How Can I Find
Our Life Long Struggle to find happiness is over
Looking for Happiness
Are you tired of striving to find happiness, but never obtaining it…or you only find it for only a moment but then it is gone? Not to worry, happiness is waiting for you…yes, true happiness. But True Happiness is probably not what you think it is at all. Oh, but when you find it, a more fantastic life than you could ever imagine can be yours.
Are you looking for love, success and to feel great about yourself, thinking that is the way to happiness? Oh, if you just had someone to love you…ah, then you would be happy. Oh, if you just had more talent or an accomplishment…ah, then you would be happy. Oh, if you just had better looks or a greater intellect…ah, then you would be happy.
Oh, the complaints we have from all of our wants…we want this, we want that. It is something different for everyone, but we want and want and want. We think if we obtain what we want…then we will finally be happy. So we spend our lives perusing our hearts desire, looking for happiness.
Well, many people find some form of happiness that way. That is why we are willing to give our life in the pursuit of all of those things we want. If that is what you seek–obtaining what you want–then you are like the rest of the world, who is looking for happiness through–our pride.
Yes, those and many other things are the ways we feel happy through our pride (self-love). It is how we fill our envy, gluttony and/or vanity…as we crave something better, something more or what someone else has, thinking if we just had that, then we would be happy. And when our pride is filled up enough, we have the sensation of happiness.
Most of the “happy” people we see around us are happy because they feel loved by others, have success with something and love themselves.
And if you haven’t been able to find someone to love you for who you are, or if you haven’t become good enough at something to become successful, or if you don’t feel you are great just the way you are, then you will most likely be unhappy…that is, if that is what you are seeking to bring you happiness.
But surely that isn’t the way to True Happiness.
The World is Our god
There are many of us, who aren’t able to boost our pride with those things, since we don’t feel much love, success nor acceptance of ourselves. Then to find happiness, we turn to other things in the world hoping for some joy with perhaps: material possessions, money, sex, food, drugs, drinking, hobbies, entertainment, sports, vacations, etc….oh, I could go on forever.
Most of us know those things are only fleeting pleasures of the world…but the other worldly, pride boosting things, we thrive off of (love, success, self-approval), we don’t recognize as leading us away from GOD–the source of true happiness.
What is interesting is, even for those of us, who are very happy from being loved, successful and/or having self-satisfaction, most are still not satisfied and want more. Then, we seek to fill ourselves up with countless other pleasures of the world too, looking for more and more gratification from our addiction to seeking happiness in all of the wrong places.
Now, if we had love from others, success in the world and self-satisfaction, but we didn’t need those things to be “happy” then we could still find the source of true happiness: God.
But we clearly prove we need those things to be happy and have made them our idols (our source of happiness), because not only do we crave them, but once what we love leaves or our success fails, or we realize we aren’t who we want to be, then we are unhappy…and/or we are looking to replace our idol to make us happy again. This clearly proves all of those worldly things are really our source of happiness. Yes, we have made them our gods.
True happiness, however, is found by learning how to separate ourselves from the world, which we have become attached to, and attaching ourselves to God…making God and His will our source of happiness…not seeking to get what we want but what God wants. Then everything could leave; we could have fantastic crosses to bear, and we still would be PERFECTLY CONTENT, because we want NOTHING but God and His will. It is all of our worldly wants…when we don’t get them, that makes us miserable.
“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”(Job 1:22)
I tell you, the greatly popular, wonderfully successful, who have grand self-esteem, who have every pleasure in the world… won’t find TRUE Happiness on earth or for eternity either, that is, if those things are their source of happiness.
They will lose it all (reject God for their pride–love of the world). Learning how to want nothing but GOD and His will is the only way.
“You are my God. My happiness lies in you alone.” (Psalm 16:1)
We live in a time when most of us only know how to find happiness through our pride/the world’s pleasures. Oh, the world is full of people who run around with a big smile on their face loving life, but so sadly it is all from false happiness. So, when we seek help to find happiness from them, most of us are only receiving misguided love, not love that leads to True Happiness.
“[Once we realize we are following a false god, an idol] “The first degree of knowledge brings about repentance–that is, sorrow–changing laughter into lamentation [loosing our false happiness (founded upon pride) and crying over our offences against God, so we can find Him.]
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Yes, once God enlightens us to the fact that we have been following the blind, delighting in idols and are actually lost, “Your laughter be turned into mourning [over your sins] and your joy into dejection [hating what you once loved] (James 4:9).” Praise God!
