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The key to happiness (click here)

I’ve been gone, as I’m sure you have noticed. Life has been crazy and a bit overwhelming, but it has not come without a lot of learning. So instead of catching you up, I will jump right in.

I found a quote yesterday that pretty much sums up how to be happy. Because, man, we try so hard, don’t we? We are like the masters of striving when really we are often chasing our tail.

I happened to find this quote in the bible. But whether or not you are a believer, I find it a very fitting and practical approach.

So I wanted to share what I found:

Be joyful always:
Keep your joy in tact. What makes you feel alive? Do THAT. You officially have permission not to complain, wallow in self-pity, or look at your problems, but to look at the things God has placed around you that give you joy. Your family. Your friends. Your kids. Your hobbies. Sunshine. The ability to walk and run and drive around.  Laughter. Good books. Phone calls. I mean, even STARBUCKS, for goodness sake! Count your lucky stars, people.

Pray continually:
It’s not about you. Look at the bigger picture. Yes, life completely sucks sometimes. Many of us can say that several times over.  God doesn’t really ignore this fact. In fact, He repeats this several times (though maybe not in those exact words….) throughout the bible…well more than several, actually…because He knew we’d get upset about it. We’d say it wasn’t fair. We’d blame Him. We’d throw fits. And fits can be ok sometimes, as long as we are being honest with God in the process. Pray continually. Tell God how you feel, don’t candy-coat your prayers, and feel free to ask Him why. Just be ok with not getting a direct answer. Because sometimes the answer is within the process of brokenness and grieving itself.

 Give thanks in all circumstances:
This is pretty self-explanatory but also probably one of the hardest parts of this verse. For some reason, we are so wired to look at what we don’t have. We like to find excuses for why we feel lacking: I don’t have this, my life isn’t that way, GOD HASN’T GIVEN ME THIS YET. When will be learn life has started? It will not wait to start once we have what we think will bring us happiness or joy or satisfaction. Give tremendous thanks for those good things in your life you are missing because you are too busy looking at stuff that you don’t have or stuff that’s not there. It’s kind of weird anyways to pour so much energy into non-existent circumstances and things, don’t you think?

This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus:
I know I’m definitely guilty at “trying to find God’s will” in my life in terms of a career, or starting a family, or whatever. But ultimately God’s will and heart is that we look to Him for our satisfaction, and live our lives the best we can. Love our family, be faithful to our spouses, be giving to friends and strangers, and seek God in all things. If that leads to a specific calling or job or so on, than that’s awesome. But otherwise, the rest is details.

I say all this because I feel I am finding my way to new levels of contentment. The days of struggle still come, but instead of wallowing in it, I am learning to keep the hope in me alive through prayer, fellowship, writing, and the Word. I do things I love to do. I try to keep myself healthy and happy. I am beginning to take some steps towards things I’ve always wanted to do, things I’m passionate about, but kept waiting for that perfect time in life to pursue.

But Cody and I realize that there’s no perfect time to do anything. With a little encouragement from friends who aren’t afraid to push us a little, we are shaking free from some things that have clouded over the things we love. If God sets something in your heart, jump in.

It’s not called faith for nothing.

Be joyful always;
pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not put out the Spirit’s fire….
hold on to the good…

1 thessalonians 5:16-21

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