Have you seen the documentary Happy, on Netflix? It’s an interesting psychological research based study on the keys to happiness. Interesting how the very things we think will get us to a happier place seem to be the things that drag us down.
Why else do we spend countless hours on Facebook promoting ourselves, or working 2 jobs just so we can have a holiday trailer, money for trendy clothes, and material things?
We’ve heard all these rants before, but when will we actually realize that this pursuit, is leading us down?
I remember the conversation with my new husband, 10 years ago, after the birth of our daughter..He said “so, when you go back to work….” I interrupted him and stated that I wanted to stay home with our kids, it was important to me, and I would be more miserable working to pay for their clothes, than I would be, being with them and sifting through hand-me-downs (which I still depend on for my family).
(just a note: my personal story is not a bash on working moms, I have a lot of working mom friends who are amazing, dedicated mothers with awesome kids, this is just my journey)
It had actually never crossed his mind that I would stay home, because in our day and age you need two incomes to make it, that’s what most of our neighbours and friends have had to do to run their house. It is just what you do in Canada to, you know, make it.
But here’s is my question..
A bigger house, a trendier wardrobe, french manicures, disney land trips, big screen TV’s?
Is this truly making it in life?
We have made it on $15/hr and we have made on more/hour and as our kids grow, their needs grow too, but God has always provided, and not just enough but abundantly. We have a beautiful home, my kids have extracurricular activities we make priority, and we have 2 vehicles. We are indeed making it. What’s not making it is my hair, my nails, my wardrobe (where I own 1 pair of $25 jeans that fit), we eat out once a month, and we haven’t been to a movie in 6 months. Our vacations include a 1974 trailer, and a bag of marshmallows, and 3 days before the next paycheque I have to figure out how to feed 7 people on $5. No joke. I see the $5 on my dresser now, and I’m fine with it. (though some pouting and moaning has occurred)
So back to the movie, Happy.
What are the keys to happiness? To really making it?
#3 Physical exercise
#4 Constant newness and change.
Hmm, funny how none of these things require money. And funny how these are our lower priorities, if we get to it at all. And funny that I have never gone a day without food or clothing in my entire life, yet I stress about it often.
Sure I pout from time to time about my lack of richness. I used to complain to my husband that I wanted to have nice clothes while I was still good looking, but now I’m 2 years away from middle age, and I’m praying for my good genetics to bide me some more time to get rich.! However, the moments when I am happiest, is usually when there is no striving, and I am simply using my body to move, enjoying a new adventure with my family, helping a friend, or laughing with my people.
So here is my challenge to all of us today, me included. What if our life choices, our daily priorities were based on Compassion, Community, Physical Exercise, and Newness? Instead of our daily and life choices being based on money, success, and popularity?
What if we left the needs and provision up to God, and we focused our part on being connected to a greater purpose outside of ourselves?
One lesson that I have learnt so joyfully is that I can ask God for anything, even what seems materialistic or non-life sustaining – essential. He actually cares. Take 13 days ago, for example. I pouted and whined to my husband that I wish we had just a little more income so I could get my hair cut, coloured, get my nails done, and buy nice face creams, pout, moan, whine.
God turned that pout into wine, because I asked.
#1 – I host a pre pout, whine, moan skin care party, my budget is LOOOOW and my party was a flop, so my hostess benefit was pretty sad. I ordered my one sad item and a few days later I get a call that she has entered in the system and I get $60 in free product! WOOT!
#2 – friends of ours come for the weekend and she happens to be a hairdresser, but it doesn’t cross my mind to invite company over and usurp their gifting. She says “Lets’ go to the beauty supply store and get your hair done!” So off we go, she buys it all, against my will, and we spend the afternoon doing my hair, cut, colour and wine!
#3 – New face, new hair, and then my husband calls me to ask if I want to get my nails done. His coworker’s daughter is in beauty school and needs volunteers to practice on! I go, she did amazing, and it was FREE PEOPLE!!!!!
So here I am, at home, with my $5, my toddler snuggled, my kids safely in school with a very creative lunch, and my hair is did, and my nails are clicking and I’m still getting used to typing, and I have this sense that God is kissing me on the cheek like a loving father and is saying “you’re making it!” Now get to work caring for people!