Everyday Life: Hoping for Happiness

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Hoping for Happiness

If…Then…

Have you ever fallen into the “When this happens, then I will be happy syndrome?” For example, “When the baby starts sleeping through the night, then I’ll be happy.” “When I lose this last ten pounds, then…”  “When my husband gets that better job, then…”  Somehow we are easily tempted to think that our current situation is the cause of our present dissatisfaction, and when it is resolved happiness will come.

It never works, does it? Just when one difficulty goes away, another one appears.  And it just goes on and on. We assume that happiness comes from temporal things, even good things, but in the end they always fail.  A simple change in circumstances will never be enough to really satisfy us or fill us with the love and security we want and need.

I have experienced the “When this… then I will…” syndrome more than once. One particular incident looms large in my mind.

My Failed Plan

blank dishIt all started with dishes. I love dishes.  If I were fabulously wealthy, I would probably have a different set of dishes for every day of the year.  So consider how sad it was that when Ron and I first got married, I only had one set of dishes. Ugly dishes, at that.

Now, I need to add at this point, that in that first year of marriage, Ron and I were not exactly enjoying ourselves. Ron’s job was stressful, we had just moved to a new state, and I didn’t have a friend in the world.  But then one day, the world’s most beautiful dishes caught my eye.  I wanted them.  I mean I really wanted them. Somehow, I knew if I just had those dishes, I would be happy.  I know it sounds silly, but unconsciously, the thought was there.

And so I did what any miserable newlywed would do, I coveted, nagged, and hinted until those new dishes were finally mine.

I set the table. I laid out the best cloth napkins. It looked really good.  I’m not sure if I let any food touch my new plates, but the table setting was fabulous.

Still Empty

And as clearly as if it were yesterday, I remember waking up the next day and feeling empty.  I looked around, saw my beautiful new dishes, and realized that I didn’t feel a bit different.  The marriage was still hard. I was still lonely. And setting my heart and my hopes on an intangible object didn’t satisfy me the way I thought it would.

Yet now, years later, I can still fall into that same trap. I can fool myself into thinking that if everyone liked me, then I would be happy. If the kids were perfect, my life would be too. And if I were in charge, if life were secure, if I had everything I needed, then all would be well.

But the truth of the matter is this, nothing and no one in this world will ever satisfy our hearts.  As St. Augustine put it, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

One of my favorite verses states this so clearly, You have shown me the path to life, and you make me glad by being near to me. Sitting at your right side, I will always be joyful. Psalm 16:11 (CEV).

Jesus is all I need to be happy and fulfilled. Only Jesus will satisfy my heart.

Listen to Audio “Hoping for Happiness” & Learn:

Rediscover the wonder and beauty of Jesus when you listen to this lesson.  You will be reminded, or perhaps hear for the first time, how only He can satisfy the longings of your heart.  Understand how He saves, empowers, secures, embraces, beautifies and transforms you.

  • Identify the false loves in your life
  • Learn how to make the beauty of Christ the satisfaction of your heart
  • Let God transform you from the inside-out by changing the way you think

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