But when we don’t know God–like when we are very young or an unbeliever or of little faith–our pride is the only way to obtain any kind of happiness.
For children, who haven’t matured enough to come to know God and His way to happiness (wanting nothing but God and His will), boosting our pride through giving love, complements, and teaching them how to love themselves (but not their wrongs) is good.
But once a person matures enough and can come to know God, they need to be taught what is the real source of true happiness, so they can let go of their childish ways–remove their attachment to themselves and the world–that will ultimately prevent them from ever truly knowing God, so they can seek their Savior: the source of true earthly and eternal happiness.
To obtain happiness through God alone, we MUST learn how to reject our pride:
We reject our pride when we :
- lose our desire to be loved by anyone but God; We need to place our focus on giving love, not getting love, consolation, friendship, or attention, etc. from anyone, so we can desire to please God alone;
- lose our desire for success to feel accomplished, valuable or to get what we want. Then seek only what God wills, being content with whatever that is, cross and all. Gaining trust in God and what He allows, knowing it is part of God’s plan and meant to lead us to a wonderful life and eternity of peace, that is if we can learn, change and follow Him through all He lets occur in our lives;
- lose our desire to justify/cover our wrongs, so we can like/love ourselves by pretending we are doing good (when we aren’t); but instead look for our sinfulness and accept reality, seeking Mercy to change us so we can love God/not offend Him. Then from gaining self-knowledge, we can grow in hatred for our sinful-self. Now from having humility (The Way to happiness), we can more clearly see God’s unfathomable mercy/love for us despite our wrongs and embrace that love for a life of peace.
At first, it will be hard to do the above, since it is hard to change. Just coming to see, at least a little of where we are going wrong, will be a big step. We will need much grace. There are so many ways we seek to be loved, want success and justify our sins to boost our self-esteem…and until we learn how to humbly examine ourselves correctly, to see where we are going wrong, we probably won’t be able to see most of them. But all of those ways are keeping us from True Happiness. To learn more please read, “How Can I See My Sins.”
When I’m speaking about being loved, wanting success and justifying our wrongs or doing wrong for self-acceptance/love, I’m speaking about a dynamic problem. Below I list some of our desires for loves, success and self-love so we can understand what I’m speaking about.
Pretend like we have done nothing wrong
Gain Knowledge, wisdom, blessings
Focus on our good (ignore the bad)
Grow in skills, talent
Follow our own will/what we want
Do what feels best
Become Revered, Respected, Popular
Do what benefits ourselves
Someone who wants to care for and please us
Obtain wealth, possessions, rewards
Want love and success to feel great about ourselves
Of course if we obtain any of the above love or success, they aren’t technically “bad”, but sadly they very easily turn into “bad”–sin. That is why the saints ran from those things (if possible)…or at least having others notice they have those things (if possible)…since for example, if we have accomplishments…then others begin to notice…then they approve of us, complement us and desire our friendship, which in and of itself aren’t “bad”, but, from there, the devil uses those to boost our pride–the horrid pride that we want to leave but we get sucked into craving for happiness, which rejects God’s true happiness.
When we receive love and success, if we lack grace to combat the evil temptations those pleasures bring, we begin to want them (make them our idol), offend God and grow in deadly blinding pride…seeking that (love and success) for happiness and not God and His will alone is one of our sources of our sadness. We will love those pleasure so much, we won’t even be able to acknolowledge that we have them.
Sadly, our friends and family are a huge problems with finding true happiness. Most are greatly attached to them, and they have become our source of happiness and a great source for offending God too. When our family and friends are filling us up with all the attention we want, we are happy. But when they aren’t, we are longing for their affection (our source of happiness).
It is easy to see our attachments to them, because if we were to take away our friends and family, most will not know what to do with ourselves. We will be so lonely, board and sad…we haven’t learned how to have God be our everything, and only allow our friends and family to bring us to God, not keep us from Him.
How many of us run to a for consolation/love, when the gracious ear of Our Lord–our source of true happiness–is waiting for us? Oh, most doesn’t even know how to find God…since we are so used to running to others.
Perhaps we might seek advice or help from someone, which is not offensive to God, but if we aren’t very careful, what happens is our heart begins to like the attention, the conversation and then we start to fall into all sorts of sin.
