essay

Life is not a roller coaster

I have often thought that life was like a roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs.

And then I realized one day that life isn’t a roller coaster at all. I’m not simply heading up or down–it’s way more complex than that. It’s a journey, taking lots of different paths.

When it snows, the snow gets deposited in the mountains for months. Then it melts, and runs down in so many different ways until finally, it arrives at its destination. The water has lots of different destinations: The water can become part of a beautiful lake. It can run into a reservoir and then be used to irrigate crops and flowers. It can sink down into the water table and come up again in a well for plumbing and drinking. And you know what? In each of those instances, the water doesn’t do any good on top of the mountain. It has to flow into the valley before it’s worth anything.

If the rain is really focused on ups and downs, it will completely neglect to realize why it is there.

We go through so many different journeys throughout our lives. I read the other day that you don’t figure out how to write a novel–you just figure out the specific novel you are writing. And life is like that–you don’t figure out how to live. You just figure out what you need to do right now with your own specific circumstances.

So while we want to be happy, happiness is not found at the top of the roller coaster of life. It can be found in the deep valleys and even with the weight of the world pressing down. We are happy not when life is easy; we are happy when we find our purpose and we are doing our best to live it.

 

inspiration

Problems

I’m lighter when I’m lower, I’m higher when I’m heavy. (“Nico and the Niners,” Twenty One Pilots)

So there was a diagram in a book I just read (Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life) about how we respond to problems. We all have problems. But there were two ways to respond to problems: one is that you keep trying to be a better person and go forward to what you want to achieve in life and hold on to what you value. And the second one is that you run away from problems, and you hide so that they aren’t as hard, and you value that you want to not feel pain the most.

We get to choose our perspective, our attitudes, and what we do day after day. If we have goals for ourselves and are constantly trying to become better, our problems are going to be a lot different than when we just want all the problems to go away.

I was recently reading a post from a difficult time in my life–I was very busy with school and facing an uncertain future. And while I had to read hundreds of pages and write dozens of papers, all while trying to serve others and be a good daughter and friend, I found that I found a deep amount of happiness.

I am happy when I am pushing myself to do more with what I already have.

I do not always do that. Instead, I try to avoid the problems of tiredness and exhaustion and disappointment and all of that, and I find myself not pushing myself very hard some days. I say I can take a day off and watch TV. Or I can just check things online. I need a break.

I don’t need a break. I am more tired when I take naps and sit around all day. I am unhappier when I watch lots of television.

When I engage in lots of projects, when I go on adventures with my kids–when I choose to push myself to do more and do it better–then I find happiness.

It’s hard. Because I have to stop myself running away from the pain and tiredness of trying myself.┬áBut it’s worth it to try.

When we try to choose NOT to have problems, we end up with the problems that we hate the most–like depression, regret, and a wasted time.

When we choose to hold onto what we value, we often will find ourselves with the pain and problems of loving others, be engaged in good causes, having good work to do–and yes, sometimes we will be exhausted and hurting, but we will be heading upward to the place we need to be.

And God will help us do the work that we need to do. His way is not really harder–it’s happier. It’s better, for He provides a way even though the problems seems great. He will help us see simplicity in complicated problems, feel strength in weakness, and give us protection and safety in times that are hard. And even though following Him can seem difficult, it is always worth it.

inspiration

humility

Humility is not about thinking less of yourself, but thinking more about everything else.

It doesn’t require putting yourself down, but lifting others up.

Humility means that you have confidence, but you are honest about what you can and can’t do, and you see how others can help you.

Humility is realizing your place in a greater whole. It’s being a member of a team and a group and wanting the group’s success more than your own.

Humility is trusting yourself and trusting others and knowing that you can’t go at it alone.

Real humility is not demeaning, but the opposite: you gain self-worth and confidence as you realize your place and accept the help and support that have always been holding you up.