I hear the phrase “My happy place” fairly often. There are signs galore with this slogan, shops and even a deli with this name. But, yesterday’s reading in The Valley of Vision puts a whole different spin on “my happy place”,
The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. The writings were gathered and edited by Arthur Bennett, Canon of St. Albans Cathedral, England.
From yesterday’s reading:
“…Cause me to be a mirror of Thy grace, to show others the joy of thy service, may my lips be well-tuned cymbals sounding Thy praise…Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent of things eternal…”
“…Let my happy place be amongst the poor in spirit, my delight the gentle ranks of the meek. Let me always esteem others better than myself, and find in true humility an heirloom to two worlds.”
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God. Psalm 146:5
“The most valuable thing in life never changes by time or place – it is to be honest and cheerful, to find happiness in what you have and to have courage in hardships.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder, when she was solicited for advice to Japanese women.
I think this is good advice, but not necessarily the most valuable thing in life. I find it easy to be honest, not so easy to always be cheerful. I can’t brag on my honesty, though, as it isn’t perfect. And cheerfulness? Well, God loves a cheerful giver and I’m making progress in that area. I can find happiness in what I have, but there is a sadness in what is missing. What is missing for me isn’t things, though. I usually have courage in hardships, but not always patience. Whatever honesty, cheerfulness, happiness or courage I do have is because God has granted it to me.
“Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely. – Jeremiah 6:15
Even better than Wilder’s advice is this:
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
C.S. Lewis was a novelist, poet, academic, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. He is probably best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, but he wrote numerous other works, including “The Problem of Pain” from where the quotes in this series were taken.
When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy.
This has made me pause to wonder. When I am unhappy in my life’s work, is it just circumstantial and temporary? Or is it because I am not doing what I should be doing?
I think this thing God wants us to be can change over time. I think at one time God wanted me to teach. But there came a point where it seemed to cause nothing but heartache for me. Yet, I kept going back for more. I THINK I see now that that door is closed. That chapter is over.
I love writing and right now it’s making me happy. That is no guarantee it’s what I should be doing. There are a LOT of things one could say makes them happy, but that doesn’t mean they should be doing them.
All I know to do now is take it to the Lord daily and ask Him to guide me every day.
What about you? Do you feel you are where you’re supposed to be?