Monday, October 13, 2008

Behind Those Eyes: Ms. Happiness (Chapter 4)

"God's Word is like a mirror in that it reveals to us our true nature"
~Alicia Britt Chole, Annonymous: Jesus hidden years and yours

I found this chapter a whole lot easier to stomach. I'm afraid I am not one to hide my emotions. If I am not shows (not always a good thing) and the opposite is true that when I am happy, you can tell. As I approached this chapter, before even reading the first words written by Lisa, I mentally asked myself "what makes me happy?" I immediately thought of my red paisley devotional chair. I have such contentment, security and joy when I am in it. Why? Because I have learned that my joy comes from God. Even in the worst of situations, I have internally experienced great peace and joy amidst the chaos. I love that I have reached this point-to recognize God in all things but do I live it externally, 24/7...not all the time. So hence this weeks conviction-to live in the joy I have had planted internally and show it more fully externally-24/7.

"Happiness is not always what it seems, and someone can easily impersonate happiness without actually having it" (pp.58)
I don't know why we are sometimes shocked by this. A marriage breaks up and we think "what went wrong? They seemed like such a perfect, happy and successful family". Been there? Experienced that? I have. Not so much with my own failed marriage (people knew we were struggling) but more so in the make-up of my husbands first marriage. He and I can both identify with the following statement as in the end of our first marriages, he was so drained from living in two different identities-the appearance of being happy, the reality of living so very far apart and I was drained of not caring anymore:
"It is our hypocrisy and self-focus that drains us. When we become purposed centered, internally directed, other focused and externally open, we discover energy we didn't know we had." Robert E. Quinn (pp.62)
Bingo. We drained ourselves dry. Our focus shifted from where it should be to what look better on the other side. We both tired of the fight, the untruth, and we gave in to our self thinking that life would be better any other way than what it was.
When we are not happy we must look at the internal and external causes. In this situation, if I am honest, I realize my focus was on me and not not where it should have been. I am sorry to say we do not regret walking away from those marriages. We do regret the way in which we came together. God knows what was endured in both situations and in His graces He has blessed Joe and I despite it all. Even in our new found happiness in each other and in our now spiritually strong marriage, we have learned that even we cannot make each other completely and fully happy. We have learned that our true joy comes from God and I guess that is why we are so committed to be on our knees together almost daily. Statistics show that re-marriages have a greater chance of not making it more so than first marriages do. Joe and I have learned dearly how to love, really love, and how to be committed. We have been given a second chance at it and we cherish this relationship.
"Happiness cannot be found inside us, no matter how hard we try to make it be true." (pp.62)

Again, I reflect back to my red paisley devotional chair. Happiness. I am with God. A place where my heart and mind is learning to "prefer to go strait to the Expert when it comes to the subject of true happiness" (pp.71). We are most happy, most joyful when we are living in God's will, connected and spiritually full of His goodness. And it is reflected to others around us. I wish it was easier to live this 24/7.
Somehow the things that bring "unhappiness" into our life seems to grab us and shakes us up. What a great reminder of my own life when I read Ecclesiastes chapter two. If you haven't read this, go there now and reflect on Solomon's wisdom. Nothing...nothing we do on this earth will satisfy our hearts, our life, our minds, our need to be loved. Nothing can fulfill any of those areas as the Lord can. I personally have found scripture to be the most powerful tool to fight off the grip of false happiness or discontentment. Currently, I cling to the verse I received at the She Speaks conference from Deut. 33:12 "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders."
Comfort. Secure. Rest. Peace. All of it comes from God. All of it leads to joy (happiness).

"This joy cannot be revoked, and it won't be changed according to our circumstances....the reality is joy that comes from our heavenly Father is easily achieved and readily offered." (pp.74)
So accept it. Live in it and be blessed. Don't let satan steal your joy!! Change your focus, change what you search for to bring you happiness. And remember our challenge verse:
You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. ~Psalm 16:11

What stands in the way of me living fully in the joy I experience every time I sit quietly in that red paisley chair? Me. I need less of me and more of Christ. How about you?

For more refection from this blog Bible study stop over to our host Lelia's blog site!

Prayerfully, Pamela (MrsJoeB)
10/16-I have an addition to add to this chapter from one of my devotional readings this morning. It's worth sharing!
"I like to cultivate the spirit of happiness! It retunes my soul and keeps it so perfectly in tune that satan is fraid to touch it. The cords of my soul become so vibrant and full of heavenly electricity that he takes his friendish fingers from me and goes somewhere else! Satan is always weary of interfering with me when my heart is full of the happiness and joy of the Holy Spirit." ~L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert Devotions


Laura said...

