What does the word happy mean to you?
A textbook definition will tell you that it’s a state of well-being and contentment. I agree with that, but over the years I treated the word as though it had magic powers, as though being happy carried a special meaning reserved just for me. I had a mission, a purpose for my life that in return for doing all the right things, I would get exactly what I wanted.
As a young girl I dreamed the same dreams most of you do. I wanted the fairy tale life, a wonderful husband and home, and beautiful, healthy children. I never questioned whether or not God would give those things to me, after all, I attended church, said my prayers at night, and I tried my best to be as perfect as possible.
I had my life all mapped out, but after three years of marriage, when the children still hadn’t arrived, a tiny bit of doubt started trickling in. When five years had come and gone, the trickle turned into a gushing river of mistrust and blame.
Let’s face it, most of us use our current situation as a gauge to determine how satisfied we are with our lives. “I’ll be happy if I receive a raise, I’ll be happy if he loves me, I’ll be happy when I’m able to feel that child moving inside of me.
Sometimes though, we’re so busy trying to secure the things we think will make us happy, that we lose track of what it actually means to be happy. I believed only one thing would ever satisfy my heart, but as time went by, I realized I had also placed a condition on my life that stated, “I will NEVER BE HAPPY if I don’t have that child.”
I knew God loved me. I believed that He heard my prayers. (2 Kings 20:5) My problem was that I also believed I knew what was better for me than He did. I couldn’t see the physical answer to my prayers, so I began to pray more fervently than ever before.
My prayers would always end “Lord, I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do. I’ve given you my life, and I’ve tried so hard to be the best person I could possibly be, but still you refuse to give me the one thing I want most. Why?”
I was sleepwalking through life searching for answers, instead of opening my eyes to see what God had already abundantly given to me. Once I placed my trust in the knowledge that His answer to my prayers were best for me, I was finally able to accept that in the waiting, He had given me all that I needed.
“I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.” Philippians 4:12 NET
Sometimes we don’t get the “happily ever after” we had planned for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean the story has to end there. If we will allow Him to, God gives us a chance to write our own story, and we have the choice to make it a good one.
For many of you, it’s not the want of a child that has pushed you off course. Maybe it’s a failed marriage, or two, or maybe you’re hurting because you’ve realized your dreams haven’t turned out the way you wanted them to. Whatever the cause, I pray that you will turn those feelings over to God and ask Him to help you discover a new purpose for life. His answer may be one you can’t quite understand at the moment, but you can rest assured it’s not one meant to harm you. Instead, His plan for your life is to give you a new future and a new hope. (Jer 29:11).
I believe Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when she stated that “happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” Instead of dreaming about what we could have, let’s start examining what we do.
God has given us so many wonderful blessings. We don’t have to look far to see them, we just need to believe that they are there, and open our eyes to find them. In the end, our happiness shouldn’t depend on what we do or don’t have; our happiness should be determined by the blessings God has already provided, and learning to be satisfied with them.
If this post has touched you, please consider sharing it with your friends via Facebook, or email. I’d also love to hear from you. You can comment below, or email me.
This post was originally published in Issue #4 of Happy Sis Magazine, 2015
Photos © Salina T Gibson
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