This is Maggie.  Being outside running in her yard is what fills her little doggie heart and makes her happy.  This is Geronimo.  Being next to his humans with a stuffed toy in his mouth is what fills his little doggie heart and makes him happy.

Simple concept right?

What makes you really happy?  I mean REALLY happy.  Simply happy.

I was recently at a small group that I lead and we were talking about contentment.  We were discussing a passage in Philippians:

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all things through him who give me strength.  – Philippians 4:12-13

Happiness sure as heck doesn’t come from your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter feed.  But it for sure doesn’t stop me from scrolling.  Happiness sure as heck doesn’t come from the amount of things that you own.  But it for sure doesn’t stop me from buying a trinket every time I’m at Target or Walmart.  Happiness sure as heck doesn’t come from the next best book for sale that will change your life in a few easy steps.  But it for sure doesn’t stop me from reading it just in case.

Happiness may come from listening to the Jonas Brothers sing…because you know – it’s the Jonas Brothers!  Listening to them seems to always at least brighten my mood for a moment.  LOL!!

In all seriousness, I’m coming to realize that in my life, true – long lasting happiness is a way of being.  From that verse in Philippians I am learning that happiness can come in contentment to just be in the moment.  In the present.  Good, bad, empty, or full.  Just be content with where we are at because it’s where we are meant to be.  And we can rejoice and be happy in that.  In my small group we talked a little about instead of using the word content we can use the word peace.  Be at peace with wherever we are at this present moment.  God provides me that peace that is deep within my soul so I know that even in suffering I will be okay.  That I am able to do anything because it is God that gives me the strength that I will need at just the right moments.  So I can be at peace.  Be content.  Be happy.  Truly happy.

I used to think bringing about peace meant someone would have to lose a battle.  If I was having an argument with my husband and I wanted peace, I had to give in and lose the fight in the best interest of peace.  But offering peace doesn’t mean a winner or a loser.  I look at that different now.  I’m handling my every day actions with the thought of peace and it’s filling me with a happiness that penetrates deep into my soul.  It’s about stopping and thinking before you speak so you know the words that come out of your mouth are life giving.  It’s about saying you are sorry immediately and taking ownership of your mistakes when you speak or act in a way that is harmful or hurtful.  It’s about learning to partake in dialog that is constructive and cannot be misconstrued by the other person as hurtful.  It’s listening to your daughter when she tells you to stop getting mad when you realize your voice just took that “tone” – and so you stop and walk away.  It’s not about winning or losing.

My husband and I have started to take ownership of our marriage again.  Taking back us.  The us we are without children.  Somewhere within the last 16 years of being parents we started living for our children and lost that part of us.  We are working to get that back again.  To be content in our moment.  To be happy.  To love deeply.  That means we have to work at listening to each other and as my husband says to stop assuming we know what the other is feeling.  To put words to what is going on inside our heads.  I realized quite quickly when we put words to it, that I had for sure dismissed his ideas when he spoke.  My husband is a brilliant man and has brilliant ideas for our family!  I was amazed at the love and peace that filled my heart when I just simply stopped to listen again.

This week is Holy Week.  At my church this past Sunday, we read the story of Jesus in Luke 22 and 23.  Where he comes into Jerusalem like a King and ends up dying on the cross like a criminal.  Our Pastor; Jeanne, said it best when she said, “Holy Week is God’s love on full display”!  AMEN!  God’s love was on full display then and is on full display now.  God wants me to live my life in full peace, contentment, and love.  When I do that I can shine that light to others in beautiful ways.  Ways that I never knew was possible and wouldn’t be possible without him!  During this Holy week I want to remember just that.  Jesus gave up his very life for me.  He suffered and while on that cross he forgave the people that were torturing him.  He replaced the hatred and violence with LOVE.  I want to continue that love.  To use my words and actions to share Jesus love with others.

What makes me happy?  Peace makes me happy.  Listening makes me happy.  Contentment makes me happy.  There are days when I don’t feel good, when my kids drive me crazy, when my husband makes me angry – but I can live in peace and contentment in that moment.  I can be happy because it’s where I am right now and I can work to make all of that better.  Simply put…being in the arms of our loving Savior makes me SO VERY HAPPY!7eada7d3176cae7b57f0069ffce5fd42

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