happiness. a rip off.

So I'm totally ripping this post off of a friend of mine who wrote on happiness and what it means. (Like, if I get everything I've ever wanted I'll be happy. FALSE!)

Anyway, I was reading her post (which actually happened to be a rip off of Anthony de Mello's "The Way of Love" - but at least we gave credit where credit was due!) and it really moved something in me. I am always looking towards the future and how much happier I will be when I get married and when I have my own house and when I have a puppy. Happy happy happy!

But you know what? I also thought I would be happier if I got out of Birmingham, or got back together with my ex-boyfriend, or let my hair grow out. Silly, silly girl. I have all of that now, and what am I doing? Still looking for happiness. Because your circumstances and situations do not make you happy. Knowing who you were created to be, knowing that you have purpose in this world, knowing that you are loved by the creator of the universe (which, p.s., is kind of a big deal) - that is what can make you happy, if you let it.

So as Mr. de Mello suggests, I plan to do the following: "Make a list of all your attachments and desires and to each of them say these words: 'Deep down in my heart I know that even after I have got you I will not get happiness.' And ponder on the truth of those words."

He also said this awesome quotable: "The fulfillment of desire can, at the most, bring flashes of pleasure and excitement. Don’t mistake that for happiness."

Ok friends, I am off to list the meaningless attachments and desires I have so that I can then rebuke them. I dare you to join me.


p.s. check out the rest of Jena's post here


  1. I love this post. I've always thought there was a big difference between "Happiness" and "Joy" although people seem to use the terms interchangeably. To me, happiness is just an emotion based on our circumstances and surroundings. But JOY, is a gift from God, something that is deep down inside us that sometimes is so pure and full that it comes bubbling up. Joy is a "knowing"... knowing God's love and mercy and grace. And joy can't be taken away, because it's His gift to us!

  2. Jessi, I was in my early forties before I really understood this concept but I think it's absolutely true! I came across a quote that went something like this: "Happiness is not having what you want/love; it's wanting/loving what you have." For me, the real revelation came not in making a list of what I wanted that I didn't yet have but in making a list of all the incredible blessings in my life that I so often take for granted --- and in enjoying what's already around me. I learn daily from my friend Laurie who has such a gift for recognizing and appreciating the beauty in a seemingly ordinary moment.... She revels in the way the sunlight reflected from the lake "dances" across the shadows in the room; she experiences pure joy watching a bird find the feeder when she's restocked it with seed; she's aware of the softness of the air on spring and summer afternoons before (or after) it rains. I've learned from her that it is much easier to find happiness through recognizing what you already have than by getting what you THINK you want.