So, last week Jeffrey and I were goofing around and he had me laughing pretty good. That’s not unusual. He’s a funny guy. I love that about him.
I told him how funny he was and how he’s always making me laugh. He replied with, “I like to make you laugh, because you look happy”.
Now, I didn’t think much of it at the time really. But that night and the next day I got thinking about his comment and my life. “He likes to make me laugh, because I look happy. Mmm. Am I happy? No, not really. Have I ever been truly happy? Nope, not really. What does it mean to be happy?”
I understand that happiness is circumstantial. I understand there is a difference between happiness and Joy. I’m not always joyful either. Let me tell you why.
When I was one, my parents divorced. When I was 3, I watched my 9 year old sister be dragged by her horse and killed. I remember her before she died. I remember the event and I remember being at her funeral.
My mom and dad both remarried. My experience with step parents wasn’t the greatest. My step dad molested me and beat my mom. My step mom and I never got along. I gained 2 bothers and a sister out of that relationship that I am glad to have. I spent little time with them growing up, so for the most part I was an only child. Living in an abusive home. Not pleasant.
As a kid, we didn’t have much money. That abusive step dad was also an addict. Addicts are usually broke. So consequently, I wasn’t the best dressed kid on the play ground and was picked on a lot. Middle school was only a little better. The summer before my sophomore year, I moved in with my dad and step mom. Hoping things would be better there. They weren’t better really, just different.
With that move, I of course went to a new high school where I knew no one and no one knew me. It was a good thing really. I came in with that tough girl attitude. If you can picture short and feisty. That was me. I was 5’2″. I wore all black. And I had an attitude to match. No one was going to pick on me. And they never really did.
As you can imagine I got in with the wrong crowd. I began drinking and doing drugs. By senior year, I barely graduated and was kicked out of school the last few days for drinking. By the time I was 21, I’d been arrested twice and lost my drivers license once. I was on the road to destruction for sure.
Although, some how I’d made the choice to stop that life style. I got hooked up with a good boy from a christian family. I accepted the Lord at 23 and was promptly dumped by my fiancé, the good boy. He wasn’t ready to live that life, so I chose the Lord over him and moved on.
I met and married my husband Jeffrey. We had 2 children and a rocky marriage. You can read about that in my post, “Love and Respect For A Happy Marriage“.
Over the course of a 5 year span, I watch my dad slowly decline due to type 2 diabetes. He lost his kidneys, eye site, his hearing, part of his legs, his heart and lastly his desire to live. Almost 2 years ago now, I watched him slip into a diabetic coma and die. It broke my heart and I doubt I will fully recover from that. I know I will never be the same.
So fast forward to the other day when I was thinking about my life and if I was happy or not. I decided I needed to have a chat with a friend of mine who is no stranger to loss and pain. She is the one I wrote about in my post “Grief How NOT To Handle It“. She has lost 2 husbands and can still worship the Lord each Sunday with Joy in her heart and on her face. I knew I needed to talk with her, because I needed to know what it was that she had that I was missing.
I know the easy answer is Jesus. My relationship with Christ has been strained since daddy died. I just walked away, sat down and ignored the Lord. I was mad. But my friend lost 2 husbands and she isn’t mad. So what gives?
We spent 3 hours talking and I learned that even though she has Joy and Peace after losing her men, she still hurts. Her heart still aches, she misses them. However, her hope lies within her relationship with Christ. She trusts Him with everything. Even things that do not make sense or she doesn’t quite understand. She has the faith of a child, like the bible says. She truly is amazing and I am grateful she is my friend.
As I drove home from my visit. I realized that I didn’t learn anything new. There is no magic key to her happiness. It’s all perspective. Even though my life hasn’t been a bed of roses, that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy now. Life hasn’t been great, but it can be great now. I am sad. I miss my dad and watching my mom mistreat herself with alcohol and cigarettes, breaks my heart. But I can still be happy. I can still see the good in all things, because the Lord has made all things new and good.
So now, I can look forward to the wonderful marriage God has planned.
I am happy the Lord has given us 2 great children who have made good choices despite the world around them.
I am grateful we are cared for and well fed.
I am thankful for the extended family I have in my in laws. Not everyone can say they have great in laws, but I can.
I am grateful for the church family who loves us/me despite how I shut them out after I lost my dad.
I can see how the Lord answered prayer when I asked for my current job. I had prayed almost 9 years ago that the Lord would provide me a part time job, in my small town, working for a Christian employer. I can tell you the Lord is good and met every one of those desires.
So to make a long story short, I am HAPPY.
Happiness is about perspective. About what we focus on. About where we let our minds dwell. The word says to dwell on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion. He wants to steal our Joy, Peace and Happiness. Don’t let him!
Philippians 4:8New International Version (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
If you are having a hard time seeing the “happy” in your life, make a list like I did above. I guess we call that counting your blessings. It works. 🙂
Please share your list in the comment link above this post. I want to know how you’ve been blessed.
7 Replies to “What Does It Mean To Be Happy?”
Keep sharing your story. It matters and it will help someone else heal. 🙂
Thank you. That is my hope. I want to make a difference in someone else’s life.
YES! Brianna is so right! and if you’ve never read the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp you need to run out & buy it TODAY. So much of your story reminded me of hers & that book is amazing!! It will bless you! Pat yourself on the back for being brave and putting your story out there, sister.
Thank you Nicole. I will definitely look that book up. It is my desire to encourage others. Thank you.
I am so sorry to hear that! I can totally relate to that. Only being 23 and divorce is something I have to carry now. is not what i wanted but things happen. I am currently with an amazing guy but taking my time. This post is awesome! 🙂
Thank you Valeria for your time. Marriage is hard for sure, but when 2 people can work together things can be amazing and we can truly be happy. I’m glad you found a great guy now.
This is an awesome post! i can totally relate even only being 23. Keep telling your story. 🙂