5 Tips to Happiness: Is it that easy?

Blogs, magazines and self-help books provide quick tips for everything.  How to find happiness, how to make money, how to be a better wife, how to do almost anything.  I read these things with a pen in my hand, and am ready to take notes.  I want to do what they recommend.  I want to have that happy life, be that better wife, and get through another trial.

I am on the outlook for that one thing I can do to:

gain success

achieve my goals

get out of my depression

live through this career transition

soar through a mid-life crisis

get used to and embrace that my children are leaving home.

I want it so bad.  I want that step or secret to getting through all this.  Once I find it I am doing it!  I mean I followed the past 3 blog posts I read.  I prayed the prayer.  Read through the Psalms.  I talked with an advisor, prayed with my pastor, met a friend for lunch, read a devotional, and went to church.  What am I missing?

It’s a walk with God, a journey, it’s a process of development.  There are no quick fixes.  We have to live, and that is a process of development.  A series of mistakes, dealing with sin, getting back up and trying again.

It’s about doing a lot of things really.

Last week I doubted God existed.  Only for a moment, but it was real.  For a moment I became what C.S. Lewis refers to as a practical atheist.  I confessed with my mouth, but denied by my actions.

I sat on the porch Saturday morning with my head between my legs.  The thought of my life ahead seemed unbearable.  What’s sad is that my feelings were lying to me and I listened.  I completely caved into what my emotions said, and not what my heart or what God says.

What get’s us out of difficult times? 

  • Time.  There is no secret or magical way to get out of the difficulties of life.  It is simply a matter of time.  In time this will pass.  There is no doubt God will deliver, but we do not know the day that will happen.  So until then we must wait, persevere, and wait for the time.
  • Obedience.  On Saturday I had responsibilities to complete.  I had to clean the house, pay the bills and enjoy my husband.  None of which I felt like doing.  Yet out of obedience to God I did those things.  In time my feelings changed, because my actions changed.  Obedience, and fulfilling responsibilities will keep us moving forward.
  • All of the Spiritual disciplines.  There is no magic prayer, church service, or Bible verse that will deliver us from our trial and suffering.  Now God can deliver and does immediately do so for some people, but He often let’s trials and suffering continue.  He is delivering and encouraging us as we DAILY pray, CONSISTENTLY attend church, DAILY read His Word, and CONTINUOUSLY obey Him.  It is happening, just not in 5 easy steps.
  • We get out by going through.  The way to experience joy and happiness is to go through the trial.  To let it mold and shape us.  To experience the pain and loss.  The only way Christ got through was to suffer.  There was no easy 5 step process for saving mankind.  He had to live and die through it.

Keep doing what you are doing.  Keep praying, keep reading, keep attending, and keep obeying.  Doing all those things is the way towards having joy and happiness, living through our trials and healing from our suffering.  In this God is glorified and we experience His eternal good.

I don’t want you to lose hope because the 5 steps to happiness didn’t work.  God is working through the methods He has lined out in His Word.  God has empowered His people with the Holy Spirit, whom is greater than any step man can conjure.  Keep on God’s path.  His ways are the only ways to live a joyful life.

Because of His grace, and for His glory.

Marcy Pedersen

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