" The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who seeks happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts, and multiply the griefs which he seeks to remove. The trouble often is, we are too selfish, to unyielding in our arrangements for life's best good. Because we cannot find happiness in our own way we will not accept it in its appointed way, and so make ourselves miserable. Some excellent people are very unhappy from a kind of stubborn adherence to their settled convictions of just what they must have and what they must do to be happy. They lose sight of the fact that GOD rules above them, partly at least, beyond their control. They have not determined to accept life cheerfully in whatever form it may come."
~S.C. Ferguson and E.A. Allen
If I stopped there it would be enough, but those of you who know me...well....
I must process ....
that's just who I am...
Stuffed in a cubbyhole of my coffee table you will find three books written byBob Shultz. They are devotionals for boys: Boyhood and Beyond, Created For Work and Practical Happiness ( A Young Man's Guide to a Contented Life).
Love the books.
The above quote came from the last one: Practical Happiness.
The title threw me and my cynicism almost prevented me from buying it.
Let's be honest...
Happiness is whimsical at best...and very subjective.
The million dollar question is: What makes me happy? ( that's higher than the usual $100 question I know, and since we're all overspending to try and stimulate the economy, I thought I get some back...it's tax season you know!)
The cliche answer: God makes me happy.
In 1980's vernacular: GAG ME with a spoon!
At this point in my life I don't have time for pointless insincerity.
Or religious BS.
What we would like to be true and what is true are two completely different entities all together.
Take it from me: I KNOW!
As each year passes I marvel at God's patience with me.
Having committed my life to Christ at a vey young age you would think I'd be farther along on the journey...a little bit holier.. a whole lot more mature and way more together.
As I read this quote on happiness to my boys yesterday morning while we were all wrapped up in blankets on the sofa, I was struck again by the tenacity and unfailing constancy of God...in his relentless pursuit of the real me...and the relentless unveiling of himself and his plan for us all.
I have said it before and I say it again: We have our entire lives to learn how to die.
How long have I told God what I need to be happy?
How many lists are running through my mind at any given moment?
How many times have I accused him of witholding?
How many expectations have been unmet?
How many disappointed hopes? Dreams?
How many times have I railed at the silence and demanded that he speak?
How many times have I put MY words in his mouth?
How many times have I taken over the writing of my story?
The interpretation of my circumstances...
Instead of accepting what he has offered..I have held up to him what I believe is being denied.
... and declared that the enemy could not stand in the way.
Who is my enemy?
It depends on perspective sometimes.
"His ways are NOT our ways and his thoughts are NOT our thoughts...."
WILL I EVER LEARN??????
I live in an age, in a country, where I am not likely to be imprisoned for my beliefs...at least not yet.
I have never gone hungry.
Never been without shelter.
Never been thirsty unto death.
I have not been beaten or stripped...or spit upon...or stoned. ( with rocks or otherwise!)
Nor killed. (duh)
I am breathing.
This is a good thing.
I read somewhere once that the 30's are when you see the consequences of the choices you make in your teens and 20's and the 40's are when you decide what to do with those consequences:
1. Accept responsibility for them and repent and be transformed....walking out your life in grace.
2. Avoid and ignore and pretend it never happened....
3. Carry your wounds... and bitterness on you like a garment and remain crippled and disapointed into middle age, and beyond.
Whom have I but you?
I want to live a contented life.
One where I trust implicitly the one who is emminently trustworthy.
One where I don't focus on what is not happening..what is not delivered..what is not offered.
Where I believe that the goodness of God is unfailing.
Where I surrender my desires.
Where I am truly like the son who was happy to do the will of his father.
...and lived among betrayers, fools, murderers, prostitutes, unbelievers, accusers...
..and... was their friend... and died for that happiness.
Love...bears all things...believes all things...hopes all things...endures all things...
Love NEVER fails...
He will never fail me.
He never has.
....and when all is said and done:
That makes me happy....His way.
It is enough.
It has to be.
There is nothing else.