Is Happiness Relevant?

There is a cultural push in today’s world to “do what makes you happy,” “do what makes you feel good.” Honestly, these phrases and this mentality boggles my mind and even infuriates me. This type of mindset can even be dangerous and detrimental to any and all it impacts.

Go ahead. Get annoyed with my approach. Get frustrated. Get angry with my words if you’d like. However, before you turn away, click the back arrow and decide to never again visit this blog, finish out this post. Read till the end and then decide…

Struggle doesn’t feel good, but it brings the ability to persevere. Conditioning doesn’t feel comfortable, but it brings a strength and durability that wouldn’t exist without it. Conflict isn’t something that brings enjoyment and “all the feels,” but it brings more wisdom and experience than the avoidance of conflict ever could.

When I struggled to teach my sons to bathe themselves, dress themselves and wipe their own backsides, it wasn’t always sunshine and roses, but as I persevered, they learned how to be little men. When I conditioned my mind to not dwell on the thoughts of my father’s abandonment in my childhood or on other broken relationships that have wounded and scarred my life, it was never comfy, but in my consistency, I have learned to stand strong. I have learned to be stable on my own, forgive the craziness and pain of the past, and become a durable, strong and reliable woman. When I have had conflicts throughout my years, never once did I look at those conflicts with giddiness or excitement, but every single trial has brought me closer to my God, deeper into wisdom and has instilled more insight, more perception and more maturity than any truce and moment of surrender could ever bring forth.

Living for every “happy” moment not only causes us less growth, but it causes us to miss out on so much richness that is freely available for our character and soul. Seeking only the thrill moments and avoiding every difficult moment, causes us to be selfish, self-consumed and altogether blind to anyone else in our life.

Living for only what “makes me happy” causes us to seek personal pleasures, eventually, at the expense of everyone we love and care about. This only leaves us lonely, desolate and desperate. Addicts, divorcees and abandoned children can all attest to this truth.

So, I choose to grow. I choose to mature. I choose to be strong, resilient and dependable. I choose to dig deep and persevered through the storms of life. I choose to choose life not the fantasy or the fairytale.

And because I serve God, and I love Him, I choose to glorify Him in all I do rather than allowing the winds of cultural “happiness” seduce me to believe that “doing what makes me happy” will actually bring me happiness and “all the feels.”

Advertisements

What Do You See?

Recently, I had lunch at the Swan Coach House in Buckhead, Georgia. If you want to see the Old  Southern Belle style of Old Atlanta, this is your place! It is rich in history and character. 

Behind this restaurant is the original Swan House (mansion) steeped  in even more history and character.  It was amazing to see the richness of decor, even to the detailed carvings above the door frames entering the library study. It seems this family spared no expense, lavishing the halls with beautiful furnishings of the time and even building out the master closet wth marble and huge vanities and closets. The gardens, lush and magnificent, capturing the attention of Hollywood with the filming of The Mocking Jay and various weddings of the area. It was simply breathtaking. 


Yet, as we traveled up the four flights of stairs to the very top floor of the house, we entered two rooms which were very plain and practical with no decorations or fanfare. It became apparent this was the former slave quarter and the ironing/folding/cleaning room. The slave’s room was said to be very close to what the actual room had been like. There was a bed with a simple quilt, a dresser with a few essentials, including a handwritten note on “How to prepare a perfect evening (bed) turndown,”  a little side table with a fan, and a rocking chair by the window. 


In comparison to the rest of the mansion, this room was so unattractive, it shouldn’t have made much, if any, impact. However, as I walked over to the gigantic, porthole-like window, I was struck in awe of the beautiful view. It looked out over the magnificent gardens below, and I began to imagine what it might be like to live as the slave within this home. 


The work would probably be unimaginably difficult, taking care of all the household chores, caring for the children (the children’s room was just down the hall), taking those four flights of stairs everyday to go to and from the various duties throughout the home. Oh, but that view kept drawing me in. It was simply breathtaking. 

I could imagine sitting by the window at night, gazing up at the full moon that might shine through. I thought of the early rising sun, chasing away the dark of night, the dew glistening in the gardens below. The work of the day ahead shadowed just a bit by the beauty which greets you in the morning light. 