I dared not even console her [my mother] by a word, fearing to offend God by taking pleasure in talking over our troubles [complaining about our crosses]. “
–St. Margret Mary
I’m not saying we can’t console others of little faith, who are in anguish and don’t know how to carry a cross or trust in God, but we ourselves, who understand the faith and want to carry our crosses to find true happiness, need to only go to God if we are over burdened. His grace is enough.
Of course, we can still have family and friends, but we need to learn how to detach from them. But if they lead us into sin, idol chatter, indulgences, gossip, etc. then we might need to rid ourselves from their conversation all together…only speaking when necessary or practice silence and prayer alone…
Any conversations that aren’t to better know, love and serve God must be avoided. They offend God, which leads to unhappiness. Fellowship is only great if we are like minded…if both are seeking God and God alone as our source of happiness…or that friendship will lead us into much sin.
How many friends do I have? None. Why? I have chosen to give them up (not that I had that many to start, so it wasn’t so hard), but when I decided I wanted to make God my source of happiness, and I saw how my “friends” were greatly leading me into sin/sadness, I realized unless there was someone, who sincerely wanted to become a saint and was working to give up the world’s pleasures to find the Source of True Joy, they were going to be a great stumbling block for me. Now, I’m fully content with God alone.
Sure sometimes, I will crave what I don’t have, since naturally the devil temps me and I fall and I want to share what God has done with another. This doesn’t happen so much now, but even when it did, I prefered silence rather than to risk offending God anyway. I delight to converse with God in prayer…that is a greater joy than any conversation what man could bring….sure this love of God didn’t happen over night, actually God pulled me away from my attachment to man over years…sadly, even though I didn’t think I had a large attachment to “friends” I wanted what I didn’t have, a spiritual person to share with, and I wouldn’t let go my will for God’s. But God kept at me seeking me to give up my will completely and embrace God alone. Praise God! Now, I’m free of that self-willed desire.
Therefore, having no one to share one’s grief or blessings with is a great blessing from God. It leads right to Him. It was a struggle for me at first, but I saw God’s great love through that cross and it has lead me right to the healing arms of Christ and away from my longing for man and his attention. Praise God! But sadly, we don’t know this, and our lack of consolation mostly only leads us to great self-pity, envy or worse…wanting what we don’t have.
But I do converse with others, who I’m looking to help save, or if it is God’s will, or if they are in need. Yet, I’m very careful to not speak more than necessary…as that leads to much sin. Sin we should be concerned with. Not only does it offend God, since rejects the happiness we are looking for.
But if we choose God as our consoler, after we are strengthened even more, believe it or not, we won’t even want consolation from man or God, we will only seek to console Our Lord for all of our grievances against Him.
Therefore, if we want to find True happiness, we need to practice silence, by fearing to sin, sin which separates us from God and His peace, because our happiness isn’t found through conversing with others but through loving God.
Therefore, we only speaking when necessary, like if we are spoken to (still being very careful to not fall into idle chatter, or worse) or of course to serve God…to do His will, but everything else leads to vast sins…not only for us but for the ones we are conversing with too. Our tongues lead us into great sin and much sadness…far from true happiness. Beware!
Being happy we are following Christ is of course good but not if we can’t recognize how we aren’t following Him. Many only focus on the good and can’t see our offences and live blind. And, of course, anything we do for self-love is always sinful, since self-love (not loving of God, but our sinful self) is the root of all sin.
For example: If we find ourselves upset and offended when people don’t do what we like (don’t treat us well…don’t listen to us, etc.)…then we know we are seeking to get love…not give love. We are not wanting what God has allowed; we are wanting our will…not the cross of Christ. We are not living how Christ taught us is The Way to happiness.
Once we stop seeking to get love, respect and kindness from others and start seeking to GIVE love, unconditionally like Christ, trusting in all God allows to happen as leading to our good, then we will allow our crosses to lead us towards True Happiness.
But like I said, it is hard to know what to do when others are misguiding us so much. Most people mean well but give all the wrong advice.
Many people are so deceived and think to help another find happiness we just need to build up another’s pride by giving them complement after complement, so they can feel great about themselves. And for someone, who doesn’t have much faith or needs to know they are doing good, a complement might be necessary.
But be very careful, and only complement with the intention of it helping to lead another to Life…not happiness through their pride. Increasing ones pride through complements is far from The Way…and only leads to greater and greater deadly blinding pride for most souls. We want to encourage others towards Life, not blind them to death in their pride.
