By Guest Blogger Dennette Bailey
I am currently in a trial period that I thought would be a great story to write about when it was over. My exact thoughts when the trial began last September were, “Wow, this will be a great come-back story!” The whole theme of my story, I thought, will be perseverance. I would write about how when one door closes another one opens.
I hadn’t anticipated that the trial would go on this long, or that it wouldn’t have a great ending in a matter of a couple months, maybe even weeks.
So here I sit, having not even a cracked window or an open space under the door to slip my hand through like those Facebook postings moms make of their toddlers stalking them. In fact, there were times when I thought someone had purposely boarded up the windows and doors leaving me gasping for air.
Then I thought, “Maybe the time to share my story is while I am still in the trial period.”
So, I decided it might be therapeutic for me to write about the fact that I have not had a great come-back. I thought maybe someone out there might be compelled to share a similar struggle with better results for my encouragement. Someone else out there maybe had a prosperous business and decided to close it down and start over so they could have new experiences and grow more and even become debt free while they did it. Someone else out there declared their intelligence and education would make the world their oyster. Someone else out there hadn’t anticipated that the world is not always as enthusiastic as we are, not always as concerned about the people they say they are in the business of helping and not always concerned about integrity over numbers. Maybe that someone can help me, because for all of my years of experience, quite frankly, I was a naive little child. Learning that was honestly, quite depressing.
But the story I want to share is that I learned something about myself.
While struggling with my decisions over this trial period, I learned that I have been suffering not so much because of the mistreatment of other people or the lack of integrity I encountered in the “work for the man” territory. I was suffering because I have a need for control. I love the art of planning. I have always planned my life, as it offered me security and comfort in the way food or sex might add security and comfort to others. The idea that I have made a plan that has not been successful has been so utterly devastating that it has inhibited me from being my best self.
I have learned, not by choice mind you, that I can be content in this circumstance of failure. My plan did not work. At least not in the timeline I set for myself. I am giving myself permission to learn from a failed plan. I am giving myself permission not to know the next step but I expect the next step will come to me. I am teaching myself to be happy with my trying more than with my succeeding.
This trial is not over but I am choosing to be happy in a circumstance I did not choose.
I thought I was happy because I was a perfect planner and in control of my life. I realized though, that my joy was really being determined by my circumstances.
Now, I am making a decision daily to be happy and not let my circumstances determine if I can be happy or how happy I can be.
I have been blessed to have lots of success and so my adulthood has been very “happy.” I have realized though, that this circumstantial happiness distracted me from true joy. If I am truly to be happy, it cannot be determined by my circumstances.
I anticipate one day this true happiness will be like learning to ride a bike. I will remember my days with the training wheels and I will remember the days it took me to learn without training wheels. I will remember that it sure seemed to take me longer to ride without training wheels than some other people I know. But I will know that comparing myself to others won’t do me any good. I believe that the extra training time on my “bike” is going to benefit me and the other people I will work with in the end. And in the event I hit a bump while on my “bike,” all of this experience will help me get right back up and keep riding or walking my “bike” if I beat it up too bad.
Although this trial is not over (I know I said that already but I really don’t like this trial) my contentment with circumstantial happiness is. From now on, my circumstances are a result of my happiness, not the creator of my happiness.