Are you happy?
I don’t mean at this very moment; I mean, do you live a perpetually happy life?
Yes, I know there are the Tiggers of this world who naturally see the cup as half-full, and the Eyores who naturally see it half-empty.
But despite our personality traits, with which we are born and which are directly linked to our gifts and talents, we can live a perpetually happy life.
And I’ve found the secret!
I fall somewhere in-between Tigger and Eyore – leaning more toward Eyore.
I am highly creative and extremely introspective, which lends itself to melancholy and at times depression. I feel keenly and deeply….all things.
Earlier this year I began asking myself some hard questions, and this is one of the questions I asked myself. Am I happy?
And the answer surprised me. No, I wasn’t.
Sure, I had moments of happiness, even days at a time when I would ride a tidal wave of excitement over an accomplishment or event. But, overall I was not happy.
And so I began asking myself what it would take to make me happy.
Oh – I knew better than to think that a thing or accomplishment would make me happy. I knew my happiness must be a direct result of my relationship with God. And yet, I was in the best place spiritually than I had ever been, and I still wasn’t happy.
And that is when God divinely orchestrated an event to show me how to be truly happy in life.
On June 18th Good Morning Girls began a study through the book of Ecclesiastes. I think most of know it for its statements “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” and the chapter on times and seasons.
But what I learned from Ecclesiastes completely changed my life.
You see, while I was so excited about traveling to the States to see my family again, I was also a bit tied in knots over the fact that my whole house was being renovated and I wasn’t there to keep an eye on what was going on.
That was only a reflection of how I live: Driven, worried, a need to control, perfectionism. And it mattered very much to me that the house turn out just like I’d dreamed because I would be very let down and disappointed if it didn’t.
That’s when I learned a lesson that changed my entire outlook on life.
Ecclesiastes is a lesson in an attempt to find satisfaction in everything but God alone. Things, food, accomplishments, relationships – these were never meant to satisfy us, only to be gifts from God’s hand for us to enjoy.
Satisfaction, however, only comes from God and anytime we misuse the gifts He has given us to enjoy as an attempt to satisfy ourselves we will come up empty.
During those 5 weeks of our study through Ecclesiastes, I began to use those feelings of anxiety as warnings to ask myself what misused source of satisfaction I was turning to; and then I would remind myself that that thing, that person or that accomplishment was merely a gift to enjoy.
But true satisfaction must come from God.
Paul talked about this when he said, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Paul wasn’t talking about settling.
That would be wrong. He said that he was hungry. Had he settled for being hungry – “I guess God wants me to be hungry today” – that would be a wrong response. God doesn’t want us to be hungry.
No, Paul was content because he learned that his satisfaction didn’t come from being either full or hungry, having lots of things or having a few things.
He was satisfied in God and that satisfaction freed him to be happy no matter where life took him.
One of my favorite quotes is by John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” And when God is glorified in our lives, the natural result is a happy kiss from heaven because we are free to embrace life’s twists and turns, because we aren’t looking for “right circumstances” to give us a feeling of satisfaction.
Satisfaction in Christ is freedom!
I would like to say that I have fully learned my lesson and that I am perpetually living a life that is only satisfied in God, but the truth is that I had to remind myself of this lesson yet again today.
But I can also say that I am more happy, more contented, more solid, and far less driven today because I am learning that true lasting satisfaction isn’t found in food, things, relationships or the fact that I am self-employed and doing the very thing I’ve always dreamed of doing.
Lasting satisfaction is found only in Jesus Christ.
And that is the key to a happy life!