I was listening to Randy Carlson one morning on Parent Talk discussing the subject of “happiness.” Happiness is a subject that is really relevant because so many people struggle with it. People think that gifts and material items will fulfill them and make them happy – or they make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, etc in the quest to find happiness.
I hear from women very regularly because of my Emphasis On Moms Ministry. I hear from women who are depressed, dealing with guilt because they are striving for a standard of perfection in their homes, they are struggling in their marriages — and so much of this stems from pressure in the Christian environment to appear that they meet a certain standard – when they are not. And if they can’t or they aren’t – they become unhappy because they feel like they don’t measure up.
I think there is this unwritten rule or standard that for Christians, especially, that we must always appear happy. If we aren’t, then we must not be close to the Lord – right? But it just puts all the more pressure on us. I think we need to let each other know that it’s okay that all is not perfect in our world all of the time.
I am a pretty happy person. But for me – happiness is a benefit of my life – not the goal of it. I don’t strive to be happy. It just comes because of the inner choices I make for myself and my life. I do try to better myself all of the time – but I don’t focus on happiness as a result – because I know that most of the time, happiness is that choice of being content where I am, even if that’s not ideal. It’s knowing I am loved, feeling blessed with what I’ve been given, knowing that I’m in God’s hands and that He will hold me and guide me through the challenges in my life. It’s impacting others on His behalf.
I truly feel content. I may not always be bubbling with laughter due to navigating one circumstance or another – but I have no complaints.
I know that there are people who are always trying to “have fun” – but internally, they are not content or happy. Because they are always searching for that next “high” to keep them feeling that adrenaline rush. If it stops – there’s a hole left in their lives. A hole that I don’t feel or experience because God is with me through all of my highs and my lows. That’s where my contentment comes from.
No one else can make you happy. True happiness comes from the Lord. But God also created us to be emotional people. So I think it’s okay to feel sorrow, dissapointment, overwhelmed, and discontent at times. I think it’s okay to feel those emotions because God created and gave us those emotions!
As we face a new year and a new season in our lives….wherever you are in your life and wherever you’re heading, whatever you’re facing – Be encouraged that God loves you no matter how you are feeling or how other people think you should feel. Stop putting pressure on yourself to appear a certain way if you don’t feel that way – but allow yourself to be real with others.
True happiness can’t be manufactured or created – it comes from within. It’s a choice. I hope that choice comes to you and your home this year. For the contentment and joy that comes from knowing, serving, and growing in the Lord, will bring you everything you need within to sustain you, nurture, and guide you through whatever it is and wherever it is you’re headed.
You can read more of Dionna’s writings at her personal blog – http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com