pursuit of happiness

I confess that the thrill of our adventure into the 10-acre wood has all but vanished for me, fickle human being that I am. My days are filled with lists and that nagging notion that there is always more to do, in spite of my busy hands and sheer exhaustion. I feel guilty when I choose to sit and read (or write) rather than clean out closets and cupboards… another part of me resents the burden of all these extra tasks that have invaded my life… and I get frustrated with my lack of maturity about these things.
This was my choice. I knew what it would mean and chose it willingly. What do I have to be frustrated about? During those times of normal routine when I had plenty of time to complete all of my necessary tasks, I imagined myself as a gracious person– patient, compassionate, thinking of others, giving generously of my time and attention. But then I entered real life… and where did that lady go? Turns out I am miserable, resentful, exhausted, short-tempered and selfish.
This past week has been especially difficult. I have lost my temper and my joy, and I am afraid that my children may think, that I simply don’t want to be with them. The truth is, I just don’t have much left to give to them right now. I know this isn’t the good-Christian-mom thing to say (because our kids are supposed to be our priority, right?), but it’s true. I try to imagine myself as that mom who can plan out her days so that her kids get her “best” and not her left-overs… but I come to find that this isn’t me.
The thing that most disappoints me about my current inner state is this: it seems I have bought the lie that my life is supposed to be about my pursuit of happiness, that I am on some journey to find my “happy place” where all is well and at peace and I can finally take a deep breath, relax and enjoy it. I am not satisfied to be on the way, on the path. No, I must get there and I’ll be pissy until I am.
Even now, as I tell the truth about who I am and have been, I want to fix whatever is wrong with me, so that I’ll be happy (and then everyone around me can be happy, too). Can’t I just change my thinking about the work on the house? Could I just order my tasks differently, schedule some “days off” to play with the kids? Maybe I should call in some help from friends? None of these are bad ideas, and I may actually choose to do one or more…. but there’s something deeper going on here, and it disturbs me.
As a Jesus-follower, happiness is actually NOT my goal. It’s not what I am aiming for in this life (yet somehow, it seems some part of me must think so). My goal is union with Jesus– to put on his way of life, to have his heart and mind, to follow him so closely that it is hard to tell where he ends and I begin. I trust that happiness will result, though I prefer to call it joy. I trust that peace, wholeness, beauty and goodness will come of this union. But those things should not be my pursuit; they are not my focal point.
My focus is Jesus, the King of Love… in the face of my children, in the soapy water where my hands get wrinkly, in the vacuum cleaner and the dusting spray, in the voice of my burdened husband, in the piles of junk that I don’t know where to put, in my exhausted and sore muscles and my chaotic brain. Jesus. Jesus, my Lord. Be my pursuit. I will say it until my heart and mind follow in obedience. I will speak it until it is true: I pursue YOU, nothing more and nothing less than YOU.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris Ann Schultz
    Mar 13, 2010 @ 11:15:53

    Wow, truth and honest emotions. Thanks. I can truly express emotions too. Except, I think I’m on the other side of the chaos and things will come together in the next few months, ending in surgery, this summer, not the summer I was looking for, but lots of writing and reflection, may occur there too. Lots of organizing, before it starts and after it ends. 🙂


  2. Gloria Swartzendruber
    Mar 13, 2010 @ 11:35:14

    Kris Anne, I could feel your soul. What great writing. How proud I am of you. Thank you for writing this.


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