several other incredible blessings. I never pictured that later in the year, our entire bathroom ceiling would collapse, three of our other rooms would be on the verge of collapse, our air would go out in the middle of 115 degree summer over 10 times leaving us without a place to live, and that an intruder would break in through Zoe's bedroom window one night. This intrusion gave me intense anxiety until we moved out of the house 8 months later. 

Obviously, most of the circumstances listed above are temporal and in the long run don't really matter. AND in every situation we were being protected so that no physical harm ever came to us. But everything we face in life impacts the way we face things in the future. That house situation is a very small peek into my life, and the past year I have dealt with very hard family and work related situations that I have felt very incapable of being able to know how to handle and deal with. In my life, there have been moments where I know nothing else to do other than sit and pray and cry.

And then things get better.

But this pattern of good and bad, I have noticed today, has gotten me in a very bad pattern of over anticipating what is going to go wrong next when everything seems to be going right. It's a horrible attitude. One that discredits blessings from God and moments that deserve nothing but joy, happiness, and gratitude. I'm sure many of you have this problem, too.

Today when I realized that my thoughts and feelings towards my current opportunities and situation in life was completely off target, I sat and I prayed. Part of my prayer went something along the lines of,

...Please take this fear out of my heart, and replace it with faith. Faith that even when things get hard, that you will be there to guide me, and a knowledge that no matter what happens, it will be okay. I don't want to live my life ungrateful about any of my circumstances, and I just need peace and assurance that you'll always be there…

And the peace came.

Just like my mom said, you have to roll with life. Crap happens, a lot. It's life.
But good things happen too, a lot. Because it is life, and we actually are here to be happy.
The nature of my work and life puts me in a lot of other peoples lives who deal with really, really, really extreme and hard situations. I take these burdens on most of the time, so when I feel relief from them, it's a weird and uplifting feeling. Instead of anticipating when things will be getting bad again, life is best lived when living happily in the moment, taking things as they come, and knowing that no matter what, God is on your side.

The reason I share this with you today is because I know that somewhere out there, several of you are currently experiencing these types of feelings too. And I wanted to let you know that you're not crazy ;)
But mostly, I wanted to let you know that you deserve to be happy.

And no guilt should ever come from being happy.


Marie Wreath said...

Yes! I love this message. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop, borrowing grief from the future, just ruining the gift of peace with worry. Feeling guilty because we are so happy, and others aren't, in different ways. All bad habits we can overcome.
Beautiful again, Ashley. Stay happy.

Kaileigh said...

I have always had that nagging feeling during the good times. I always tell people that I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop -- that things in my life can't be all good. I joke with my boyfriend that we can't ever get "too happy" or something catastrophic will happen.
That being said, I really like this advice -- just to live in the moment and not worry about the future. I needed this!

Jenn said...

I love everything about this post and am taking it to heart for myself (a tried and true worrier, who is working on being less of one). Thank you for sharing this!

Niki said...

This is exactly how i've been feeling lately, almost like the good times are simply the calm before the storm. Today i will enjoy the happy and not worry about what tomorrow brings. Thanks for sharing.