"So hence this weeks conviction-to live in the joy I have had planted internally and show it more fully externally-"
Convicted over here as well. why can't I do this without constant reminders? Thanks for being one, Pamela.

Darlene said...

"Deut. 33:12 "Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders."
Comfort. Secure. Rest. Peace. All of it comes from God. All of it leads to joy (happiness)."

What a glorious verse!

I love your paisley chair analogy. Going to your place with God...
true joy!


Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

I love the chair...what a sweet spot.

Thanks friend...for the challenge I receive when I read your blog.

It's like iron...sharpening iron!!!

Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

If I were to have anywhere, where I feel safe, and with God, it is the local coffee shop. I have found a corner table, hidden back of one of the rooms, surrounded by bookshelves. It has an outlet for my computer to plug into. And it has been my meeting place with God at least once a week. I sit at my desk at home and talk with him every morning... but the coffee shop is special.
I have cried there, worshipped there, and God has met me, opened my heart when its gotten hard, refocuses me, refreshes me, and sends me on my way, back to my life, ready to meet it (or at least more ready). It reminds me of your paisley chair.
The joy I got there this morning, going to meet Him... Maybe that is what overflowed into my post today. It overflowed into my life today... I wrote my post there, and just had the time and opportunity to spend concentrated time praying, and it was so sweet.
And that was it. The sweetness of fellowship with the Lord. That is true joy for me.
Praise God that I have found it again!
God bless,

Anonymous said...

"I need less of me and more of Christ."

How true!! And I love your red paisley chair! :)


Cindy said...

This is a lovely post and what a special spot with God you have.

Amy said...

Ditto to what Cindy said. I, too, need less of me and more of Christ.

God Bless,

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Pamela!
What a great post! And I love your red paisley devotional chair! Like you, I don't hide my emotions very well either! Everyone around me knows what kind of day I'm having! I thought this was a great chapter! Thanks so much for sharing. I'll be back!

Paula said...

This is a wonderful post and in answer to your questions - "What stands in the way of me living fully in the joy I experience every time I sit quietly in that red paisley chair? Me. I need less of me and more of Christ. How about you?" - the answer is the same as's me. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to growth in the joy journey.

I love the verse you've quoted - Deuteronomy 33:12. I need to rest more in Him for protection against the world, and more importantly from myself!

I love your chair too! In Him, Paula

Mari said...

I think they said at She Speaks: May He increase while we decrease (or something to that effect).

I love that you have a place where you can start that process each day. I am so coming over one day to borrow it!

Carol said...

I too have my comfy spot, where I like to sit and spend time with God. It's comforting.

I love what you say that you want to show externally what you feel internally. It's so true I wonder how often we really let Gods love and joy He's given us show through to the outside.

I also appreciated what you said about your second chance at a Christ centered marriage. It's so amazing how different our marriage's can be when we take our eyes and expecatations off of each other to full fill our happiness, and get on our knees together and put all our focus on him.

Thanks for you words to day.


Paula (SweetPea) said...

I desire to have a paisley chair. Right now, in the midst of selling my house, I do not have a designated quiet spot. I hope to create that upon entering a new home.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

I need less of me and more of Christ, too!

Cindy said...

I just happen to be blogging right now and caught your comment on my blog. I appreciate your encouraging words.

I am doing so much better today. God, through my bloggy friends and His word, has lifted my spirit so much.

I am going to the Grand Canyon this weekend and looking forward to just being able to love on HIM while He loves on me!!

Bless You,

Laura said...

HOw awesome is that quote you posted on my blog! I LOVE it! It inspires me to aspire to the same. Isn't that an awesome thought, that Satan may tire of our interfering when we are overflowing with happiness?

Lelia Chealey said...

Ahhhh, this was awesome!! Loved your honesty and all that you shared. You know I love your sweet heart Pam! It beats so hard for Christ it practically beats right out of your chest.
I mean that.
Did I tell you that I love my cross? ;)

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I was on some other blogs and I kept seeing this neat little cross in the little box under "My Followers". So, after continually seeing that I clicked on it because I just had to see who this was. I hadn't seen the cross around town. I clicked on that "oh this is Pamela". I didn't know that was part of your profile pic since I don't read my comments on my blog but through my email.

I see you also added a new pic of yourself. Very nice.

much2ponder said...

Thank you for sharing so openly. I really do need to get that book, but for today, your words are enough of an encouragement to me to get my mind off of me once again and on to higher things. Praise the Lord, I am going to go for a walk and spend some much needed time alone with the Lord. Thanks again.