First off I have to say THANK YOU to all my new friends for all the encouragement you've given me on my comments. I'm really new to the blog world and I'm not quite sure how you go back and forth on the comment thing. (Any tips or advice is appreciated) Also for those of you who have never seen or heard of a 2 story Target, well it's true we've got one, and give me a couple days, and I'll post some pictures for you.
So now back to my regularly scheduled (but usually a day late) Say Yes to God study hosted by Lelia on the book Behind Those Eyes. We are working through looking at our different masks and this week it was Ms. Happiness. Come on you know her she's the one we pull out when we meet up with someone we don't particularly want to see that day, the one that we bring to work with us, or the one that gets us to do and buy things because it's what we "need" to make us happy. Frankly she has gotten me in all kinds of trouble. Quotes from the author are in purple.
Lisa describes Ms. Happiness this way, " She is the outward personification of a jovial girl, even though she is still searching for its inward source. Though able to act happy, since she never truly found the root of happiness, she is forced to continue looking for it in places it will likely never appear." Been there done that.
"Happiness is not always what it seems, and someone can easily impersonate happiness with out actually having it." At work I have the ability to show the surface condition of happiness at the flip of a switch. I can be extremely annoyed or frustrated with an employee situation or just finished a heated discussion with a resident, when the phone rings flip the switch I'm the happiest person in the room. I've even been able to pull it off when a person walks in my office. That ability is just a facade and it doesn't change the way I'm feeling inside.
"A lot of things can make us feel happy for a time. But a lot of them can also let us down almost as quickly as they perked us up." Lisa asked why we think of happiness as the Holy Grail, and if our standards for happiness are low. The world tells us that if we have everything we want we should be happy. If we own the right stuff, look the right way, or are with the right people we'll be happy, we won't feel empty anymore. That's a BIG FAT LIE. When we listen to that lie we look for our happiness in temporary feelings of excitement, thrills, and then those feelings wear off, and we are left empty again. We are sill unhappy sometimes even worse off then when we started.
Ms. Happiness has 3 tactics she uses. "You can make yourself happy. Someone you love can make you happy. Something you have or do can make you happy." I've tried them all and guess what they didn't work.
Make yourself happy. "Often the more we invest in ourselves the emptier we feel. .... The more time you spend thinking about you, the less satisfied you are with yourself or anything else If we look to ourselves to provide the happiness we need in life we are barking up the wrong tree." This has never worked for me. I've done the "power of positive thinking stuff" but I couldn't hide or forgive myself for my own baggage. I know where I fall short and I didn't like myself enough to be positive. No it's tactics 2 & 3 that got me.
Someone you love can make you happy. "Seeking an outside source to make us happy will never do the trick in the long term. ... Finding happiness from a relationship with another will make you happy until it doesn't. At which point, it will take another relationship, adrenaline rush, or emotional high to keep you there." Have I played this game. I had some kind of romantic or sexual relationship from the time I was 16 until I was 34. I was never without a boyfriend/date/or husband that entire time. Sometimes I would literally go from one to the next one with hardly a day in between. Well this just doesn't work, after 3 failed marriages and a numerous amount of relationships, happiness was never where I ended up. They never filled the void in my life. The relationships ended and I added more pain, shame, and guilt into my own life, and the same into other peoples life.
Something we have or do can make you happy. "The world's mantra insists that the personal perfection can make you happy. Spend more, indulge more, and have more are seen as the golden tickets to happiness and contentment, and women are buying into them right and left. Yet for all our indulgences, we are still severely unhappy." I have done this for years, always trying to fill my unhappiness void with stuff. I learned this from my mom. My father died when I was 12, and that first year mom and I would eat out and then go shop at the mall. I think it was just to hard to be at home for mom, I know it was for me. This is an area that God has been teaching me obedience in. It's the one I've held onto the longest, up until the last year when God has forced me to my knees over it. Sadly it's one my husband struggled with too, and we've got the credit card debt to prove it. When Brett went into recovery I covered my pain with a new fall wardrobe to the tune of $4000. (yes that's the right amount of zeros) and a lot of scrapbook stuff, but I still hurt.
That's when God showed me only He can fill my heart with joy. He said seek Him deeper, love Him, and I will fill your void. When I'm not seeking the joy of having Jesus, life drains me and when I start seeking for my happiness outside of Jesus then I feel empty and sad. I get moody, disconnected from the people in my life, aggravated and resentful. I don't like that Carol.
When I look to Jesus for my happiness he fills me with joy. I find myself being patient and forgiving. I don't walk around resenting the things I don't have but praising God for my life and the many blessings He's given me. I'm not a bubbly person, but many people have told me that they like being around me that I make them feel calm. I believe that's from the peace and joy that knowing and loving Jesus gives me, and they sense that. That Carol I do like, in fact I'm learning to love her.
My verse that I chose from Lisa's list on page 72 and 73 is Psalm 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord radiant, giving light to the eyes. I love this verse the idea of the Lords joy radiating out of me is what I want people to see. Not a grumpy sour puss, or a phony smile, but true joy.
Lisa asked us if we have pure joy, and if we don't what stands in our way. I can honestly say I do have true joy now and I know where it comes from that's my relationship with Jesus. The only thing that stands in my way of true joy is me!. So I'm just going to step over here and get out of the way.
If you want to read more on our study you can head over to Lelia's blog Write From The Heart and read her and link to what some or our ladies in the group are sharing.