Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ms. Happiness and mud pies

This is the fourth week of the online bible study, Yes to God; studying the book "Behind Those Eyes," by Lisa Whittle. If you are not yet doing the study, and want to join in, click here. Even so, if you are wondering if you might be struggling with Ms. Happiness... read on....




Oh, Ms. Happiness. You and I have got some stuff we have to work out.....

First of all, Ms. Happiness, let us get this one thing clear. You are, for the most part, a lie! Yes, just like Ms. Confidence, and Ms. Perfection. Lies. Lies. Lies. Somehow, I knew it all along

And yet...

I still long for Happy...
I guess I had better figure out where you are.....

This week was sooo good. And heart wrenching, really. You see, I really think that deep down we all hope that we can be happy on this side of heaven. And while I think we catch moments, glimpses, and tastes of this Ms. Happiness... she is really only dropping by to remind us that there is Something bigger. Something better.

But this chapter was so very wonderful for me, because it concluded what I think we all actually know. Happiness, as an achievable state, is a lie!! It is a Holy Grail, and we are not going to attain it. And folks, somehow... this was freeing for me! I can stop striving (aren't we all looking for it? deep down?) for something I am never going to find.

...and it does not even make me sad to think that I won't be able to maintain an enduring state of 'happy.' No, it truly is a freeing notion. It is enough just to press on.....

The part this chapter that spoke volumes to me was in a listing of what Lisa called "humanistic quests" for happiness. Note (references will follow in bold) that each one of these quests is in search for what we call Happiness. These deceptive quests are:

1. You can make yourself happy
2. Someone you love can make you happy (this includes your precious children!)
3. Something you have or do can make you happy

Here is the gist (are you as guilty of these as I?):

1. You can make yourself happy:

  • self-help (even the Bible can be manipulated as a self-help-book toward personal happiness, folks!)
  • self-awareness (If I just reach a balanced state of zen, and raked pebbles, and found inner peace, I will finally remain happy...)
  • self-focus (me. me. me. this one needs no explanation.)

as Lisa so crisply convicts us, "The more time you spend thinking about you, the less satisfied you are with yourself or anything else. If we look to ourselves to provide the happiness we need in life, we are barking up the wrong tree."

2. Someone you love can make you happy:

Well, friends, I related - big time - as I read this quote by Crystal Boyd:

"We convince ourselves that life will get better after we get married, have a baby, then another. Then we're frustrated that the kids aren't old enough and we'll be more content when they are. After that, we're frustrated that we have teenagers to deal with. We'll certainly be happy when they're out of that stage. We tell ourselves that our life will be complete when our spouse gets his or her act together, when we get a nicer car, are able to go on a nice vacation, when we retire. The truth is, there's no better time to be happy than right now. If not now, when?"

3. Something you have or do can make you happy:

Lisa hits the nail on the head, "The world's mantra insists that personal perfection can make you happy. Spend more, indulge more, and have more are seen as the golden tickets to happiness and contentment, and women [and men] are buying into them right and left. Yet for all our indulgences, we are still severely unhappy."

...flashback to Ms. Perfection, anyone??

Interestingly enough, Lisa ends this chapter with a twist. After discussing all of the ways we want happy, long for happy, search for happy, and work for happy... we finally throw happy out of the window. Why? Because happy is a mud pie - and it compares NOT with joy that we have in store.

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea." - C.S. Lewis

Happy. happy here, without the very glorious presence of Christ,... is a mud pie.

Yes. Ms. Happiness is only dropping by to remind us that there is Something bigger. Something better. And He is The Only Thing Worth Walking Toward...

So, Ms. Happiness. Thank you for dropping in from time to time. Thank you for visiting. Thank you for brightening my day when you do. But I won't stand around waiting for you anymore. I have to get in and start packing my bags for my holiday at the sea....

16 friends had a thing or two to say...:

LeadHership: said...

I love, love, love your blog title AND how you got to it. What a poignant expression of the journey we are on. It would make a great book title too!

hkudla said...

I love the idea that Ms. Happiness can stop by for a little while for us to enjoy, but really, we are packing for the big trip, with joy in our hearts... because we know where our true happiness lies.

