I woke up too late yesterday to go to church so I listened to the only TV pastor I like, Andy Stanley.
The subject was happiness.
He focused on the fact, (and you’ve heard this before, ) that it isn’t “things” that make us happy. Oh, sure, they do for a while and actually, some can make you happy for a long time. For example:
Before I purchased the Toyota Rav I am driving now (bought used in 2011 with thirty thousand miles), I drove a Taurus. I drove that car for sixteen years. Yep, sixteen years. The only reason I had to buy a newer car is that the carriage underneath the car was severely rusted and no longer safe to drive.
My Toyota still makes me happy.
But, happiness is probably not the right word anyway. I’m just making a point that the pleasure of “things” can carry on for a while. And because they can, we can confuse this kind of happiness with long-lasting, meaningful happiness.
I mean don’t we all have that favorite some thing that we’ve liked for years? It could even be a favorite shirt, a favorite sweater, an old bathrobe. I only point out this out because sometimes I think we trivialize major truths with simplistic statements. And certainly, that’s not what Pastor Stanley was suggesting.
But I knew what he meant. He really meant what I would call, “long-term happiness”. Happiness that years down the road we will remember.
And long-term happiness will always center around relationships, not things, not “stuff”.
On Saturday I had mentioned to someone about getting together on Sunday. But when Sunday came, and before I got cleaned up for the day (I hope I’m not the only one that does that. You know, while you’re still in your PJ’s you get on a cleaning or organizing “roll”.) I got busy organizing some closets and was really making progress. I wanted to continue because I was feeling energized.
(This is only about one-third of the bags. Didn’t want to embarrass myself.)
As I said, I had not yet cleaned up for the day yet. I never have my personal time with God unless I’m dressed, teeth brushed, and basically ready for the day (I’ve posted about this before and now that I’ve mentioned it, I will post again later this week about my reasons why),
So after I dressed and got ready for the day, I had my personal time with God. And as often happens, God reminded me of Pastor Stanley’s message. I immediately felt convicted about wanting to bow out of time with a friend. I asked God for forgiveness for getting my priorities so screwed up.
I’m often task-oriented, more than I should be. I was guilty of that with my mom for many years but praise God over the last ten years or so of her life, I learned to enjoy every moment with her without thinking about what I felt I needed to get done.
I enjoyed the day.
I never once felt hurried.
I never once thought about all the tasks I wanted to accomplish.
Now, here’s the interesting thing. I came home and not only did I accomplish everything I wanted, I accomplished even more.
My throat feels a little full now as I write this and my eyes are tearing up a little.
Because God is so good. I can’t tell you how many times I have thanked God for never giving up on me. For loving me enough to redirect me when I get off track. For giving me a heads-up when I need it, or should I say a sharp jab in my side. I am so glad we serve a merciful God.
Anytime we obey God immediately, He blesses us through that prompt obedience. If we put it off and eventually obey God, I believe the blessing is not as generous. It has happened to me too often not to be true. I think of Abraham and how quickly He obeyed God about what he thought was to sacrifice his only son. (Abraham had not obeyed so quickly before when he was told he would have a son and instead of waiting he had a son by Hagar, his wife’s handmaiden.)
So back to happiness.
Every time we get a chance to bless someone in some way, our happiness increases. Every time we don’t, our happiness decreases. It’s really that simple.
Anytime you have a chance to give your time to another person, give it.
There’s almost never a task you want to carry out that is more important than time spent with family or friends. An important note here: There are extended periods in our life where things must be done, like if you’re remodeling or moving, and on occasion, there are days when we just have no choice because something is time-sensitive. As long as your balance sheet leans more heavily into time given away instead of time hoarded, your getting it right.
God bless and have a great day.