I woke up this morning and as soon as I got on Facebook I was greeted with a time hop post from 2009. It was a status I had posted with nothing but this quote by Frederick Keonig: “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
9 years ago I was 17 and still in high school. There is no telling why I posted this quote and after 9 years I couldn’t even begin to remember. What I do know is that God had me post it then because He knew I would need it today. He picked this moment to send me a little message that He knew I so desperately needed to hear.
Something that did catch me by surprise is that I thought it was supposed to be the opposite. I thought our older and wiser selves were supposed to tell our younger selves all of those things we wish we would have known or done. Brad Paisley even has that song titled, “Letter to Me” that talks about this. Today, it flipped and it was like my 17 year old self wrote a letter to me. That version of me seems so much wiser than the 26 year old college graduate with a big girl job.
You see I have been a total brat lately. I look at my friends, family, and even people on social media and begin to play that comparison game. My mind begins to race with all of the “what if’s”. What if I had this? What if I did this? What if I made this much money? What if I had this house? What I had the extra time to go and do this? What if, what if, what if? The list goes on.
At one point I won’t lie…I threw a fit. I sulked on the couch because I allowed the enemy to really get to me that day and guess what? I didn’t even try to fight back. I wanted to wallow in my self pity of what I didn’t have. What I didn’t get to do. What I didn’t look like. I compared my life page by page to those around me and honestly by my account my life was down right unfair. In that moment I didn’t feel that I had anything to be grateful for, but instead my list of things I didn’t have grew. My anxiety started to consume me and I felt about as big as the point on the #2 pencil on my desk right now. I know this sounds awful and if you have never struggled with this then I seriously want to hear your secret. I have felt like several times throughout the years and I am not proud of it by any account.
Of course my husband walked in and asked me what was wrong because as always he can instantly tell when I am having a “moment” as we call it. At one point in our conversation he asked me, “What do you think would have to happen or what would you need to finally find happiness?” Because I was in a “moment” I quickly listed off my requirements that would finally bring me the so called peace and happiness that I thought I was missing. As quickly as the words left my mouth, God convicted my heart. Before bed I apologized not only to my husband, but also to God for so quickly forgetting all that I have to be thankful for.
I don’t know what it is about this time of the year but it is like my mind gets bombarded with all of the “things” and I have to fight the enemy hard to keep my heart in check. At times I loose that fight and I throw a tantrum fit for a toddler who didn’t get the “correct” color cup. Then other times my heart is so full with gratefulness that it feels it could explode, like right now for instance.
You see, in this moment, I feel extremely thankful that just like my daddy here on earth, my Heavenly Father sits and waits patiently for the kicking and screaming to stop and then gently reminds me of a valuable lesson. He didn’t turn His back on me. He never left my side. He just sat there and waited until the tantrum stopped so He could remind me that He knows what is best.
So today I admit I am not perfect. I will still have moments of thinking that one more thing in my buggy at Target will bring me happiness, but for today I am thankful for that “letter” from myself at 17. I am thankful for the fact that my happiness does not rely on the things I don’t have, but on the things I do have.
All we need to do to unlock our happiness is to recognize all that God has given starting with His greatest gift of all, love. ❤️