Thank you for your post and your comment on mine!
God bless,
heather

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I love what you have to say. I especially love your ending word to Ms. Happiness:
"So, Ms. Happiness. Thank you for dropping in from time to time. Thank you for visiting. Thank you for brightening my day when you do. But I won't stand around waiting for you anymore. I have to get in and start packing my bags for my holiday at the sea..."

That is precious and makes me smile. It's that corney, cute, sarcasim that draws my own personality.
Blessings,
Paula

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Friend...what a great post...and your ending..POWERFUL.

We all know in our heart...where our true happiness comes from...the difficulty...is convincing our head.

Thanks for your sweet...sweet comment.

Bless you.

Christine Lynn said...

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea." - C.S. Lewis <<< I just was reading this quote in a devotional I am reading right now...what strange timing!...lol As a matter of fact the chapter I am in talks a lot about this very thing that you are mentioning here from your study... I love your Wednesdays here Darlene. Very well said. Thanks =O)

Tammy R said...

You are so right,we will never achieve happinees on this side of heaven!

I will be looking at Ms.Happiness differently from now on!

Tessa said...

Darlene, I have enjoyed reading your posts related to this study and I have to say that this one REALLY spoke to me. I did a bible study on contentment a couple of years ago, and this post reminds me of that. Basically we are not supposed to be content (or happy) here on earth. That feeling of longing for more is actually our longing for Heaven! We are not supposed to be completely satisfied here ... there is supposed to be "something" missing. Once we get that ... a lot makes sense! Thanks for the reminder! :)

nothingcanseparateme said...

Darlene,

I am looking for the "holiday at sea" also! I am through with the mud pies here!

have a blessed day!
Kim

Cindy said...

This is a really great post.
I love how you ending it.
Great writing.

Paula said...

Hi Darlene, thanks for stopping by on my page. I love your post. This study certainly is speaking volumes to us, and I can't wait to see what Ms Spirituality is all about. Then it's onto part two of the book, that looks very meaty! In Him, Paula :-)

Leebird said...

You have so much umph in your writing style...I can really visualize you standing there speaking your heart to me with passion. Thank you for your encouraging remarks on my blog...let's catch up during our beach holiday, ok? :)

Carol said...

I love that you found freedom in not having to search for the happiness. I'm going to go wash off the mud now and pack for my trip to the beach.

I enjoy your blog, and your insights, can't wait for chapter 5 that one should be very interesting.

Carol

Cindy said...

Hey Darlene,

It's Cindy back again. I just wanted to say thank you for your kind words and scripture you left on my blog the other day.

I treasure the way God is using my bloggy friends to help me in my healing process.

I am doing much better today and ready to move forward.

Thank you again,
Cindy

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

As I finished reading your blog on Ms. Happiness, I caught a glimpse of your honeymoon retreat. Beautiful! I saw a lot of joy there and that is the blessing God has given us in our marriages. My husband and I made our reservations to our favorite cabin for our anniversary in March just today. Is it March yet?!?!? We keep going back because we have such wonderful memories. Joy.
I added this quote to my blog post on happiness this morning. It is so fitting. It came from one of my devotionals readings and I want to share it with you...
"I like to cultivate the spirit of happiness! It retunes my soul and keeps it so perfectly in tune that satan is fraid to touch it. The cords of my soul become so vibrant and full of heavenly electricity that he takes his friendish fingers from me and goes somewhere else! Satan is always weary of interfering with me when my heart is full of the happiness and joy of the Holy Spirit." ~L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert Devotions
Be blessed!

In His Graces~Pamela

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Darlene!
Thanks for a great post about Ms. Happiness. "He is the only thing worth walking toward." Amen! I am so with you!!

Read some of your other posts while visting--I loved the one about Abby and her cap with the pony tail. What a great thing. She is just darling. i'll lift her up in my prayers.

Many blessings,
Susan

Lelia Chealey said...

This is so good Darlene. I love how you write. You are funny and yet you hold nothing back. You make me think & want to draw closer to God.
Great great insight shared here.
Hugs,
Lelia
So thrilled you're in this study!!