What would it take to make you happy?

 A lot of people spend a lot of time wondering and speculating about  the If Onlys of life: Blog. Woman. Thoughtul. 6.2021

    If only I could meet the right person and fall in love, then all my dreams would come true . . .

    If only we had better communication then our marriage would be perfect . . .

    If only we had a baby then I know it would draw us closer . . .

    If only I were a better mother and he were a better father . . . 

    If only I were a better father and she were a better mother . . .

    If only our kids went to better schools . . .

    If only we earned more money . . .

    If only we had a bigger/newer/nicer house in a better neighborhood, then life would be perfect . . .

    If only our children already were through school and had good jobs and were married to the right people then I could stop worrying about them . . .

     If only I had the body I used to have . . .  

    If only growing older weren't so scary . . .

    If only . . . then . . .

    If only . . .


There's a term for that: "Mythical thinking"

That's what mental health professionals call it. Mythical thinking keeps us dreaming of a place where everyone and everything is--or could be--perfect.  

Here's the problem with that. If we spend too much time daydreaming about Make Believe Land we inevitably fixate on what's wrong and miss out on what's right before us.

When we do that we put on blinders that shut out the sweet reality of our lives:

  • The beauty all around us, God's intricate creation.  
  • The small, kind gestures of people in our lives. (Like the stranger who held the heavy door open when we were balancing shopping bags.)
  • The fun of watching our children grow into themselves, little by little over the years. 

You and I weren't born wearing blinders

Whether we realize it or not, we choose them and put them on all by  ourselves.

When we spend too much time daydreaming we easily get all wrapped up in ourselves. Self-absorption crowds out the needs and wants of others and robs our lives of joy.

The thought and energy we invest in concentrating on what or who could be better takes us out of the day we're living. It eats up time that otherwise might be spent building friendships and closer family relationships. 

As one wise man said, the life of one who lives like that is bounded on all four sides by the personal pronoun, "I."

Most likely we'll fail to notice God's daily blessings to us, large and small. Then we don't get to experience the joy of them. We likely won't even to think to say, "Thank you, Lord."

Concentrating on ourselves also makes us less likely to encourage the people around us with smiles and a few good words, such as: "Thanks!" "Good for you!" "I'm so proud of you!"

Some of us are thinking, Yes, but this is me, this is how I am. I don't know how to change. What am I supposed to do about that?

First comes being willing to be willing to change. With choosing to live in the now and to love in the now.  

How do I start?

I'm no professional, but I know that we always have a choice what outlook we wear around.

It seems to me what God said to the Israelites applies to us, too:

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.   Deuteronomy 30:19  

Then we ask for help from the One who never takes His loving eyes off us:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1   

Any time our past failings threaten to swamp us, the One who makes all things new is waiting: 

If anyone is in Christ he (or she) is a new creation; the old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2  Corinthians 5:17   

What does it mean to be "in Christ?"

There's no big list of requirements here. When we trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and aim to live by that faith, we are "in Christ." 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  John 3:16-17  

That's the starting place and the ending place. 

So how can we be happy? 

Choose life! Choose to be alive in the moment and to see all the ways God has been--and is--blessing you. 

Choose life in Jesus Christ and know the inner peace that comes with that.  

There's no other way to bring deep-down happiness that fills in your empty places and brings contentment that lasts.

Still growing,  




April 11, 2019

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April 25, 2018


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