Maybe if I had a new car, I could be happy. Maybe if I had new clothes, I could be happy. Maybe if my kids would listen. Maybe if I had a glamorous career, or my kids were in school, or if I had her body or those friends or maybe when my kids are grown or wait maybe I want another baby. I just want to be happy. I don't want to feel discontent and longing for everything in the world. WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY???
I know I shouldn't feel this way. I have everything I have ever wanted. My girlhood dreams may not have been yours, but this is what I wanted when I was a little girl. I wanted to be a stay at home mom. I wanted 5 children. I wanted to be a wife. In fact my reality is even more amazing than my girlhood fantasies, and yet I find myself feeling discontent most of the time. They say you can't have it all and that is true, but does that mean we have to mourn for the rest of our lives the things that we chose not to have?
Proverbs 14:30 says, "A sound heart is the life of the flesh: BUT envy the rottenness of the bones."
I don't know how long I've been in this funk, but it's been a while, and I'm sick of myself. I know that I have absolutely no justification for feeling so unhappy. I have a good life. So, obviously being happy has nothing to do with what we do have or don't have. Happiness must be a state of mind.
Proverbs 17:17 says, "A merry heart does good like medicine, BUT a broken spirit dries the bones."
Proverbs 15:15 says, "All the days of the afflicted are evil; BUT he that has a merry heart has a continual feast."
Could it really be that simple? If you see yourself as afflicted all you days will seem evil... even the good ones? If you have a cheerful heart every day seems like a feast? Can having a cheerful heart really be as good as medicine? Can it change the way we view our life? Famine or feast? Is it really up to us?
Is being JOYFILLED as simple as being GRATEFULL??? I think it might be.
Is it me or is the sun shining brighter this morning? Are the birds singing sweeter? Is my husband sexier and smarter than he was yesterday? Are my children more adorable this morning? Does the food on the table taste better?
A few weeks ago I decided that instead of being a petulant, ungrateful, whiny child, I would get up and have a praise session. I would praise the Lord for every single thing that I could think of. The next day I got up and did that again. I left my requests out and just spent time thanking God for anything I could think of. The next day I got up and did the same thing. All the sudden I had a new pep in my step. I had more energy to put in my life and relationships. I felt a calmness creep in my soul and that grew into a sense of contentment which turned into pure joy. Nothing had changed. In fact some things happened that would normally drive me into a pity party, but not this time. My heart is full and I feel good.
King Solomon, who was the wisest man who ever lived, says he gave himself to anything his eyes desired, but he came away with this...
"Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. Let you garments always be white, and let your head lack no oil. Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun, all the days of your life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might.." Ecclesiastes 9:7-10
God now accepts your works... has the meaning that God wants you to enjoy your life. His will is for people to enjoy the simple things in life and be thankful. Being thankful for all the simple pleasures in life and keeping our eyes focused on our own lives and not what other people have is the key to being JOYFILLED. Being happy has nothing to do with having more or different, but trusting God that whatever he has given me is everything I need. Turning my eyes from what I don't have to what I do have and being excessively grateful for the blessings that have come from His hand.
"Blessed be the Lord, who DAILY loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." Psalms 68:19