How Do You Measure Happiness?

The World

I have been struggling here lately with how I measure happiness. I look around through the eyes of the world and very quickly see everything that’s lacking.

I want the spacious, immaculate house with eye-catching colors and designs, gorgeous furniture, built-ins, and perfectly organized closets.

I want yummy, healthy meals that effortlessly appear on the table at dinner time.

I want orderly days without chaos, when everything falls neatly into place and my check-list is completed without fail.

I want always obedient children who are never mischievous, difficult, or defiant.

The world says I need less cellulite, cuter outfits, and more accessories.

The world says my hubby deserves a newer car, a handsome wardrobe, and a neatly landscaped yard.

I look around and quickly begin to feel sorry for myself.

Yes, there is a part of me deep down that knows I’m being ridiculous, but nevertheless I continue down this path of self-pity.

I consider getting myself a job or taking a small child into our home for compensation.  Money would surely help solve all of my problems, right?

I wonder how that would even work?  I’m already struggling to get it all done.

Homeschooling would have to go.  I’m not really good at it anyhow.  It’s a ton of work, and stressful.

The results thus far are questionable.  I’m probably ruining their futures for goodness sake.

Yup, I’m certain of it, public school for them and a job for me.

Why haven’t I figured this getting-along-in-life thing out yet?

 I can do this.  I can bring on the happy.


Yet I continue spiraling downward into a pit of discouragement.

I’m tired and I’m hitting bottom.  I should probably just go to bed…

Except at 2:00PM that would probably arouse suspicion and concern.

My husband has heard it all before.  Now you know the kind of crazy he deals with around here. :/

I begin to very intentionally hold every thought captive.  I need to gain perspective. Godly perspective.

My worn-out, rippled, and stained berber carpet…it could be a tiny dirt floor in a Ugandan hut.

My coffee table that looks as though it’s been beaten repeatedly with a metal mallet…it could be myself that is beaten.

My walls covered in skid marks, dings, and dust….


And then my mind quickly races back to a time 6 years earlier.

My dear friend Lisa was battling breast cancer and my daughter Gabrielle was battling seizures.

We were both in the midst of heavy darkness.  Yet never before had our hearts been more aligned with His.

The clattering and clanging of this world had been silenced.  Together we marveled over the valley and how it wipes away the confusing interference (like the paint color on your walls).

It leaves behind only crisp clarity regarding the things that matter here on Earth.

“Despicable as the shadows may be, they hold the promise of the Master’s voice.”- Angie Smith, Mended

I heard His desires more clearly than ever before and my own heart resonated deeply with the message.

He cares about nothing apart from the relationships. Nothing.

He impressed this upon me so strongly in those darkest of days.

Our entire existence here on Earth is quite simply about relationships.

Overlook all the rest of the nonsense that is intended to distract us, put Him and His people first.


I mean take a look at the Ten Commandments if you don’t believe me.

Every single instruction has to do with protecting relationships.

Think about what Jesus replied when asked about the greatest commandment in the Law…

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:36-40

If that doesn’t clinch it for you…

Then what about God sending His only son Jesus to die on a cross?

He will stop at nothing to have a relationship with me and you.


My heart takes a turn upward as it begins to percolate with thankfulness.

I carefully filter everything through His lens.

The dilapidated house, the unglamorous clothing, the chubby thighs, the mediocre dinners,and the messy chaos…

They all fade into the background.

Everything insignificant, inconsequential, trivial,and irrelevant is strained away.

And do you know what rises to the surface and comes to the forefront?

He does.

My relationship with Him.

He wants me to choose to overlook all of the noisy distractions and listen to His voice alone.

He cares most about how I treat my husband, my 7 charges, and my family, neighbors and friends. He wants me to put people first.

But it’s so hard for my obsessive-compulsive, perfection-seeking self. :( You know, to ignore the state of things that surround me.


He reminds me that I have an amazing husband who loves, supports, and serves.

He reminds me that my 7 beautiful children are gifts to be treasured.

He shows me that staying home with my kids is an absolute privilege.  We are blessed that it is even an option.

And that I have been able to do it for the past 15 years? That’s truly unbelievable.

He shows me I’ve taken it all for granted, the fact that I haven’t missed a beat of my children’s lives. I wake each morning expecting to spend time with my kids, all of us learning together.

My blessings truly do abound.

And as thankfulness begins to saturate my being, it unlocks joy.


But oh this tremendous responsibility I have.

Seven sets of eyes watching, absorbing, and processing my reactions and responses.

I grow so weak at times.

Who or what will I put first in my life?

Where will I find my joy and happiness?

What will I teach them through my attitudes and actions?

Please pray this for me-

That I would put God first in my life and that all the lies of the world would be laid to rest as I measure things against only His standards.  Pray that He would equip me, so that I would live out my faith and be the hands and feet of Jesus to all those who surround me.  Pray that His desires would bring me gratitude and joy.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

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