Monday, January 4, 2010

In 2010, hapiness is ...

My friend Marybeth wants a new post, an inspiring New Year's sort of post. And what kind of friend would I be if I didn't try to oblige?

So here it goes, MB.

Ben Franklin said, "The Constitution only guarantees American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself."

Ever notice that? Life and liberty are fully granted by the U.S. Constitution but the wise authors of this document knew that happiness can't be granted. It has to be found. Or developed. Or maybe carved out.

I am quite sure it has to be nurtured if you want it to last.

What exactly is happiness - ever thought about that? We recognize it when we feel it, but in the lulls between those warm, fuzzy feelings, can we define it? I don't mean define it like Webster would, but define it for us individually. Because I'm thinking we don't always feel it when it comes around. I'm thinking we sometimes miss it ... Even better, can we define it as Christ might if He were to hop on blogger here and post a comment to this question.

So what is your happy?

And for that matter, what can you do to catch it? Or create it? Or position yourself to receive it?

How can you start your day differently in 2010 to catch more happiness?

How can you approach your work and responsibilities differently in 2010 to catch more happiness?

How can you set up your environment differently in 2010 to inspire more happiness?

How can you react to interruptions or distractions to preserve more happiness?

How can you complete your days in 2010 to catch more happiness?

I can't answer those questions for you, but this much I know: If you define your happy in terms of your circumstances - like having a big, clean house, or a big, cushy income, or a hassle-free day - you'll probably experience less happiness than if you define it more simply. More organically. And that's not just because most people will never have a big, cushy income, a totally clean MacMansion, and a hassle free day all at the same time.

Listen to this key to happiness from the author of Hebrews 13:5: "Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, 'I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'”

And this one from Psalm 16:11: "You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever."

Or consider this from Ecclesiastes 8:15, "So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun."

So give it some thought. "What's your happy?"

And if you give this a lot of thought and decide to really embrace this notion of defining and catching your happiness - which I plan to do in 2010 - I really hope you'll share your answers, process or outcome here. Because we can all use a little more happiness ... and a little instruction or inspiration for catching it. Right, Marybeth?
Thanking God for the chance to puruse happiness in 2010.


  1. Jennifer ReneeJanuary 04, 2010

    Rachel, you have given us a lot to think about. I have decided to wake up each morning and thank God for the new day that He didn't have to give me. When interruptions and distractions come, which is usually when I'm on the computer at my dad's or sister's, I will try to keep it from irritating me an be happy to b with family. Even though I long for a close friend from church to do things with I'm happy that I have a few close friends through email. Even though I often feel lonely and become depressed about it I'm trying to find happiness in knowing that I'm never alone because I have Jesus in my life and He'll always love me. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I have found happiness in not working right now because I have more time to read these blogs and find encouragement for my day.
    I love you girl.

  2. Happiness is simply the ability to tap into the joy that God promises; the joy that is a fruit of dwelling in His spirit, including the "count it all joy...when trials and tribulations come..."; the joy that is our strength. Even on the nastiest days, if you stop to remember the joy available to you and look carefully enough, there will be something to find happiness in - even if it's just that you didn't spill your coffee when you tripped on the curb. Look hard - no day is ALL bad. Even the ones that feel MOSTLY bad. There's joy (and happiness) to be had.

  3. I love this thought! I also loved the movie the Pursuit of Happiness for this reason- it followed the PURSUIT. And I've thought several times about that vs. the actual happiness. For me, I find that I am happier when I am more grateful. More grateful for family, health, surroundings, love, Christ, etc. (Christ should have probably come first, but you and HE know me, so you understand I'm backwards). Anyway, when I start to get down or grumpy or whiny, I try to focus of ALL THE MANY blessings I have to be grateful for. Can I end a sentence with a preposition there? Oh my... should I not be grateful my mother was a teacher? Probably should be.
    Love you! Happy 2010!!

  4. Jennifer ReneeJanuary 05, 2010

    I left a comment yesterday but today I came across this quote. I don't know who the author of this is but I wanted to share it.
    "Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you've decided to see beyond the imperfections."

  5. I like that quote, Renee.

    And yes, Hillary, ending sentences with prepositions is allowed here. Though I'm supressing my inner editor as I say that.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone.

  6. Rachel, this is an awesome post! I have found the Lord repeating to me over and over, Just be faithful with what I give you today. Whether that is time, money, encouragement or all comes from Him.

    So my plan is no matter what obstacle comes my way this year is that it brings an opportunity for Him to show off in an amazing way so I say bring it on! :)


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