Have you ever noticed that some people seem to go from place to place, job to job, city to city, relationship to relationship, even hobby to hobby looking for that elusive thing called happiness? You've heard it before in probably a million blogs and devotions, warning that if you put your hope into a thing or a position or even a person that eventually it will let you down. The problem is, we are all looking for happiness and it is usually best found right where you are at. (Okay - please forgive me for ending a sentence in the preposition, but you get the idea.)
I've had more than a few chances to put this whole idea into practice. The funny thing is, when I finally choose to be happy where I am, God seems to move me on.
This came to mind last week when I talked with a friend about the gentle nudge she was feeling about moving to a job in a different area. She stood there explaining to me, "It's not like I don't love where I am...in fact, I've never been happier." I could only nod. Seems like every job I've ever moved to didn't make sense. In one job, I'd tried repeatedly to leave! I couldn't even score an interview! Then, just when I decided to be happy where God had me planted, He moved me....to the very place I had been unable to get an interview for five years! Then God moved me again, but not during a season of discontent, but in a time when I finally had discovered contentment.
Seems that just when I let go of the idea that I have any right to decide what my life should look like, it starts to look like something so much more than I could have ever dreamed....and sometimes I even get that which I had hoped for.
I won't pretend this is always an easy process. I have an idea of what will really make me happy and I'm certain that if I just try hard enough, I can make it happen. The problem with that is that my life doesn't belong to me. I am His. I'm not really the one in charge here. Now as strange as that sounds, that concept is pretty liberating. It's not up to me. The only part of my "future" that is up to me, is turning it completely over to God. I simply have to start where I am and choose joy. I choose to trust that God knows what will bring me fulfillment far better than I do.
I think the first time I really saw this was while hoping for a child. We had hoped for years for a child, lost one through an adoption that went wrong, faced each passing year without the sound of a child's laughter in our home. Slowly, I released that dream and truly gave it to God. I came to the point where I could truly say, "God, I want a child more than anything, but if You choose for us to serve you without children, I will trust You." My attitude changed. I changed. The one true barrier to my joy was removed and peace returned....and two children followed.
I'm not saying that there is some magic formula or equation. "Do this and then all your dreams will come true..." In fact, in a way it's about giving up your dreams - to God. It's about choosing to find the joy and fulfillment right where you are. It's about looking at what the enemy meant for your harm and recognizing that God can/has used it for your good and His glory.
It's about a choice...a choice to change your attitude and find the joy.
I am reminded of a story Lysa TerKeurst once shared. Her daughter had found some cocoons and was hoping to hatch butterflies and instead from those cocoons she got moths. Mom expected disappointment, but..."As I watched Brooke’s sheer delight with the rich evidence of life before her, she couldn’t have cared less if it was a moth or butterfly. A creature that once only knew the dirt of the earth had just been given the gift of flight. Reaching- soaring-up- up- and away."
I guess it really is all about how you look at things. In the words of my pastor, you may not get to choose your circumstances, but you do get to choose your attitude in the midst of them.
It's time to get happy, right where you are at...and then you can move forward.
Today's message isn't posted yet, but when it is, this is the link to where you can find today's message that shares this truth SO much better than I ever could. Grace Temple Podcast . (When posted, it will be the November 9th message.)