I like using chop sticks.

It took me a little while to get the hang of using chop sticks but I’m glad I have. I like feeling like I’m sharing in someone else’s culture even if I’m just eating at a restaurant in the middle of Shawnee, Oklahoma.

I like getting fortune cookies.

Do you grab the one that’s right in front of you or just grab one at random? Sometimes, I wait patiently until everyone has selected theirs and I take the one that’s left. There are clever fortunes, ridiculous fortunes, and every now and then there are ones worth keeping. These tend to end up in my wallet.

I like surprises.

I was having a day recently. Nothing was particularly wrong, I had just been very busy working on multiple things one after another, and most of them had been more complicated than they had to be or than I had expected. It was making me a little bit grouchy!

As I took my wallet out to pay for something, a small rectangular strip of paper went fluttering to the floor. I bent over and picked up what turned out to be one of the fortunes that had survived it’s time in my wallet and wasn’t much worse for the ware. Being in a hurry, I was tempted to just scoop it up and shove it in my pocket. This fortune, however, had two little smiley faces staring up at me and I couldn’t help but look closer. As I straightened up from my bent over posture, I read the slip of paper with the cheery faces.

“Your happiness is intertwined with your outlook on life.”

I like my glass half full.

This was a perfect reminder in the middle of my bad attitude. Of course, my day had gotten complicated. Don’t they usually say that anything worth doing takes hard work? Shouldn’t I be thankful that there are so many positive things going on for me to be busy tending to?  My outlook shifted as I became grateful for these blessings.

I like to like things.

As I listen to conversations here and there it has been more common for me to hear people talking about the things they don’t like. Sometimes using the word “hate.” It sounds a bit like lemon juice tastes as it hits the back of my mouth making my jaw and ears ache. If happiness is intertwined with our outlook, then I pray we look through the lens of gratitude.

I don’t like being stuck in construction traffic. I am, however, thankful that I have a vehicle that can take me far distances much faster than the early settlers of this land could’ve ever imagined. I am thankful for the wide-open road and additional route options that will be available once the construction is finished. 

In conversations this week during Theology at Theopolis, an interesting question was brought up pertaining to whether or not God has created us to be happy. I don’t honestly know the answer. God created us to be intricate and complicated and to experience an array of emotions, but most of all we are made to be grateful. To love and honor our creator, giving God all the glory. I believe these are the ways to happiness. And as always, Lord, less of me and more of you.

Tate Monroe
Director of Discipleship and Development