“The one who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his steps.” (Proverbs 29:5)
Those who seek to make others happy with only “kind” words and won’t give correction (won’t love another enough to help them to not sin/obtain a saving faith) are greatly deceived and are actually trying to create a society of people that thrives off complements (making themselves their idol), who can’t take correction nor grow in true self-knowledge (of their sinfulness) and will never have the humility to see sin and change to become a saint (where true happiness is found)–and will just wind up becoming like all of the other poor lost souls, who never find God. To learn more please read, “What is Misguided Love.”
Correction is very important to finding True Happiness. That is how we will know what to change. Either we will correct ourselves or someone else will correct us. The reason most correction doesn’t work is because either the recipient won’t tolerate it (doesn’t want to know or change) or the method it is being delivered is poor or the corrector isn’t really trying to help bring another to true happiness/a saving faith; the corrector just wants to make others do things their way…what they think is best, not what is truly best (which only wisdom can enlighten us to).
Then there are others who will try to show us, who are suffering from unhappiness, all of our “good” telling us to be grateful for all that we have, instead of wanting what we don’t have, which is great. But they will neglect to teach us to be equally or even more grateful for the cross (having less/not what we want). Sadly, most won’t guide us to accept God’s will–the bad–as being truly good…being exactly what God intends to lead us to True Happiness.
Of course, it is wonderful to be grateful for all of the good we have, and many can find some happiness using this remedy. But we can NEVER find true happiness (wanting nothing but God and His will), if we don’t embrace the cross as wonderful…truly good, exactly what we need to find True happiness and Eternal Life.
Now, I’m not saying we should “focus on the good” saying, “it could have been worse”. Athiests and bounds of people with little faith do that to talk themselves into being “happy”. Their happiness comes from tricking their minds into accepting whatever happens. Yet, their joy isn’t true; it doesn’t come from God and His grace…through trusting in Him. It comes from themselves. They still don’t LOVE the Cross…and only think “good” is good.
If we really think about it, all of our complaints/unhappiness comes from us not getting what we want. When we don’t say, “Thy will be done” when something goes opposed to our will and accept our crosses, we are very unhappy (fustrated, grumpy, depressed, irritated, angered, worried, etc.). So, the goal isn’t only to be grateful for the “good” but to embrace the bad, as good…and learn how God wants to teach/help us through the cross. The cross will leads us right to Christ, if we allow it. To learn more please read, “How to Love the Cross.”
This is especially important if we are greatly suffering outside of peace. If you are suffering with unfathomable pain, I can tell you, “Just be happy…you are so blessed”…and then point out all of your blessings and tell you to focus on them. But if you are over whelmed with fantastic suffering from true anxiety and great anguish…that will do little if anything for you.
We can’t magically feel happy and be joyful from just being told to focus on the good, when the bad is so crushing. For example, let’s say someone comes to you and says, “My child just died” and then to help them we say, “oh, at least you have two other children.” Yikes, how insensitive would we be! How is that going to help?
Those suffering great pain, more than anyone, need knowledge and grace to understand that we must let go of our will and trust that all God allows He intends to use for our good…that He wishes to use our crosses to help us to grow closer to Him, IF we TRUST IN HIM. We need to know that He will make that horrible pain into something very good, if we can trust and learn to follow Him, allowing Him to lead us step by step to His great plan for our lives. Only then we will find peace.
But so few understand the marvles of the cross as being the Way to Christ and His peace. But, this peace, that causes us to really live the faith and “rejoice in our sufferings” (Romans 5:3) is waiting for us all, but we must seek Him to obtain it.
What Are We Doing Wrong?
Even if we are trying to make God our source of happiness by surrendering our will (what we want), most are going about it incorrectly, forgetting there is another huge problem with why we are so unhappy. Besides wanting things our way, as being the source of our unhappiness, there is an actual greater reason we are so unhappy and that is because of our SINS (especially since that includes us wanting our will, which is a sin).
Yes, God tells us, there is something that throws our lives outside of peace and that is when we don’t love God’s law, but love and choose sin instead. God doesn’t will us to sin; He gave us His Laws, so we can find happiness…true Happiness. He wants us to become perfect saints and “sin no more’ (John 8:11). Therefore anytime we aren’t loving God’s law but choosing sin, we are walking away from perfect peace.
“Great peace have those who LOVE YOUR LAW; nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).
