The Discipline of a Happy Life

Having the life you want is a lot of hard work. If I want a clean house, well dang it, I have to clean it. If I want money then I have to get out of bed and work for it–and in working for it, I have to set aside a lot of other things that I might rather be doing. I would rather stay home and blog or go spend that hard-earned money on something I want–but off to work I must go instead. If I want to make something beautiful, I might spend the entire day on Pinterest looking at lovely things to make (and never actually making anything at all). Or I might think up one thing to make and get my rear in gear doing it. When it comes down to it, a happy life is a lot of doing and an unhappy life is a lot of “I want to’s” without the doing–without ever gaining a sense of satisfaction and achievement.

I want to be a good writer; I don’t always want to do the hard work of writing, and re-writing, and staring at a screen. But if I don’t sit down and start typing–something, anything–I’ll never be the writer I want to be. Instead I’ll live with big dreams and plans and never have anything to show for it.

I don’t want to do the laundry and wash the dishes, but I would rather do the work and have the satisfaction of living in a nice organized, clean house–not just dreaming of one while I surf the web. I don’t want to plan meals, go grocery shopping, and make dinner–but I would rather do all these things and have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve worked hard and provided a healthy, satisfying meal for my husband and I rather than tossing another lazy day frozen pizza in the oven.

I want a good marriage but I don’t always feel like being kind and patient with my husband. I don’t always feel like making sacrifices or doing the every day work that goes into building a relationship. But I would rather work at building this relationship and enjoy the peace and joy that comes from that work rather than being selfish and lazy and losing potential happiness simply because I don’t value marriage enough to fight for it and work hard at it.

On a deeper level, I want to know God and his word better. I want to be a mature, faithful Christian. But I don’t always want to do the work that allows me to know God better or to mature in my faith. I don’t want to take the time to read my Bible, I don’t want to step back from my busy life and take the time to pray–I want what I want but I don’t want to do the work.

Life is a series of choices and each choice you make today impacts the life you build for tomorrow. Even though doing one thing may sound better and easier right now, will doing it allow you to achieve your goals and build the life you want long-term or will it hinder you and waste one more day?

What do you want to do? What is keeping you from doing it? If what you want is within your power and hard work is the only thing keeping you from achieving your goals, do the work–you won’t regret it.

28 thoughts on “The Discipline of a Happy Life

  1. Pingback: No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links « No Wasted Ink

  2. Par excellence! The work is what decreases sadness and increases joy. Procrastination and laziness are a natural inclination in all of us. I always say, “the cure for procrastination is one small step.” I amaze myself over and over when I take that one step. It might even be a baby step but that step gets me going and what I end up accomplishing is so rewarding. I hope many others will heed your fine words.

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  3. Definitely one of the best “six-word stories.” Simple, pure, straightforward. So much life packed into those six tiny words. Everyone needs to make it their mantra!

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    • Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for the nomination–I’m so flattered! Unfortunately, I don’t think I have time to follow up on this nomination properly so I’m going to pass but thanks again for the encouraging words and support! -Kari

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  4. good read, thanks for posting! Often my busiest days are those that started out by me declaring I was going to be lazy that day. So often joy comes in the doing, the mundane boring things with the result of a clean home, an organized life and a kitchen smelling of a wonderful pizza. This is a great reminder.

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  5. I really like that part about marriage, you’re absolutely right. It also makes this Friday at work go by a little bit faster. Thank you for sharing. Your blog reads like water, easy to digest, and smooth. Thank you for writing. 😀

    Pink.

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  6. Great post today! I can totally relate to wanting to know God deeper but not wanting to take the time out of your busy day to read your Bible and pray. I had that exact conversation with myself this morning. I was debating as to wether I should spend some time with the Lord or if I should do something more “productive” instead. I find that everyday is a constant struggle of these decisions and am I really willing to do the hard work to see the reward. It reminds me of a quote I have come across about giving in to what you want most at the moment instead of working towards what you really want in the future. Thank you for this good reminder about making those decisions each day and being more willing to put in the hard work to see the results.

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  7. I love how you put my thoughts into words..Sometimes I procrastinate a lot with day dreaming and find out at the end of the day that I’ve wasted an entire day doing nothing..thank you 🙂

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  8. Thanks for writing this I needed the inspiration. There are alot of things I want to do but never get around to doing them. Having read your blog makes me understand that instead of saying my favorite line “I don’t have the time” I’m going to make time. As people we are only really happy when we do what we want and accomplish what we never thought we could. We just never get around to it.
    Thanks for the inspiration!!

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  9. Thanks for the post, Kari! As always, well said. I think a lot of people need to read this. my friends call me Ms. Ghandi because they feel as if I am always preaching about hapiness and peace. I dont consider it preaching just telling them that hapinness is a choice and they need to work at it. Most people think happiness chooses them.
    Thanks again!

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  10. Good stuff Kari! It is so easy to say “I’ll get to that later,” or “give me just a few more minutes,” and before I know it my day is almost gone and all those big plans I had for getting big accomplishments done are gone as well. Have a great day!!

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  11. I liked that line, “If I want to make something beautiful, I might spend the entire day on Pinterest looking at lovely things to make (and never actually making anything at all).” because yeah…that’s me.

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  12. Thanks, Kari! I needed this…a little fire under my booty!! I feel God telling me He has plans for me, things He wants me to do in and for Him (Ps. 139:16, Eph. 2:10). I have been hearing Him speak, but I have to move from hearing into doing. If I just hear Him and don’t do what He says, I am not really His disciple, and my faith is not accomplishing anything – it’s dead (Luke 6:46, Jam. 1:22 & 2:17). At the same time, I remember that it is only by HIS grace & by the power of HIS Spirit within me that I do anything!

    I really love the way you write and process. It is very helpful to me 🙂 Thank you, again!

    In Christ,
    Natalie

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  13. What an inspirational way to start my morning! Yes, I’d rather sit here and read great blogs (and write too) but if I don’t want my family to starve, I’d better get to my food shopping this morning (along with the myriad other tasks dotting my day). But, great read and validation that it’s all worth it. Thanks!

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