What do you need to make you happy – a new car, new home, a boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, children, college education, new job, vacation, to lose weight, etc.? All of those things are fleeting. But no one will tell you that. Just watch the commercials during your favorite TV program.
That new Ford F-150, the sale at Macy’s, that cloud-like mattress, the new superhero movie coming out, that new hair color or mascara – those are just some of the things we are told will make us happy. Big NOPE! Yet, we tend to believe that Big Lie – that stuff, relationships, etc. will make us happy. Happiness is fleeting because happiness is circumstantial. Life is constantly changing and those things we think will bring us happiness are constantly changing as well.
The new Ford F-150 will depreciate and you won’t be able to sell it for what you paid for it. Bummer. The sale at Macy’s only lasts one day and your internet just went down. Too bad. The mattress ends up getting lumpy. Ouch! The new superhero movie wasn’t as great as you thought it was going to be. Darn. And neither the hair color nor the mascara looks good on you. Golly. Happiness is down the drain. There is no way to live in perpetual happiness – it’s just not possible when happiness is circumstantial.
I am a woman of faith and in the Bible I read about a ‘joy’ that surpasses happiness. This joy is akin to an underlying contentment that says, “No matter what happens, all is well with me.” Even if you are not a person of faith, you may be familiar with this joy. Joy is often mistaken for happiness. I believe joy is not contingent on circumstances. Joy says, “I may not have enough money to go to dinner with my friends (which would make me really happy), but my electric bill is paid and there is gas in my car.”
I love to go to estate sales because I can get some great stuff at incredible bargains. So many of the estate sales I go to are chock full of stuff, stuff and more stuff. It’s amazing to see the amount of stuff people have that they think will make them happy. No one else values the stuff except as a bargain. No one buying the stuff knows or cares about the sentimental value the owner once attached to that stuff. An estate sale is just a house full of someone else’s happiness.
My stuff makes me happy, but those things that bring me joy are intangible: the love of my family, my grandbabies’ kisses, Cycle Dude’s thoughtfulness, snuggling with my pups, sharing laughter with my friends. Those things warm my heart and make me smile. If my house burned down tomorrow and I lost all my stuff, I’d still have joy in knowing Cycle Dude and my family love me.
The Big Lie is that getting and having everything we want will make us happy. The truth is that it won’t because happiness is circumstantial and fleeting. Joy is the steady, underlying assurance that in spite of the circumstances of life, all is well. Stay tuned . . .