“Perfect” peace is found when we finally accept enough of God’s grace to perfectly love God–to no longer choose to sin. But “great peace” we will have when we sincerely hate sin and sincerely love God’s law–have a saving faith. This great peace is finally accepted into our souls when we TRULY TRUST IN GOD and all He wills as leading to our good.
Therefore, there should be no surprise that if we choose to remain in any of our sins (have unrestrained habitual sins) that is going to lead to a life outside of peace, since we obviously don’t sincerely hate the sins, if we aren’t even working with all of our hearts to seek Mercy for the grace to stop them.
If we want any sin–habitually commit any sin–we are rejecting God’s great peace for that sin. We must want nothing but God and His will…not any sin, by having great trust in Him and His plan for our life as being what is truly good to welcome Our Lord’s great peace into our souls.
So, if we are outside of peace, look for how we are breaking God’s law. Without a doubt EVERY TIME we are outside of peace, it due to some kind of sin. Yes, even if we are stressed and with anxiety, that is from sin, as explained later in this article. Every moment we are outside of peace is from sin. The challenge is to figure out what sin is causing our lack of peace.
Please know, I’m not suggesting we won’t have great sorrow for our or others sins…if that is the peace we are looking for, then we are being deceived into thinking we can find God–true happiness–without true Contrition for our sins…which isn’t possible. This great peace, that God gives, is for those who greatly mourn over the offences we commit against our All Loving God and the loss of God we suffer from due to our great trespasses against Him. To learn more please read ,”How Can I Over Come My Scruples?”
Truly, the reason we fail to live in peace is from one reason alone. It is because we aren’t following Christ correctly…we aren’t really living/loving the laws of God as He designed, which rejects His peace.
And since “The Word [which is the Law] became flesh [Christ]” (John 1:14), the Law we don’t love is actually God Himself…Yes, when we are complacent with any sin, there is part of God that we hate. Horrible, but true!
Therefore please know, we aren’t outside of happiness because our cross is too big nor are we unhappy as a result of what someone else has done to us, even if they have caused us to suffer. Honestly, we are outside of God’s wonderful peace from us not living the faith properly (not loving God and His will)…not obeying His Law….not trusting His His way as perfect. This is something we must humbly accept if we want to learn where we are going wrong.
But a lot of us don’t realize that our anger at others, despair, depression, anxiety, lack of self-esteem, and lack of trust: complaining or worrying are all from our lack of true faith (unless we are one of the rare few who have a true mental disorder that is not a result of our lack of faith). But this is true.
We will say we have great faith, since we have experiences with God or from our vast knowledge, prayers and works. But then, why are we still filled with so much pain when bad happens? Why are we still so insecure–with low self-esteem–when someone puts us down or when we mess up? Why are we still fearful, lonely, depressed, stressed or full of complaints when things don’t go well?
Think these are natural behaviors? Well, they are. But they are our natural “sinful” behaviors. These behaviors Christians should be leaving from our correct following of Christ.
“They are happy whose life is blameless [without sin], who follow God’s law! They are happy who do his will, seeking him with all their hearts.” (Psalm 119:1-2)
When we do follow Christ correctly, we accept God’s transforming grace. Then from accepting more and more of God’s grace, through our daily repenting, changing and striving to live the faith more perfectly, we grow in greater faith and in greater and greater peace, to where we will be eventually given enough grace to be in great peace through ALL circumstances–especially during our failures and great sufferings.
If we aren’t growing in Christ’s wonderful peace, then we have proven we are doing something wrong. Because the result of living the faith properly delivers–great peace/happiness all the time, especially during our most severe torments.
“Ask any of the saints, and they will tell you they have never tasted a banquet more delicious for the spirit [themselves] than when undergoing the severest torments.”
–St. Louis De Montfort
Love of the Cross
Yes, the saints have grown to love suffering. Not because they like pain, but because God fills them, from their correct following of Him, with such love–that when they are correctly carrying their crosses (for the love of God and salvation of souls)–their suffering becomes a joy. Oh, this life of love of the cross isn’t only for the saints…no, this unbelievable peace/joy especially during our greatest trials is waiting for you. Believe!
Truly, when we follow Christ correctly our sins won’t be pushing away His mercy. But from accepting His grace we will be growing in His virtues; we won’t live in fear or despair when something horrible happens. We will be in trustful peace. And then, from there, as we learn about the fantastic grace which is sent to others from our suffering, we will want to suffer to love God and help save the souls of His children.
