Scripture Challenge

Part of being a Christian is reading the bible and learning how to work the messages and lessons into your every day life. After reading a friend’s blog post (http://lamerediaries.blogspot.com) I decided to try something new. I went to Bible Gateway to read their Daily Verse (most websites have them, and I know my YouVersion App has one).

Today’s verse is oddly one of the most over-used and cliched verses out there. It reads the following:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV

So what can I take away from this message to make my life better and more fulfilling here on earth? I take the following lessons.

Love is patient. I need to remember that everyone has lived a different life than mine. Just because something makes sense to me or just because I would do things some way doesn’t mean that another persons choices are wrong. I need to be patient with others (as I would want them to be with me). 

Love is kind. Love means not holding or saying a bad word against people. This is very hard for me. I like to tell people what is wrong with my day or how I’ve been wronged (“Can you believe the person who I’m working with showed up an HOUR late today?”). The problem with that is that if you focus on the negative you’ll only see the negative. Also, being mad at someone or thinking not kind things is only going to negatively affect the way I’m feeling.

It does not boast. I’m generally not a boastful person so this is fairly easy for me to understand and apply. Basically, do not brag or show off the wonderful things in your life. Be happy, express your happiness. However, do not do it in an attempt to make other people feel inferior about what they have.

It does not dishonor others. Love in some ways can apply to the work you do or even the strangers you meet in every day life. Do not dishonor others means treat everyone with respect and as Jesus would have. There’s an expression somewhere along the lines of Be the Christian Message you want people to see. I know that’s not exactly what it says but basically act in such a Christian way that people who are new to the faith don’t need a bible to know what Jesus teaches.

It is not self-seeking. The Bible tells us to act in a way that will honor and please God. It is important for me, and everyone, to remember that when you make decisions in your life you need to make them bearing in mind what God would want you to do, not what you would want to do. If you don’t know how to react in a certain circumstance, you can always go ask God for guidance.

It is not easily angered. This is similar to patience. Be appeasing and don’t look for reasons to find fault in others. The expression “Be slow to anger and quick to forgive” is one that echos the sentiment of this phrase.

It keeps no record of wrongs. This goes back to something I read in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” she says she built a better marriage on the concept of quitting with the score cards. Love isn’t about who has done what for whom, or who messed up and how. Forgiveness means just that, forgiveness. If the Heavenly Father is not keeping tabs on each and every sin you commit (thank goodness the list would certainly be long) then why should you treat others, especially those that you love, the same way.

What do you think? What practices do you use to help you become and stay a better Christian?

My Happiness Project

I’ve made mention in a few posts that I am working of letting go of anger, anxiety, and depression (feelings I feel like I’m naturally inclined towards) in an effort to create a happy life. I have heard so many maxims saying things like, “You are in charge of your own happiness”, or ,”Happiness isn’t a moment in time, it’s a state of mind.” I never really thought much of them until I realized a few months ago that I simply was not happy. I don’t know that “unhappy” was the word, but happy was something I didn’t feel.

The week we came back from vacation I said, “That is ENOUGH!” I was done with the feelings of constant stress/anxiety. I spent half of our vacation wandering around our beach house because I simply didn’t know what to do with myself, I felt like I needed to entertain someone, or be in a certain room, and like I owed other people things at the expense of my own happiness. And it simply was not that serious.

When I got home from vacation I started taking ten minutes a day to write down goals for the day and to write down good, or simply positive things that happened. I tried to write down everything. If I put the dishes away before work, I wrote that down. It might seem silly but putting those dishes away was something that I accomplished, and it is nice to not come home to a chore, so it went down on the list. The goals were things like, “Go to Pilates” or “Start One Load of Laundry”. Honesty- the goals were normally small things that I could accomplish that would make me feel good about myself. In some ways, it has kept me accountable for my exercising too.

Another thing that I have started to do it taking yoga and pilates classes (in addition to spinning and running). I have always been interested in yoga, but my gym didn’t offer it. I had ignored classes like Pilates and Yoga before because they weren’t “calorie burners” When I got home from vacation though, I told myself, if I am going to the gym 4 or 5 days a week, versus once or twice when I was only running, who cares if I do Pilates and Yoga?

I think Yoga has really “calmed” me. Sometimes I just need someone to tell me, just breath. The class is a vinyasa flow, so it’s pretty easy on me, and I am able to take it at 6:30 on Monday nights. I am able to go into the rest of the week just feeling at peace.

I am still a major work in progress. I have a lot of work to do towards becoming truly happy and at peace with my life, but I am working on it, and that is a huge step. Some days (especially weekends) I have trouble remembering to write down happy/positive things in my journal. But on Monday morning, I don’t say, “Screw it I haven’t written anything down in 2 days.”, I do it anyway.

Do you have any recommendations for my happiness project? Any books you can recommend (I do want to read “The Happiness Project”)? Any activities you can suggest? Any mantras or quotes that might help me? What about other blogs? Any advice here would be great!