Would the Real Ms. Happiness Please Sand Up?


We are already on week four of our Tuesday Bible study! Can you believe it? That’s one thing about a good book like this one (Behind Those Eyes by Lisa Whittle), the reading goes fast!

This week we read about Ms. Happiness.

Sigh. Aren’t we all on this quest? If we just find the perfect man, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect family, the perfect (fill in your object of desire here); then we can finally be happy.

In the meantime…fake it.

We wouldn’t want to admit that as followers of Jesus we often feel tired, poor in spirit, weak, and just plain ‘ol empty; would we?

That would be akin to admitting we had bought into one of those pyramid schemes that came toppling down—heavy bricks clunking the entire way.

Trouble is, we’re only human after all. We are all subject to seeking an imperfect way to fill our empty places. Before we even think about it, we’re off, following our own plans for happiness.

Lisa identifies three quests we often embark upon in search of a happy life.

  • You can make yourself be happy.
  • Someone you love can make you happy.
  • Something you have or do can make you happy.

Pertaining to #1, I found the quote from Robert E. Quinn, a business leadership authority, very interesting: “It is our hypocrisy and self-focus that drains us. When we become purpose centered, internally directed, others focused and externally open, we discover energy we didn’t know we had.”

“Others focused.”

I love that. It means to stop thinking about yourself and help someone else, for crying out loud. Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth wrote a whole book about this concept called, What Happy People Know (okay, it’s about a little more than that, but helping others was a big part of it.)

Our society has become extremely self-centered, and, as Lisa points out, this has not upped our overall ratings of happiness. What’s more, we are teaching our children this lopsided view of self, further perpetuating the myth of self-improvement.

It frightens me.

I want my kids to be wildly successful in all they endeavor, I want them to be well-rounded—athletic and intelligent, I want them to have friends and hobbies, a great self-esteem…

But above all that, I want them to be happy.

We all know where this is going. True happiness can only be found in One place.

If I am not investing in this One place, how can I expect my children to value It?

And, the Bible tells us that in this One Place, we will suffer hardships and trials. We will have times of unhappiness. That’s why I love how Lisa points out the difference between happiness and Joy.

I’ve always thought of happiness as circumstantial. But joy…oh, my. It goes so much deeper. It’s a toe-tingling, soul electrifying, heart-stopping kinda thaing.

On my way home from work tonight, I was talking with the Lord. I was busy telling Him about my latest stuff, talking over the praise music..using my hands to punctuate. We were in deep. Then, I glanced to the side of the road and was struck silent mid-sentence. The leaves on the trees had started to change into the most glorious garment you could ever imagine. The beauty of that God-painted still life took my breath away.

Joy.

It’s all from Him.

Ms. Happiness ain’t got nothin’ over me.

Comments

  1. says

    Points well spoken. Focusing on the source of joy and finding Him in nature and praising Him are wonderful ways to have undescribable joy.

    Thank you for sharing.

    KMTM

  2. says

    You truly get it, don’t you? 🙂
    You know that true intimacy with HIM and nothing is worth losing it.

    I love HIM in happy times and even when, as the song says, “there is pain in the offering”.

    I would have never said that before. HE is my desire and the only thing I cannot live without because HE is the air I breathe, literally and figuratively.

    You do get it, Precious Girl. It’s not circumstances or gifts or health, wealth, prosperity – it’s HIM.

    Blessings and prayers,
    Teri
    p.s. Let me know what you want me to pray for. I am making my list..to help me remember, not My Father.

  3. says

    Oh, girl. You rock.
    First, there was this comment:” then we can finally be happy.
    In the meantime…fake it.” uh. yeah.

    Then this! “That would be akin to admitting we had bought into one of those pyramid schemes that came toppling down—heavy bricks clunking the entire way.” gotta love how we single-handedly feel like if we don’t show ourselves as shiny-happy-Christians, then we can’t sell our beloved Christ to all that need Him. Cause, you know, He really needs our help, right?

    You have a gift for pointing to Him, friend.

    Darlene

  4. says

    ~Joy. It’s all from Him. Ms. Happiness ain’t got nothin’ over me.~

    And all God’s people said, “Amen!”:)

    You are singing my song, Laura.