As impossible as this might seem right now (if we haven’t experienced such a thing), God’s grace will fill us so wonderfully when we change and truly follow Him, He will even give us a fantastic joy to suffer….more like being elated through our suffering.
“I am overflowing with joy all the more because of all our affliction.” (2 Corinthians 7:4)
Yes, this is our goal…well, it should be our goal for all Christians.
Sure, even when we find “The Way of Peace” (Romans 3:17) and accept much grace from God and are in God’s peace that is beyond all understanding, we will still sin and on occasion lose that peace (until we obtain perfect love of God), but for the most part a fantastic peace/joy (especially during great suffering) is what those of true faith enjoy. Yes, the peace God provides us is truly a “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). Please don’t be deceived.
Not that we will like to suffer; who likes that? But we will want to suffer, if it is God’s will. Plus, our natural reaction will still be to draw back from the fire/great suffering (since it hurts)…just like Christ, “My Father, if it be possible [if it is Your will], let this cup pass from me”, but the next moment we will surrender to God’s will loving the cross, “yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39), because we want to suffer to help save souls however God wills…we want to love as Jesus loved–doing only God’s will, which allows Christ to send grace through our suffering to help others obtain a saving faith and true eternal happiness.
However, we should know, this “Way of Peace”, (this true trust in Christ) is found before we obtain a saving faith…yes before, since coming to truly trust in Christ to bring us to a saving faith helps us obtain it…and of course this great peace is well before sanctity. Please don’t be deceived. This isn’t something for the saints; this is something to help make us saints. To learn more please read, “How to Become a Saint.”
But getting to this kind of faith, for most, takes much time and effort, because we are so used to doing things the wrong way…the way the world seeks happiness, since it works. I mean, it brings us temporary happiness.
We can clearly see our failure to understand The Way to Happiness by just asking anyone what they need to be happy. Tell me, who is going to say, “Nothing…just God and what ever He wills?”
Oh, what would we say we needed to be happy…”I need a good bottle of wine, an entertaining TV show, a happy spouse, sex and money…or perhaps we would say to be happy I need, “to be wanted, be attractive, have good kids, a nice house, friends, fashionable clothes, stylish car”…or maybe what we need is, “to not work on the weekends, to go fishing, have lots of likes on my social media, the latest phone, good food, have my boss appreciate me, great accomplishments.” Reality is, I could list a million different things we are attached to, because what we need to be happy is very dynamic and varies greatly from person to person.
But many of us will say, “I don’t need any of those things to be happy”, but we say this because we still don’t know how to be honest with ourselves. Our pride still won’t let us. Sadly, we have spent our lives lying to ourselves, so it is hard to see what our problems really are…for the most part, most of us don’t really know what is keeping us from happiness.
But ask yourself, how happy would you be if any one of these things happened to you: if I took away your fine wine or your TV…if your spouse was angry with you…if you had no sex or were poor? Oh, how happy would you be if you became old, sickly/not attractive, if your children became horrible, if your friends hated you, if you lost your house and could only afford old unstylish used clothes and car. Hum…how happy would you be, if you had to work way more than you wanted, if you couldn’t relax with your hobbies, if your social media shut off, if you could only afford a flip phone, if your boss was treating you poorly or you lost a talent/skill you once had…hummm if any one of those or any of a billion other disappointments were to happen to you, would you really be rejoicing in your crosses only wanting God and His will? If not, then we now see we have a problem.
If we can HONESTLY list what we need to be happy, that isn’t God and His will, then we will see our idols, or at least what we are willing to admit. And from there we can begin to change…since no Christian should be seeking any of those things to make ourselves happy….that is what the lost of the world desire. To learn more please read, “How to Become Attached to God and not the World” and “How to Desire God Alone.”
If we are a Christian, why would we follow the world…will the world bring us to Heaven? No. We might find temporary happiness on earth, during the few short years we are here, doing things the way the world finds their peace, but not Eternal Happiness. Let’s follow Christ by learning how to let go of everything that isn’t God and His will, so not only will we have fantastic earthly happiness, we will merit eternal life too. Praise God!
