Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Forget happiness, I pick Joy

I have been spending alot of time lately trying to make myself happy. Im so afraid of being broken down by my IF journey that I want to make sure I maintain a level of happiness. So I made a list of 101 things to do (which I still love, by the way) and have been trying to let things bother me less and focus on the good more.

Then I read the following info by Rick Warren and it hit me. Im so often dissapointed because I let things, events and people control my happiness. I let the happenings of my life dictate when I am going to be happy. But if I focus on God's everlasting love and his path for my life, I can live a life filled with joy. And that, my friends, wont be ruined by my nasty insureds, my stupid broken garage door or my IF journey.

So here is the passage, enjoy!

“Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy …” Philippians 3:1 (NLT)

A man once told me that he’d broken up with his fiancĂ© because she didn’t make him happy enough. Mind you, he was happy with her; she just didn’t make him as happy as he felt a future wife should.

What this man told me gives memorable insight into how some people view happiness: They believe happiness is dependent upon the people, the things, and the circumstances that surrounded them.

Yet, the Bible says don’t settle for happiness; aim for joy.

Joy comes from within; joy is not dependent upon the people in your life, or the possessions you accumulate, or what’s happening at this point in your life.

God says you’ll find joy, when you trust that he’s in control and working to use the good – and the bad – of your life for a greater purpose.

The apostle Paul understood this, writing about joy while in prison, chained to a guard, alone in a foreign city: “Whatever happens, dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord give you joy …” (Philippians 3:1 NLT).

He suggested there are two keys to transforming mere happiness into a deeply-felt, ever-present joy:

First, live each day by grace. Grace means you don’t have to earn God’s love or his approval. And here’s some joyful news: If you don’t have to earn God’s love, then you don’t have to earn anyone else’s love.

God offers his love unconditionally, and you can joyfully live in that grace everyday, all day long. Understanding this drains the tension from your life: you can make mistakes and know that you’re still loved by God, who desires a relationship with you over any rules or rituals.

The man who broke up with his fiancĂ© appears to have had difficulty in understanding grace. His love came with conditions – “As long as you make me happy, I’ll love you” – and that means he probably assumes the love he receives from others is conditional too. How can anyone experience joy when they live each day thinking they have to earn love?

Second, stay focused on what’s really important. There are a lot of little things that can steal your joy – but only if you let them. Jesus taught this: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).

My sister, Chaundel, thought about this Bible passage when she learned her house in Maryville, California, was under 9 feet of water. While she and her husband, Tom, were out to dinner, the local levy broke and flooded the area. Even in her grief, she joked, “We drove our Chevy to the levy, and the levy was dry.”

Looking back on that time, Chaundel says, “God taught us that such a loss really makes you think about what’s important and what’s going to last. Our possessions were wiped out in a matter of minutes, but the important thing is that we were alive and well. Within a year, our house was rebuilt, but we could have never replaced each other.”

Happiness is overrated. On the other hand, joy is often forgotten. Yet, joy will stabilize your life as you embrace grace and focus on the things that are truly important, moving a bad hair day down the list and relationships up to the top. No matter what happens, may God give you joy.


Greg and Heather said...

What a beautiful BEAUTIFUL POST! May the JOY of the Lord be your strength today and every day through out!

jbwife said...

That is awesome and completely true. I think it's very easy to say this will make me happy and that will make me happy. Joy gets easily overlooked, but when you read something like that, you realize it's time to take a step back and refocus. Thanks Shannon!!! I needed to read that :)

Carly said...

I am wishing you all the Joy in the world shannon- and I am praying for you these next few months

Amy said...

What a great passage. Thanks so much for sharing that. You have no idea how often your posts make me think and reflect upon the things I'm doing/not doing. I truly thank you for that!

Molly said...

Thank you for sharing this...

Shannon said...

Thank you so much for posting that Shannon. I really needed that, and have already copied and printed it out to hang here on the wall in the office. I'm very similar to you in that I am always relyin on others to make ME happy, it really time to think about that. Now is the time to find the joy in my life and concentrate on that.
Thanks again!

Kristin said...

I went to a retreat this weekend that was about "simply being" or living more mindfully. The leader said that we need to let go of the "snapshots" we have in life or rather not let our expectations of what WE want to have happen affect us. A woman in my small group used this quote from ALANON "Expectation is premeditated resentment." It really stuck with we as did you post!

Ro said...

I love it, Shan. And it's completely true. Happiness is temporary, it's something you feel. Joy is something you have. May your heart be filled with joy, now and always.

Love you, hon.

Kristi said...

Wow Shannon, what a great post! I feel so much like you do, that I let my daily struggles or successes control my happiness. I really need to try to remember that as long as I put my everything into God, that happiness and peace will come along with it! Thanks for sharing and inspiring so many of us!


Marie said...

Nothing like unspeakable joy! We are all capable of having true "joy" even through discouragement and sadness.

Thanks for the encouraging words and for choosing Joy!

Spreding Joy Daily