I began to read a free preview of a book on my Kobo this week, “The Happiness Project.” Kobo said that they, “Recommended This Read” specifically for me. I am not sure whether that means my previous reads show that I am “happy”, or not “happy enough”.
Regardless, I began to read the free pages they had allotted me.
The author began by having a mid-life realization, while looking out the window of a rain-spattered city bus. She felt she was in danger of wasting her life. The years were slipping by and the only thing that she felt she wanted from life was… to be happy.
She was happy with her husband, her two daughters, her family, her job. Yet, she freely admitted she struggles with temper, dejection, melancholy, insecurity, listlessness, and free-floating guilt. I am sure that we can all choose something or many things from that list that we struggle with as well. So, in that sense, I was still on board with her.
Her plan? To train herself to feel grateful for her ordinary life. To change the lens through which she viewed the ordinary.
After much research from philosophers, biographers, psychologists, novelists and moralists, she concluded that it was and is within her power to make herself “happier”. This is where I began to have that nagging feeling that she was missing something. Although her book is full of refreshing thought patterns, practical advice and activities… there was still always something missing.
I know I am not the first Christian to write a blog about this book, or to point out the obvious point that she needs Christ to find true happiness – however, it still feels like a vague concept. How does my life as a Christian create more happiness? Should it? Does it? What is the greater perspective here?
One blogger, “Annie Kate“, – a physicist turned stay-at-home mom, says of Ruben’s project,
“…by trying so hard for self-mastery and self-knowledge, we come face to face with our need for a Saviour.”
She also drove home the idea by a quote from C.S. Lewis,
“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good….”
So although there are many practical things to be done to increase my daily joy and happiness on an earthly level, spiritually speaking – my happiness is so much higher, wider, weightless and…. Free!
My inspiration and source of joy and happiness resounds through these words of scripture:
Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 97:11-12 – “Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name.”
John 15:11 – “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
The list goes on and on. Do a word study on joy and you will be lifted up and refreshed. Our joy is GREATER than life, STRONGER than circumstances, MORE SIMPLE than plans and achievements and MORE REWARDING than life as we know it.
“Thank you God for saving me, and sourcing the wellspring of joy that always bubbles in the depths of my soul. Teach me to drink deeply of it, to allow it to shoot up and cover others with your hope.” Amen
“The Happiness Project, Gretchen Ruben, Published Dec. 20, 2012″
“Tea time with Annie Kate, Annie Kate – blogger”