Race to Happiness (HOPE)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
In this three part series of my journal on my Race to Happiness, I will look at three things I believe contribute to the success of achieving true happiness: Hope, Discipline and Wisdom. These three things have helped me achieve happiness in my soul, not just happiness contingent upon circumstances.
Hope makes my heart smile. It causes my mind to rest and puts my anxiety at ease. Wikipedia defines hope as an “optimistic attitude of mind that is based on expectation of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.” In the use of hope as a verb, “expect with confidence” or “to cherish a desire with anticipation”.
I used to ask my mom “when does life begin?” She would say something real churchy like “life begins when you give your life to Christ”. As I rolled my eyes, that answer was not sufficient for me, because I HAVE given my life to Christ. So what’s wrong with me?! I can honestly say that, until recently, I didn’t know what it meant to be happy. I thought happiness would happen when life began (whatever that means). I thought the future would bring happiness. But just as I mentioned in the previous post, the future is always a distant place, so at what point does that begin? In a relationship? When you start a family? With more money? All those things are circumstantial. Relationships end, families are dysfunctional and money come and goes.
In Psalms 43:5, David wrote:
“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again- my Savior and my God!”
I love the honest words of David. “Why is my heart so sad?” I remember, just recently, lying in bed praying and crying (like, really crying… ugly face crying) because I wanted to be someone different. Because my happiness was so circumstantial and contingent upon other people and things, I thought that if I could be someone different or change who I was, I could be happy. Discouraged and frustrated I cried out “GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST CHANGE ME? MAKE ME BETTER!!” (My neighbors probably think I’m crazy).
In that moment I knew I was at my breaking point. I couldn’t do much more. But I was mature enough in my relationship with Christ to know that if anyone can help me, He can. So I called on him for help. I know for a fact, in that moment of brokenness, God healed me. I didn’t know it at that time, but as I sit here in a coffee shop writing this, reflecting on that night, my life has begun to do a 180.
It’s such a cliché thing to “find yourself” but that’s when I began to not just feel happy circumstantially, but truly experience happiness. My mind is being renewed. I don’t have to worry about being someone different. Nothing is wrong with me. But my search for happiness was in the wrong place. After that prayer it’s as if God said “Oh, you’re ready for a change? Hold on tight. Everything you know is about to shift.” This was literally just a few months ago. The next day I started Finding Grace. And God gave me hope as I am seeking him above everything else. A cherished desire of anticipation of what he is doing in me and for me.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
God is the source of our hope, no one or nothing else. He will fill you completely, with joy and peace but you have to TRUST HIM! Once you start trusting what he’s doing, you will overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13).
As you find grace in your own life, seek God first and he will give you hope that will give your soul joy. Come back later to check out how hope led me to discipline in my Race to Happiness.
Thank you for joining me.
Enjoy the journey