Contentment and the pursuit of happiness

Just so everyone knows, I still want to be a writer. Badly. I know my last post was a bit despairing, cause if we’re being honest, that’s kind of where I was at the time (guess that thick skin hasn’t fully developed yet), but things have improved. Besides having been much encouraged by a few things, I’ve also, as per usual, realized yet again that it is my very passion for my work that so grieves me when it flounders. That’s not really the point of this post, but I figured I’d mention it so anyone reading wouldn’t think I was still flailing about in the miry pits of self-absorbed pity.

Anyway, on that note, let’s talk about happiness.

Here’s the thing about happiness. It’s great. It’s really great. It feels good, people like it and, well, it makes people feel happy.

But that’s just it. It’s only a feeling.

In some ways, happiness makes me wary. It’s not like I don’t want to be happy, it’s more that, well, I don’t want to be only happy. To me, happiness is like a lesser shade of joy and contentment, the weakest of the three, and least worthy of being sought. Not only that, but to pursue only the first hampers achievement of the higher two. If I only seek that which makes me happy, I will be unhappy if I don’t find it. If I can learn to be content in whatever circumstances (Phillipians 4:11-13) however, then I can be joyful in that and really enjoy–rather than fear the losing or escape of–happiness.

Which brings me back to that part that I said wasn’t the main part of this post. I think a lot of things went in to me reaching that point of despair from which I wrote my last post. Performance issues, impatience, thin skin, passion, hormones, etc. Probably a lot of things. But what struck me is how quickly that all fled when I finally made some breakthroughs. It was like, “Yeah, I can do this. A stranger on Twitter likes me after all!”

And a tiny voice at the back of my head asked me if that’s really what makes me happy.

Not a condescending voice, or a condemning one, but a gentle one.

The same one that tells me that He already loves my book. And me. Even if it never sells.

I worry sometimes what would happen if I became famous. Power corrupts, they say, and if I had it, what would I do? Could I still speak as freely about my life on this blog if I knew that thousands were reading? Could I hold as true to my beliefs as I do now if I knew that losing fans was a risk? What about losing money? What if I had more of that?

A few of my favorite life verses are Proverbs 30:7-9. “Two things I ask of you, O Lord, do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

These words have proved to be fairly invaluable in reminding me time and time again what I really need. Daily bread. Enough to get by. Not a massive library (*drools*), fancy dance dresses or being on a top-selling list. Those things are fine and beautiful, and excellence in its own way brings glory to God, but I don’t really need them.

I will continue to tell the best stories I can and continue to pursue my dreams, in no small part because I can feel God behind me, cheering me on, but even if I never meet with any kind of success, even if it all falls through, I can learn to be content in all circumstances, because He loves me, and, as an added bonus, He loves my book.

One thought on “Contentment and the pursuit of happiness

  1. Kim February 14, 2015 / 7:24 am

    Some good points.

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