For far too long we have blamed someone or something else for being unhappy.
Even once removing myself from environments that used control and power as a crutch, I have found that ingrained in me is a spirit of disatisfaction. And so we cling to people we think we need to make us happy and clutch possessions that we think will provide what we finally believe will fill that void and we shove more delicacies into our mouths hoping that icecream will be the ticket to happiness.
Yet all too often we come up short and we still don’t get it. We still stuff and cling and grasp and clutch and hope that we win the lottery even though we don’t play. And yet Jesus says that to have life is to lose it. Where does grasping come into play when we’re supposed to be loosing everything? We bind instead of loosing. We cling instead of letting go. We demand instead of conceding. And we wonder why we aren’t happy.
It is much easier to focus on the things that make us “unhappy”– the circumstances that aren’t how we would choose them or the people who annoy the ever-loving fire out of us or the politics that lie or the money that never seems to be enough. So the dishes in the sink and the hollowed-out strawberries in the refrigerator waiting for cheesecake stuffing and the grass on the floor can become so overwhelming that we miss that we are eating- and not hungry- and tasting yumminess -with friends who love us- and mowing -in beautiful long-awaited weather. For every negative there seems to be a positive and yet human nature desires that we focus on what we can complain about. Whining never changed anything.
Unless you count the monster it makes of us.
So as I walk around and tidy my bookstore and regain order from customer chaos, I choose to be grateful that I have a mess to clean up because it means there have been smiling faces there that day and people we’ve had the opportunity to bless AND get a blessing from. And I pick up a journal and flip it open to a blank page and see Proverbs 15:15 written at the bottom and tears well up in my eyes. Because in God’s graciousness I have finally understood what it means to let go of my bitterness towards things that have made me unhappy in the past and instead let them point me to the Savior who takes all burdens and heals all wounds and actually provides joy in the journey if I allow it. When the natural response is to focus on what we don’t have but instead we are intentional about dwelling on the blessings we do have.
And we stop letting people tell us that we’ll never be content because it IS possible. Even with dishes in the sink and strawberries to fill and laundry to dry and floors to mop. It is an ATTITUDE of the heart that makes us cheerful. It may or may not help us accomplish more. But maybe it’s not only the destination that’s important but also the climb. God rewards motives more than results.
And so today I stop reasoning and simply rest. Trusting that whatever His plan contains is better for me than anything I could’ve dreamed up. He is the Grand Secret-Keeper.
Only the seekers find the secret.
And so it turns out that the happiest people aren’t the ones who have perfect lives. They are the ones who focus on the good things in life and rebuke negative and angry thoughts. They are the ones who put down the brownie so they can feast on God’s Word. They are the ones who die to the monster inside and invite the Master in. And we find that they are satisfied continually.
“All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15, AMP
“A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.” Proverbs 15:15, MSG