    Much love to you,
    Amy:)

  5. says

    Laura,

    It’s interesting what you wrote about your children. In my boys baby books it had a section that asked me what my “wishes” for them were. I wrote that I wished for them to be happy. If we as parents don’t go to the only source for joy and live by example how will our children find it?? True joy in spite of our circumstances. You gave me something more to think about.

    blessings,
    Kim

    **I noticed the leaves by me yesterday also–they are just amazing right now!!

  6. says

    I just love when I’m driving by myself and talking to God and He opens up my eyes to see His beauty.

    I think since I’ve started blogging I’ve become even more aware of every day things that perhaps I took for granted before. Now I think…”That would be neat to share!”

    Sat. morning I was driving and was in a nice neighborhood in my town and saw a little boy in his underwear with a water hose and his daddy was close by doing something in the yard. I thought….how precious!
    Just about 10 min. later I had driven to a different part of town and there were two police cars with their lights on at a home where adults were obviously being evicted. The police were standing in the yard as the adults were loading items into vehicles. There sat a little boy on the porch watching.
    I thought of the comparison of the first little boy I had seen…in what appeared to be such a stable home….loving father and then the other situation. (not meaning he isn’t loved, but definitely a totally different lifestyle….) but just the thought of seeing that broke my heart for this family.
    This doesn’t have a lot to do with joy or with your post, but just a reminder that as we drive along and spend time with God in our cars or wherever, to be aware of what He is trying to show us and teach us.
    Sorry so long!
    I always love your posts and am blessed by your writings.
    Love,
    Valerie

  7. says

    Well said or rather well written.

    I love you slant on things.
    Until then, we fake it.
    We’re only human after all.
    Help someone else, for crying out loud.

    I can see you driving down the road punctuating your prayers with your hands. :-)how cute. Don’t let me be the driver next to you, though. JUST kidding! hehe

    Oh, while on your blog, my cursor just happen to go over top your icon for the book Brody’s story.

    Girl, I didn’t know you are a published author. And this is only book one of the series from the description I read on Amazon. You go girl. How many other books do you have?

    Love ya,
    Paula

  8. says

    I want some colorful leaves!!! We don’t have those in Phoenix!

    I can remember driving from Mississippi to Augusta, GA to watch my sister, Karla, ride in a barrel race. I am surprised I didn’t have a wreck because I gawked at the fall leaves the WHOLE way. I marveled, I oohed, I ahhed, and I said, “Lord, You are the most vivid and creative artist EVER!” I’m so glad the Lord answered you back with such a display…as if to say…”Write a praise song about THIS Missy!” 😉 Have a great week! Lee

  9. says

    Thanks for those words.

    They are making me think. I want my daughter to be happy but I am seeing her struggle with her friendship with someone. I want to step in and do things for her. I’m trying to pray and counsel her…but let her make her own decisions. It’s so hard. I fear UNhappiness is coming. But, she loves the LORD and is spending more and more time with HIM because of this situation. I pray it draws her closer to HIM.

    Sheryl

  10. says

    Hi Laura,

    It’s Cindy back again but this time to thank you for your sweet comment on my blog. I held each word and thanked God for so many kind bloggy friends.
    I am doing so much better today and actually posted something a little less whiney today.

    Thank you again precious friend,
    Cindy

  11. says

    Love this post. You made me think about what am I portraying to my daughter. She needs to see me search for Joy in Jesus, just not have me tell her about it.

    Carol

  12. says

    I read this this morning in my devotional and added it to my blog….fitting for this concept of happiness-“I like to cultivate the spirit of happiness! It retunes my soul and keeps it so perfectly in tune that satan is fraid to touch it. The cords of my soul become so vibrant and full of heavenly electricity that he takes his friendish fingers from me and goes somewhere else! Satan is always weary of interfering with me when my heart is full of the happiness and joy of the Holy Spirit.” ~L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert Devotions
    I loved how He caught your attention-abruptly in in a good way through the changing leaves. Just love that!
    Blessings!
    In His Graces~PAmela

  13. says

    Everytime I come here you somehow give me goose bumps…I’m looking down at my arms & got ’em.
    I had this whole visual of you in the car then just having your breath taken away. So cool. He really is.

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