Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chapter 4 Ms. Happiness

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.


Tammy R said...

You keep it so real,girl!

I love your openess and how Satan no longer has a hold on you.

Blessings my friend,

Paula said...

Wow Carol, what a great post! It's amazing how we live in this world, so far apart, yet we're all basically the same underneath! No wonder we need our Sisters in Christ! Your post has reminded me that, despite what I said about things in my post, that I have sought happiness from things, as I have a whopping great big credit card debt just like you, but a bit bigger. Half through satisfying my needs and half through having to cover up for the needs of he whom I booted out! Thanks for sharing in your post too; open, raw and best of all, real! Love ya, Paula

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I'm not a bubbly person either, another thing we have in common.

I enjoyed reading more about you. I admire the joy and assurance you have now in your life. You have been through so much and the Lord is blessing you now with HIS rewards in HIS ways.

It's a blessing to see how the way we work doesn't work.

I said it just as you did...sometimes trying to seek our own happiness ends us not only unhappy but actually worse off than we started.
Love ya,

Amy L Brooke said...

Thanks for the encouragement to look towards Jesus rather than circumstances or someone else to make us happy or better yet, full of joy.

Anonymous said...

I like how you described how you dislike the Carol who searches after happiness...

But you like the Carol who searches for Joy in God....

Me too... count me in! :)
God bless,

Lily said...

These post always send a chillup my spine and bring tears to my eyes. The writing is so authentic and really strikes a cord deep in my soul

Anonymous said...


Your honesty is so refreshing-thank you for continuing to share your life story.

"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."

Amen--I am stepping aside with you!


Runner Mom said...

Carol, what an awesome post! Sharing your heart just shows how much you trust in Him and how only He can fill you with His joy. I love how you said that "the only thing that stands in the way of true joy is me, so I am going to step over here and get out of the way." Girlfriend, you are so right!
Many blessings,

I can't wait to see the pictures of the two-story Target!!!

Cindy said...


I just had to come back by and thank you for your kind and encouraging words on my blog. I have been so blessed this week by my bloggy friends.

I am doing much better today and have rejoined the land of the living.

Blessings, Cindy

Laura said...

As I read your comments, I can see so clearly how you have grown through all this hurt you've been through. It's so amazing to me how God uses the hard stuff to bring us to a place of joy. I really admire you, friend, for sticking with it. Sounds like you've gone down a lot of roads to get here!

Anonymous said...

You are one tough cookie, with the most tender and God-filled heart! You have been through SO much in terms of emotional hardships, yet you have learnt so much and remain steadfast in your Faith. Bless your heart and thank you for sharing in such a valueable way... Naomi x

Connie said...

Carol..God began a good work in you and he is continuing one day at a time. Loved your post this week. The picture on your blog shows a happy you and I like it! Connie

Heidi Zawisza said...

Carol, thanks for stopping by and I'm happy to feed your funny bone. I figure I might as well do SOMETHING good with the chaos that's called my life!!! ha!
Anyways, I look forward to reading your blog. I read your informational page, and am intrigued by your testimony.
Have a great weekend!

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

Okay, I just want to know if the two story Target has escalators or one of those cart mover things? Isn't that the coolest thing?

Thanks for visiting my blog. I was blessed by your comment and so humbled. Great to have you join with me in the adventures! :)

Liz said...

I love your post, especially the line,
"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."
Isn't that SO true?? I need to step over with you because I know that mySELF is the only thing that gets in the way of a full and joyfilled life with God!
Thanks for sharing the story about your friend. I do not want to be the one still carrying around bitterness 15 years later, but the one who finds God's purpose and mercy in all things...even the things that bring pain and take away what we THINK is our happiness. Thank you for your encouragement.
I love your new photo and layout. You are beautiful, joyful Carol!