In this life, we will have trials. We will have tough times, hard work and difficult obstacles which will threaten to overwhelm us. Yet, we must push through to survive. We must set our sights on the important things, and our perspective must be in the right place to not only survive but to thrive

What do you see before you? Do you see pain? Do you see difficulties and turmoil? Do you see brokenness and despair?

Or do you see an opening to life, a porthole of hope, a window of beauty that will sustain you through the storm?

Heart Questions

Why do babies die too soon?Questions-of-the-Heart-300x259

Why do mothers get cancer?

Why do fathers die tragically?

Why do friends hate and kill?

Why do the innocent suffer?

Sometimes, my heart asks the hard questions, the kind of questions that don’t have easy answers to find. Sometimes, my mind scrambles to understand why evil can be so prevalent in a world in which God made and in people whom God created. Sometimes, life just seems unfair, unruly and undesirable.

Often, I wonder why innocent children are taught to carry guns and strap bombs on themselves to kill people of another religion and race. Often, I wonder why this one is healed of sickness and disease and another says goodbye. Often, I wonder why one family can be so blessed and another can be left so desolate.

In all of this questioning, I have found some answers to be true…

We live in a fallen world, and we’re not home (in heaven) yet. This life we live is not perfect, and we become fools when we believe it should be. There are evil men (and women) in our culture today, and their only intent is to wreak havoc wherever they can.

Sometimes, people are in the wrong places at the wrong times. Sometimes, people are doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes, people aren’t doing what they should.

There are laws of the land which, just simply, must be followed, like “Gravity is real, and if you think you’ll jump from that building and remain unharmed, you’re just wrong.” There are, also, spiritual laws which, again, if you desire a better life, must be followed. Even if you’re not a believer, you can see that ‘reaping what you sow’ comes to pass. As in, “If you think you can spend all that money and not go into debt, and not owe many people in return, you are just fooling yourself!”

There are some things that just “are what they are,” and there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s some things that are just sin, and sin will never bring about good things in the long run. There’s some things from which we must learn lessons in order to grow and mature beyond where we are, and there are some accidents and “freakish happenings” which just happen for no apparent rhyme or reason.

I don’t have answers to all the why’s, how’s, and when’s, and I would never try to presume that I do; however, I can tell you this: I know a God who does know all answers and so much more. I know He is faithful and true. I know He loves us, and I know He cares about every little or big thing we face. I know He is there when we need Him, and He can carry us through the storm when we can’t carry ourselves.

How do I know this, you might ask? I know this, because I believe. I know this, because I believe His Word to be true. I know this because of my personal relationship with Him. I know this because of the changes I have seen, not only in my own life but, also, in the lives of so many with whom I’ve come into contact.  I know this because of the miracles He has done in my life, and not only in my life, but in the lives of my family, my friends and, even, in people I barely know.

I know He is God. He is faithful. He is true, and He loves me and you. Does this mean, somehow, that my life is never, or will never, be touched by pain, grief or aguish. NO! Just because I believe in a loving God does not mean I will never experience something bad. I’ve seen and experienced plenty of things I wished I hadn’t, and I’m sure that I will experience more in my lifetime. That’s just life, living in an imperfect world with imperfect people. Even Jesus, the Son of God, experienced heartache, pain, suffering and, also, death. By no means, am I better than He! Sometimes, life is just not going to be what we expected it to be, but that doesn’t make Him any less of a perfect God, any less of a living God! It just makes us human and living in a human world.

So, will I always have more questions than I have answers, well, I hope so. Questions make us search our hearts, search down in our souls. Questions make us seek for deeper meaning. Questions make us seek for a higher purpose, an understanding beyond our own.

The Bible says…

Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

*Note: I do not own nor do I possess this picture. Found it by simple Google search. Directed to http://achurchofchrist.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Questions-of-the-Heart-300×259.jpg

Tunnel Light

  

I wonder if the closer you get to the end, the more light that you will see?

 

Do you feel you’re in a tunnel today? Keep walking. Keep pushing. Keep going. You can make. You will make it. I have faith in you. 

Most importantly, God has faith in you, and He is cheering you on. You are His. He created you, and He loves you, no matter who you are, where you’ve been or where you are right now. Trust Him, and just believe. 

Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”