I always thought that in order to be happy I had to look a certain way or make a certain amount of money or drive a certain car or be at a certain status quo, whatever that was at the time in regards to what I was going through. It’s been a long time coming with lots of soul searching, highs + lows, conversations with God… But I feel like I finally understand that it’s not the “whats” that will ever really make me happy, it’s the “whos”.
I have known people who are poor, people who are middle class, and people with lots of financial stability and a lot of the time none of them are happy when we get to talking about real life. Before I met my husband I was living that single life, living paycheck-paycheck and sometimes overdrawing my account to get things I didn’t even need like the new cool handbag or pair of shoes that I just had to have. I was never taught about money or credit cards or finances and didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into. I was so dependent on having that new phone or that trendy wardrobe, or that new leased car, or always being able to go out and spend money on food and drinks like it was never ending… What in the world was I doing!? No matter how much new and cool stuff I had I was still unhappy with myself on the inside.
Fast forward several years and I’m married with a toddler and have another baby cooking in my belly and I have started falling into the comparison trap. I would look on social media and see all these perfectly decorated nurseries and gorgeously white and clean kitchens and want that, only that! My life wasn’t good enough anymore even though a couple years ago when we moved into to our new home it was everything I had ever dreamed of and more! I would go buy up all the things at the drop of a hat because I wanted to be as good as they were and that’s where I got my worth from, things. It was just so sad really.
It took me 32 years to find Jesus and a year after that I think I have finally determined the way to be happy. Happiness isn’t going to come from the things you have; the cars, the house, the body, the income, the status. All of those things can seem nice and great in the moment but they’ll all eventually fade away. Happiness comes from people; friends, family, others who aren’t like you that you want to get to know and choose to be around. I heard something recently that said something to the effect of, “When you’re on your deathbed you’re not going to ask the nurse to wheel you out to your car to have some time with it. You’re going to crave to have time with the people in your life, not your things.” That statement really did drive it home for me that all the material things I thought I needed so badly to finally make me happy, I didn’t need one bit and they definitely didn’t actually make me happy.
Something I have to try and keep in the front of my mind all the time is to consider my audience. Who is really watching us and looking at the value we’re bringing to the world and how is what we’re doing even being measured. God is the answer, He is our audience…for all of us. God loves me just as much as he loves you and nothing we can do will make Him love either of us any less. I had to come to terms with the fact that sin is sin. All sins are equal in the eyes of God. Sometimes I definitely wish that weren’t true but it is. I’ll find myself judging someone that I don’t even know and I have to bring myself back down to reality and remember that that person is a child of God, just like me. Sometimes I find myself judging me and again I have to try so hard to remember that I am His and he created me already knowing ahead of time that He loved me so much and there is absolutely nothing that can change that and that He will keep searching for me when I’m lost! And man, have I been lost. I am in now way a perfect Christian AT ALL. I don’t think He expects perfections, I think He expects effort. I know I’ll be rewarded for my efforts not my achievements which is pretty much the opposite of most of my experience here in everyday life.
So what’s made you happy this year? Being able to get use from all your Christmas presents, that new thing you had to have but waited until your tax check came through to get it, your new phone that takes the best pictures on the market, or any other material and fleeting thing? When I really think about what has made me happy it’s been the day dates that I’ve been able to take with my husband, the cuddles that I have been getting from my little boy who is really starting to love being close, the times Scott and I take the kids swimming all together and seeing my daughter grow into a little fishy in the water, the moments of truth that have come out between me and my Mom & Dad that continue to bring us closer together, the family get togethers with all the little cousins in the same place and all the joy they bring to everyone. It really is about the people you’re around that matters because where ever we are, as long as we’re together we’ll be happier than if we weren’t.