I couldn’t sleep again. Tossing from side to side my mind raced with random thoughts and memories that eventually gave way to an episode of full-body itching. The fidgety unrest finally forced me out of bed to ride out another sleepless storm in front of the computer penning this blog post.
This has become a common occurrence and tonight it sent my mind running in a whole new direction; I started to question my happiness. Trust me, profound and intense thoughts like these are unwelcomed at 3AM in the morning. But, it was either listen to my husband snore in peaceful bliss or pursue the runaway thoughts. I choose the latter.
What makes me happy? Have I ever been happy? Is happiness some elusive feeling that convinces me I am satisfied with my life?
I pondered these questions, devoid of answers. I struggled to think of things that made me happy; I mean true happy, the kind of happiness that provides a sense of balance and joy in my otherwise mundane life.
Yes, family, friends, events, travels and achievement are important, but none seem to be advocates in feelings of contentment. Even the day-to-day pleasures though meaningful and worthwhile lacked on the happiness scale of true joy. We all laugh, smile and put on the pretend happiness face but it is an arbitrary state of mind rather than genuine enthusiasm and contentment for the moment. You are lying if you say it isn’t so.
I wonder what my idea of contentment, happiness and a favorable attitude about life looks like from God’s point of view. Undoubtedly, my self-assessment on happiness differs from the divine, all knowing creator of the world. I’ve read the book of Job, maybe you too, and we know where that goes. Job lost everything and knew better than to argue with the author and finisher of time about happiness.
So what does God say about true happiness?
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
Philippians 4:4 ESV
Rejoice defined: to be glad; take delight, overjoyed and in blissful high spirits, happy
True happiness from God’s perspective is having the deep confidence in our soul that He loves us, cares for us and wants good for us. It is the inherent knowledge that God gives regard to our brokenness and valley of tears and that happiness is a by-product of loving God.
My sleep deprived body walked back to the bedroom, threw back the covers and rested my head on the pillow. Quietly, I gave thanks to God that happiness is not a temporary mood or shallow state of being. True happiness & joy is the ability to be content even when circumstances don’t live up to our expectations.
If these sleepless nights yield me answers to the perplexing questions of my heart and soul, I welcome them. But God, can you do something about the husband’s snoring? Please and thank you.
God, it’s me with dark circles under my eyes from not sleeping, pretending that all is well when it’s not and trying to make sense of my imperfect life. This pretend happiness face doesn’t seem to be working and I desire to know happiness from your perspective.
Teach me to take delight, be overjoyed and rejoice in your presence. Inspire me to find balance, joy and meaning in the moments gifted to me. Let my only scale of happiness be found in you.