I am a realist, also known as a pessimist. My worst-case scenarios dress themselves as facts of reality so I listen to them. But by the grace of God, I married an optimist. I fell in love with a man who can find a sunny disposition in the most thunderstorm cloud of circumstances and this has been God’s way of building my character.
We work together, create together, walk through messes and successes together. At our lowest points, I have been fraught with worry and fear. He will join me there for a few minutes and then he will make a joke, do a dance or offer to pick up donuts.
At our highest points, I have been nitpicky about all of the details that could have gone better and will mentally move on to the next thing without taking the proper amount of time to revel in a present good moment. He will laugh, smile until his cheeks hurt, and suggest we do something to celebrate until I have no choice but to give in.
This made me wonder why I can’t just be happy sometimes. Why is my good never good enough to me? Why am I always looking for a way to raise my already unrealistic expectations for myself? What’s up with that?
Having Matt in my life is teaching me to go ahead and get happy. To remember, I’ve been tormented with love so long, experienced plenty of heartbreak. To remind myself, I’m just a human being with flaws and imperfections and that doesn’t make me unworthy of love.
I don’t know if that little girl of divorced parents needs permission to go ahead and get happy or what. I don’t know if all the years I spent trying to integrate myself into the lives of people I wanted to love me, made me feel like there was some bar just a couple of feet shy of my reach and that I would never meet up to its standard.
Experiencing hard times is the lot of every human being, but this doesn’t mean that I can’t shush my realist/pessimist brain when necessary and enjoy the good times when they come. Life will bring plenty of hurts, but I will also experience many great firsts, opportunities to laugh and smile until my cheeks hurt.
I think God wants me to go ahead and get happy. Just because I’m a full-fledged grown adult doesn’t mean I don’t need God to show me I’m okay, to be my dad, to prove to me that I don’t have to keep chasing this unrealistic bar, to show me he’s proud of me, pleased with me, to depend on him to teach me how to simply be myself and be content with that.
So before I critique myself or other people, I’m learning to take the time to be thankful, to say thank God I made it. To say thank you to this amazing Jesus I’ve given my life to. I don’t have to try so hard to be an insider. I don’t have to press my cheeks up against the window of someone else’s family, cool kids table, home.
I have home with God, in conversations with friends, in the love of family, and in my own soul. When I remember this, I feel less of a need to prove myself. I can finally stop trying to figure out what’s wrong with me and just live, love, and enjoy being loved.
My daily realist/pessimist prayer is that God would help me to lean on his grace and learn to go ahead and get happy.