We can spend a lifetime being only a few steps away.
Sometimes I think happiness is an unrealistic goal. We can obtain happiness, but there really is no permanence in being happy. The things that make us happy today may not be there tomorrow and even the things that are here the next day could be lacking in their original appeal. Perhaps there exists something much deeper than happiness that we must strive to achieve.
Should the permanence of joy be our goal instead? Think about that for a moment. Is there really a difference between joy and happiness? Many reference books define joy as something that brings about happiness and at the same time describe it as a feeling of great happiness or pleasure, especially of an elevated or spiritual kind (Encarta Dictionary). So, in this definition which comes first? Let’s look at a few characteristics of happiness like contentment, pleasure, gladness, cheerfulness, joy, glee, bliss, delight, exhilaration and ecstasy. Wow! Who would not want to be in that place all the time or at the very least most of our days? Notice how joy comes up once again. What’s first; joy or happiness?
In order to achieve this ultimate state of Being we must know ourselves and locate the passion within. Passion is the soul’s recognition of God’s gifts and in these gifts dwells our purpose. Once we begin to live a purposeful life we start to experience a constant and continuous flow of joyful emotions which magnetically attract experiences, circumstances and situations into our lives which produce more joy. So it seems to me that the higher our purpose is the greater the return shall be.
(2 Timothy 2:19-21 New International Version) Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
I remember a time when I experienced a lack of purpose. It was at a point when one of my businesses began to grow exponentially. I had to hire several employees and train them in various aspects of the business. Although I still maintained the general management of the business things began to run very smoothly during the course of the regular business day. Monthly and weekly responsibilities still were my own, but the daily operation made me feel somewhat obsolete. Whenever I attempted to get involved with the sales aspect of the business I would be pushed aside. This led me to stay away as I began a cycle of diminishing purpose.
Instead of feeling happiness I felt sadness, boredom and disillusion. This led me into isolation and eventually into trouble. I began to look for anything and anyone to pass the time until eventually I passed on all the time. Nothing that needed to get done was getting done and the people who worked for me began to feel that I was less and less necessary. The thing is that I wasn’t. The business needed me to stay alive, but the lack of joy I was experiencing while working in it was leading me further and further away from my purpose in it.
Eventually I turned to other means to generate excitement. Alienated with one business I turned to another. I began to seek out real estate investments that I would be able to rent out long term and build up equity. The thing is that my joy in this was always short lived. I loved the hunt, found excitement in the kill, but after it was ready and rented the excitement would dissipate and I would ask myself, “What now?” So I would find another and go through the entire process again. It was not the money that was making me happy. It was the process associated with a purpose.
You see, the thing is that the purpose was limited to the process. While I was building my business I felt purpose in that. That is why I kept opening up one store after another. My joy was found in obtaining the goal, but after each store was set up and operating on its own I would lose my purpose and the joy that went along with it. The same thing took place with my real estate investing. I would find the properties, negotiate the price, close the deal, renovate and lease them out. After that it was just a matter of maintenance. After the purpose was accomplished my emotional system would crash and I would be right back where I started.
One day that would all change though. I no longer turned to material accomplishments linked to financial rewards to define my purpose. Instead I was awakened to my Gifts and led onto the path that He had intended for me to follow. I began to concentrate on serving God and seeking the Kingdom first. Helping others and sharing my experiences and testimonies with them through my books and seminars began to fill me. Hours seemed like minutes and I became charged with light from the inside out. Everything just seemed to flow effortlessly. The right people and opportunities began to cross my path and signs began to appear everywhere. Now every day is full of reason and no matter what external experiences confront me I continually maintain my joy in my ordained purpose.
(Matthew 5:8 Amplified Bible) Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous–possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!
We can’t let others define us. There goals cannot be ours. The special purpose that is within us can rarely be understood by those without us. Joy is created via God’s gifts and happiness is our blessing. The world tells us to strive for the standard, but the heavens tell us to strive for the remarkable. In our hearts is the only Truth of our Being.
(Ephesians 4:11 Amplified Bible) And His gifts were [varied; He Himself appointed and gave men to us] some to be apostles (special messengers), some prophets (inspired preachers and expounders), some evangelists (preachers of the Gospel, traveling missionaries), some pastors (shepherds of His flock) and teachers.
In faith always,
Great article , keep up good work brother.
Thanks man. That means a lot to me.
As I read of your experience in starting businesses only to see them become successful and then losing your interest, seem to be my experience. When I was working, I was happy and somewhat successful. Then the economy died and I became sick and ended in the hospital. Then I retired in order to read and study God’s Word and to spend more time on the things of the Lord and take care of my health. Now I am home most of the day wanting to get out there and do something, while the Lord keeps me at home spending time on the things of the Lord and I have joy in doing it. “My Daily Bread” has a statement today in its devotional that I truly liked. It says “Stay the course because the things we experience today will lead us to where He (I expect this to mean God) need us to be tomorrow.” I want to get ahead of God in my life and do something, when He keeps telling and leading me into just a deeper walk with Him.
Stay the course and pay attention. He will send us signs and show us check points along the way. We will be tempted to go backwards, but me must continue to move forward toward Promise.