Happiness. HAPP-I-NESS. H-a-p-p-i-n-e-s-s.
You know, once you spell "happiness" so many times, it starts looking like a really weird word. It starts sounding weird too.
One time, a friend asked me "What does happiness mean to you?"
That is a really in depth and broad question. The term "happiness" can cover so many different things on so many different levels. But, when my friend asked me, I didn't need to think long to find an answer.
People tell me all the time that I am such a happy person, that I light up the room with my smile, and that my happiness is contagious. I get the feeling that they often wonder how I do it.
Well, it's not my fantastic personality, I can promise you that. It is simply because I AM happy.
To be truly happy, does it mean that you have a perfect life?
To be happy, do you have everything you want in life?
Does a happy person smile all the time?
So, what does happiness look like?
True happiness results from contentment. When you are content with where God has put you, with the life He has given you, then you will find that you are happy. Whether you believe in God or not, if you learn to be content with where you are at in life, with who you are, then you will automatically find happiness. Trust me. Been there, done that, have a t-shirt.
Often, we believe that, to be happy, we need to "make more", "do more", or "be more".
I have struggled with this:
I have tried joining missions, only to have a road block thrown in front of my face.
I have created kids missions just to watch them fall through.
I have made an effort to improve my community only to have it thrown back in my face.
I have considered marriage, becoming a mom and a wife, but the longing has never taken root in my heart and the right man has never shown up.
I have come to the point where I have looked up at the sky and said "What more do you want from me?! What more can I do?!"
You know what I learned? God wants some people to be busy, go on missions, start community projects, and do "more". But for me, He wanted me to stand back. Why? It took me a while to understand...
I have 5 younger siblings. They are awesome. Used to, I thought they were holding me back, weighting my wings down with spit-up and drool and Legos and Tinkertoys. They were pain-in-the-butts and I thought I had better things to do, more important jobs, than taking care of them and cleaning up after them.
God showed me otherwise.
My siblings are some of the most awesome people on earth (yes, I am biased). I have a ton of fun with them every day! We hardly ever fight. We are best friends. Together, we can build skyscrapers and blow mountains up! It's so awesome!
I would have never known the full awesomeness of my family and siblings if I had flown the coop.
I have an incredible talent for writing. I have a gazzilion stories swimming in my head, barbarians pounding on the inside of my skull, demanding to be released onto paper.
If I were busy with missions, community projects, or kids (mine or otherwise), I would not have realized my potential as a writer. I would never have published a book. My siblings would not be eagerly telling the new friends they make that their sister is a published author.
I am still learning my full potential as a writer. I still have a lot of work to do to become better. I mean, at the moment, I only have one and a half books published... not exactly something that is noteworthy.
Happiness does not look like a life changing trip to Africa. Happiness does not look like big bucks or a masters degree, your own house and car, or your even your own published book. Happiness is a state of mind that you must choose to be in. Nothing can make you happy, but being content with your circumstances is a daily decision.
Just because you are not where YOU want to be, because you don't feel happy, does not mean that you aren't exactly where you should be, where God wants you to be. What your heart longs for is often quite the opposite of what God wants you to do.
For me, God kept me in one place because He wanted me to learn to be content where I was at. Once I learned that lesson, I found an open door that I had never seen before, and it led me to a room full of possibilities.
Am I always happy?
No. It is an ongoing learning process. But it is easier for me to be happy, now that I learned the important lesson of contentment.
Do I get irritated and discontent?
Yep. A lot. I also get depressed, feel like I am out of options, feel restrained and suffocated, and I repeatedly have to put grand ideas and dreams back on the shelf where I got them. But when I stop trying to push my agenda, and take a deep breath and focus on what God has me doing, it gets easier. Sometimes, I even catch a glimpse of a bigger picture that will result if I stay where God has planted me.
What is the secret to contentment?
Stop pushing. Start breathing.
It is simpler said than done, but it is that simple.
Your calling may be sitting right in front of you, like it was for me.
Does this mean you need to stop looking for opportunities? Possibly. God has this cool way of dropping stuff into my lap. Maybe He wants to do the same for you? Or, maybe He wants to whisper the plan into your ear, but how can He do that if you are struggling with Him?
The run down is this: a happy person is a person who is content. Contentment is a choice that the person must make.
Ambition and goals in life are good, but sometimes we just need to stop and take a look at the garden we have been set in, just to make sure we aren't missing a chance to smell the roses.
Author of the fantasy series, Tales of the Wovlen, Kathryn spends a great deal of time in the world of her imagination, having tea with fire breathing dragons, writing books on flying space ships, and practicing her mad scientist laugh with gusto. However, on occasion,she returns to this world just to play with her dog and blog about her fun.
Grab a Button!