Non-negotiable contracts

Part of the beauty of creating intimacy with God is arriving at a point where we take responsibility for ourselves: our actions, our mistakes, our happiness, our relationship with God and with others. This is a quote from theweek.com (reprinted from the New Yorker) from a woman who’s husband told her he wanted a divorce. (You can read the entire essay here.)

“I’d recently committed to a non-negotiable understanding with myself. I’d committed to “the End of Suffering.” I’d finally managed to exile the voices in my head that told me my personal happiness was only as good as my outward success, rooted in things that were often outside my control. I’d seen the insanity of that equation and decided to take responsibility for my own happiness. And I mean all of it.”

As you read the entire essay you identify with her open admission that there were good days AND bad days and just how she got through those bad days.

When we commit to any course of action or change we will always be hit with the, “Okay, what now? How do I get through this pain/boredom/laziness/anger/rage?” I like how she described this “non-negotiable” understanding with herself. As a writer who wants to be a successful writer I can relate with the non-negotiable part of a contract I’ve already made with myself, and it’s the non-negotiable part, the remembering that I’ve already made a decision about sitting down and writing every day. Exiling the voices in our heads is not complicated, it just takes commitment, a remembering of a decision we made to do so back when the idea was much more exciting and doable than on a day that is really, really difficult.

We can find happiness, find an intimacy with God, find a way through a pain that seems like it will last forever but is really only temporary. It is putting one foot in front of the other day after day, week after week even after the fanfare of our contract has dwindled.

Devotional exercise: write 3 things/experiences/relationships/people that you are currently holding responsible for your unhappiness. How will you take ownership of these? Commit today to exile those voices and move forward to be happy in your own skin.

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