Category Archives: happiness

Two Kinds of Expectations

2

Does God want you to have expectations? Sure He does! In fact, Psalm 5:3 states, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

We are often taught to not have expectations or maybe experience tells us that “too many expectations lead to disappointments.”

The kind of expectation that leads to disappointment is the anticipation of the way things “should” be or “how” they should happen.  We have a picture of the process in our mind and expect that things will occur accordingly, and when they don’t go the way we want it to go, we get terribly disappointed. It would be better to think of “your way” as a general blueprint for your plan but allow for flexibility so that God will still work it out — His way. If it does happen the way you wanted it to, great! But if not, the key is to not insist on making it happen your way. That’s what it means to “surrender your will.” It’s a power struggle between you and God. God always wins so the sooner you surrender, the happier you will be.

The other type of expectation is mentioned in Psalm 5:3. Ironically, it is easier to have expectations of the way things should be than to believe that the “impossible” can actually be possible. Do you believe that God actually wants you to have expectations so He can fulfill them? The difference lies in “how” and “will” (as in the future tense of the verb, “to be.”). Put your expectations before God and believe they “will” happen, but leave the “how” part to God.

One last thing I want to point out. The operative word here is “wait.” The psalmist wrote, “…I wait in expectation.” There is no indication that God answered this person’s prayer the same day.  Honestly I have had to wait so long for certain things that I wondered if my desires were out of line with God’s plan for my life.  What if God didn’t want those things for me?  I think the more appropriate question is, why would God allow this to be written in the scriptures if He didn’t want to answer our prayers?

“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15

The psalmist was 100% confident that God would answer. Do you pray and wait with this kind of confident expectation?

#prayer #faith #expectations #disappointment #waitonGod #patience #prayer #belief #confidence #powerstruggle #waiting #happiness #hope #hopeinGod

Happiness Is Fulfilling Your Raison d’Etre

frankl“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.” Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist/psychologist, Holocaust survivor

We think we’d be happy if we received everything we ask for in life.  Living the American Dream means fulfilling your purpose and desires in this lifetime – landing the right career, marrying the right person, having the happy family in the right neighborhood.  There’s nothing wrong with the aforementioned goals, but the problem with it is that if you do not achieve a certain milestone by a certain date within your timeline, you could potentially set yourself up for misery.  Herein lies the danger: you don’t feel happy until you reach that milestone.

What happens in the meantime?  What if it takes so long to attain the goal that you begin to think it’s never going to happen?

Each human being has his or her own reason for being, but Jesus gives us the ultimate purpose:

 “[W]hoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom to many.” Matthew 20:26-28

With His own life, Jesus demonstrated His reason for being, and that was to serve others, not to be served.   

 “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than receive.’” Acts 20:35

The everlasting cure to your current unhappiness is living for Jesus.  Serving the poor, helping the less fortunate according to your talents and abilities, and living to serve others for the common good will do more for your soul’s contentment than simply reaching the goals that satisfy you individually.

“For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 2:21

“No one should seek their own good but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:24

“Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” – Romans 15:2

“For I am not seeking my own good, but the good of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:33

There’s plenty of research to back up these biblical teachings.  In a TIME Magazine article, Jenny Santi wrote:

Scientific research provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness. Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by food and sex. Experiments show evidence that altruism is hardwired in the brain—and it’s pleasurable. Helping others may just be the secret to living a life that is not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.

Everybody who’s anybody in your life can benefit from a helping hand extended by you.  They could be your friend, a family member, a colleague, a stranger, an old lady crossing the street, the beggar standing at the corner when you exit the freeway ramp… If you make it your mission to serve others with Jesus’s best interest at heart, you will have a rich and satisfying life!

 “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”  John 10:10

#happiness #commongood #Jesus #Christ #musingz4life #serveothers #serve

 

Not Always Forgotten

 forgotten“But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.” 

Psalm 9:18

Even the best of us feel forgotten from time to time.  Some are better than others at expressing their needs, while others keep a strong front as if they don’t need anything at all.  They appear independent and are usually the incredible caretakers whom we look up to because they get things done and are always taking care of other people’s needs.  No matter who you are, in God’s eyes we are all equal.  Everyone has some unmet need, some longing that has not yet been fulfilled, and it is this unfulfilled longing which levels the playing field for the human race regardless of their social or economic status.

For those who are used to achieving results through hard work and dedication, it can be pretty frustrating not to get what you want.  Some things are just out of reach, whether it’s the American Dream you’re striving for or that perfect soul mate who hasn’t come around in years.  What can you do?

“I have trusted the Lord without wavering.  Test me, O Lord, and try me.  Examine my heart and my mind, for your love is ever before me.”  Psalm 26:1-3

If God gave you everything every time you prayed, how does that require trust?  Psalm 9:18 promises that the needy will not always be forgotten.  If you’ve had some need or heart’s desire that has never been fulfilled, or if you have tasted the bitter fruit of disillusionment, God has not forgotten you, but He wants to see if you will be faithful to Him.  Will you waver in unbelief?  Will you react by rebelling against God and doing what you want, even if you know it’s wrong?  Are you willing to let God test your heart and examine what you’re made of?

Nothing is more trying than waiting.  But…

11 I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

I have seen strong men fall and I have seen the disadvantaged rise to the top.  Who are the winners in society?  It is those who trust in God through time and chance, the good and the bad.

26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:26

You don’t have to be rich or be married to be happy.  You don’t need multiple degrees hanging on your wall to feel validated.  I am not putting those things down; if you are well educated and wealthy, you have incredible blessings, but being blessed does not equate with happiness, for there are many rich, competent, high profile executives who are unhappy behind the mask they wear.  As Ecclesiastes 2:26 states, happiness comes from God alone, and He gives happiness to those who please Him.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:29-31

God created you to have a relationship with you.  Of course He wants to give you things that you desire; He is the “Good, Good Father” who cares for His children, but He wants you – He wants your heart, and the one recurring theme throughout the entire Bible is God’s longing for His people to trust in Him. God is the Original Source of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength.  Will you commit to trusting in God without wavering?

#TrustGod #UnwaveringTrust #NotForgotten #Musings4Life #happiness