Finding Happiness

What will make you happy? What do you really want?

More of __________________________.

Less of ___________________________.

And how much more or less will be the indicator of your supposed happiness?

If that which is outside us could fulfill and bring us joy, it would be evident in those who have so much and are so happy. No, we see a world filled with an excess of things and yet empty of joy.

The only true source of joy is found within. It’s found in the quiet place of our heart that doesn’t have to run from the pain or noise of this life.

Peace is what’s lacking.

We will scratch and claw our way through life, blaming others and ranting about injustice until our hearts find this place of peace.

I don’t believe it can be found until we rest in the love of the One who created us.

When we find Him in our loneliness and experience that He is enough, we will have touched the eternal.

It’s not a process, it’s not a physical place, it’s not a person and it’s not a church or group.

It’s Him.

When we believe that we are loved and have been put on this earth for a reason, even without fully understanding that reason, we begin a journey that is evidenced by peace and then joy.

The question is not “what” will make us happy, but “who” will make us happy?

It’s the One who left the stones on the ground and embraced the rambunctious children.
It’s the One who never promised an easy road but promised to walk the stormy journey with us.
It’s the One who walked away from the righteous to embrace the mess of humanity.

It’s the One who loves you. Yes you, mess and all.

Is Your Past Holding You Hostage?

Your mind reels with memories that imprison you. You rehearse the events like Groundhog Day, each time inserting a new response in your mind of things you wish you’d said. If only you’d told them this or reacted like that. But at the end of your minds’ spiral, life is not changed, the facts cannot be undone.

Have you ever been tormented by your own thoughts?

I’ve spent far too long in this life rehearsing pain from my past. Betrayal, regret, even abuse, and I can’t think hard enough to process them through to a place of peace; they have to be taken hold of and released.

You know you should forgive, you want to. You want your life back. You plead with your own heart to just move on, but you can’t seem to find the freedom you desperately crave. The past is holding you hostage as you realize that you still hold out hope that somehow the memories could be different, but as long as we stay in the place of regret we cannot move forward.

Forgiveness and healing can only happen when we give up hope that the past could be different.

There is a settling in our heart that happens when we embrace the truth that the past is done, it cannot be changed. However, we can change our tomorrows, and as I let the remorse slip from my hands I start to see with the eyes of hope.

Hope is a waking dream. —ARISTOTLE

As if we wake from a long slumber, hope brings fresh eyes and dreams of freedom. Thankfully, these dreams can come true if our hope is in the Father of all life because He has promised to heal our brokenness when we bring it to Him.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalms 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

I don’t pretend to think that this is an easy or fast process, but it’s the only process that makes us whole.  This world offers many ways to deflect the pain, but I believe that God wants to bring much more than a momentary distraction. He wants a relationship with us that brings healing and security as we discover His immense love for us.

I wish I had some fancy steps that you could take, an ABC of healing that I could throw out to you, but I don’t. I have the scars that remind me that this life is a journey not cut and tied in pretty little bows but instead a path littered with thorns and crosses, prodigals and promises. I can’t imagine trying to walk it alone, I hope you can’t either.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 NLT

God created you. He knows all, He sees all, and yet He is crazy about you. He can be found in every moment if we open our eyes and look up.

The Haves and the Have-Nots

Do you ever get caught up thinking about all the things you need?
I sure do.
I need this, I need that.
I wish I had this. I wish I had that.
I’ll NEVER get this. I’ll NEVER get that.
How come THEY have this or that????

It can be a downward spiral can’t it?!

God knew that our sinful nature would struggle with this. Jealousy, envy, greed and covetousness.

A desire for what we don’t have can quickly turn to greed when we are no longer content with what we do have.

Heb 13:4-5
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”

Interesting that God goes from the thought of keeping ourselves free from the love of money and being to content; to “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Hmmm… could there be a key to contentment here?

This says to me “I’m here, what more could you need?” I AM enough.
Think about it, we’ll get back to that.

Let’s look at Col 3:5,
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

Idolatry. Idols.
We would not fashion together our necklaces and rings to make a creature that we would worship, but if we are not content and we love things, that’s idolatry.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying things- I sure do!

But loving them more than we love the Lord or people is sinful.

Jesus said:
Luke 12:15
“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
It doesn’t? I thought that “He who dies with the most toys wins.” NOT.

Paul wasn’t light on the subject either:
Eph 5:3
3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Not even a hint of greed?! Not a hint of wanting or coveting what someone else has.
Oh Lord, I’m in sad shape!

What about envy? I looked up the meaning and I found it so interesting.

That discontented feeling that arises in the selfish heart in view of the superiority of another, nearly tantamount to jealousy.
(from The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

Arises from a feeling of superiority. As in, I think that I might be better than someone else so how come they have THIS?

Pride plays an important role here, it’s like the match that lights the flame.

Envy can go beyond “things.”
It can affect relationships. We could envy or covet our neighbors’ husband, or children.

We could envy or covet their emotional or physical health. The list goes on.

2 Cor 10:12
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves.
But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

This truly is the beginning of it all.
We start comparing ourselves with others. We compare what we have to what they have.

I told you that we would get back to Heb 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”

He is the ultimate fulfillment of all we need.
He is the great I AM.

God knows that He is enough for us, do we?

1 Tim 6:6-7
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

We all need things. We all pray for things and situations to change. There’s nothing wrong with that. That does not mean that we are discontent or envious or greedy.

The line is crossed in our hearts.
The line is crossed when we desire “something” more than we desire God.

He wants us to pray, He wants us to ask, He wants us to believe!
The question we have to ask ourselves is; if you don’t get what you are longing for, will it change our love for God?

Do we love Him more than the answered prayer?

Well, I don’t know about you, but this one has hit me right between the eyes. I have some repenting and re-evaluating to do in my heart.

This may have been a heavy word, but we are big girls now, we can take it.
We want to grow right? This is how we do it, look at what God says- then look in the mirror and with His help, change accordingly.

He never asks us to change without offering to help us do it!
Isn’t He wonderful?!
I love Him so much.

(Thank you all for your sweet words about my son coming home!!)

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