Monday, January 23, 2012

The Secret to Happiness

This morning I was listening to a podcast of a radio program called Catholic Answers Live and their topic was being "single & happy". While I'm not Catholic, I did find their message incredibly enjoyable and and deeply true.

At one point in the program a 38-year old woman called in lamenting that she didn't know if she would ever get married and basically that she wasn't sure what to do with herself because marriage and family had always been her dream. I was so impressed with the the guest on the show, Mary Beth Bonacci's, response. She didn't sugar coat it or tell the woman to just trust God more. Instead she was honest. She said we live in a messed up world and the things you want to happen might not happen. (I'm definitely paraphrasing, this is what I remember and the message I received). But regardless, God meets you right where you are and He is there with you in every circumstance.

I dare to make a really bold statement and say: That is all anyone really wants. Conscious awareness of the Presence of God. That changes everything. The Apostle Paul said that he could be content in all things, in plenty and in want. But how? His knowledge that in all circumstances, he is in Christ and Christ is in him.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty of in want. I can do all this through Him Who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

The truth is none of know what is happening next in our lives. Will I get married? Will you lose your job? Will I get cancer? Will someone you love die? The very real and intimate Presence of God in Jesus will be with you every second it it.

If the secret to happiness was in possessing the things that we want then more people would be happy. It is very disillusioning to get the thing you always wanted and then find that you are still not perfectly content. I could end up single, married, divorced, or widowed or _________ and through it all the Presence of God can be as real to me as the air I breathe. If I choose to be consciously aware of it.

I believe that in the conscious awareness of the Presence of God there is no question of His goodness, of His love, or His power to sustain. I practice it in my daily life and it transforms the mundane into the sacred. Moments with the Source of all Love and Life while I brush my teeth, take out the trash, make copies at work. When His Presence is real and alive in the daily, it will be easier to know it's comforts in the momentous. When the bad news comes. Or the good.

I do not understand the ways of the world: why people and societies behave the way they do, but even if I did, those things are not the point. Contentment and even happiness are not truly found in the things of this world, but in the One who transcends this world. The good news for that 38-year old woman and for all of us is not that one day soon she will get married, but that no matter what happens to her, she can call on the name of the Lord and He is there, every second of every day, with all the love and power and grace that any of us will ever need.

I find so much freedom and joy in knowing that my contentment is not dependent on my ever-changing and unstable circumstances, but on the never-changing and rock-solid Lover of my Soul.

1 comment:

Laura said...

So true and so beautifully expressed!