But beware, many of us seem to have a wonderful happy life with God, but sadly, it is only a facade, since we aren’t really full of joy because of God’s love dwelling in us…from us wanting nothing but God and His will. No, it is from our pride, under a facade of God…Oh, the evil one has deceived many into thinking God is their source of joy, but reality is, it is really from pride and the world’s pleasures…and most tragically the deceived don’t even know their happiness isn’t even real.
Yet, it will surely end…in this life, if we are fortunate, so we can see our error before it is too late or in the world to come, which is forever. But please don’t the mistake while looking for happiness to follow the lost; it will end in disaster.
Some of us are blessed with great suffering and aren’t in peace nor have we found satisfaction with those things of the world and live a life well outside of happiness, with worries, complaints, and anxieties. But praise God for our lack of happiness! We don’t have to live in the dark…thinking life is great…like those poor souls, who don’t know any better and will die…perishing into the abyss forever.
Our suffering, outside of peace, can lead us right to the healing arms of Christ. That horrible pain, that we want gone, God wants to use to help us find true happiness. Oh, our wonderful crosses do greatly help those, who can see their pain as part of God’s plan for the good of their souls. They truly conform us into the image of Christ. They can bring us to a true lasting peace, if we go to God correctly and allow Him to change us and fill us with His love. Alleluia!
The Right Way
The way of obtaining true happiness is so vastly different from the world’s way…frankly they are polar opposites. The worlds way to happiness is a way of self-reliance and rejection of the cross. But God’s way is one of reliance on God alone and love of the cross.
To help us find the happiness we long for there are a ton of self-help books out there trying to ease life’s pain, but why are they failing us? Well, they are mistakenly guiding us to the wrong way…yet, for the most part they sound like great advice, but they are far from it. Much of the wrongful help even uses the pretext of God, saying they want to draw us to Him, but with the good advice, is the bad (that we can’t see), which is what is killing us.
Like was said, there is a worldly way–a false way–to obtain happiness, which can provide us temporarily relief, but much of the time it quickly fades and can even lead us into greater misery, since we can become blindly addicted to it. Plus, it can even lead us into other sins and it most certainly it moves us towards our eternal doom, because we sought the world as our source of joy (made it our idol) and not God alone.
There is only one TRUE way to happiness and that is by following:
- The Way of The Cross: living a life of penance (self-denial of what we like in the world), picking up our crosses (not complaining over our suffering, but trusting), living to serve not to be served (seek to be a servant) and surrendering everything in the world which we desire to bring us happiness especially our indulgences, so we can live like Christ, and remove our attachments to sin and pleasure…striving to become a perfect self-sacrificing saint. Then we can desire God alone as our source of joy and truly love Him and not anything in the world.
- The Way of Humility: lose our pride/self-love and embracing our nothingness: knowing our great sinfulness…that we can’t do anything truly good without God doing everything through us…as we surrender our will (everything we want) for God’s will (which is perfect) and trust in God to change us, so we can obtain the life of peace and eternal life He wants to give us.
These two ways–The Way of the Cross and Humility–are really part of The One Way–that of following Christ–which directs us towards finding The True Way of Peace, a saving faith and even sanctity…just like the saints, who found fantastic peace, have followed. This is how we want to learn to walk…this is how we will live the faith correctly. It is the way that we put our LOVE and TRUST in God instead of our love and trust in ourselves or in the world.
Neglect to live these truths of the faith are why we are so unhappy, and why St. Augustine warns us “Very Few Christians Are Saved” which we can read about on the home page article of this web-site.
Yes, the Christian way to happiness is absurdity to the world. We preach pain=happiness. While everyone in the world is trying to look for happiness by running from the pain.
“It pleased God to save those who believe [enough to live The Word] through the absurdity of the preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21).
Yet, true Christians preach the cross: self-denial, sacrificing, and suffering–becoming like Christ: Crucified of our self-loving desires–as The Way to Christ’s peace and Everlasting Life.
Like St. John of the Cross says, if someone guides us with, what seems like much good guidance, but omits guiding us to live a life of penance: choosing to sacrifice the comforts/pleasures of world for the cross, they are not being led by the correct light…or should I say, they are not being guided enough by the correct light…not enough to lead us to a saving faith from being deceived in many ways. Don’t follow them.
“Consider how very necessary it is for you to set your face against yourself [do what you don’t like], and walk in the way of penance…if any one tempts you with lax opinions, and should even confirm them by miracles, trust him not: but rely rather upon penance and perfect detachment from creatures.”
–St. John of the Cross
Oh, we can grow in faith, some what, by following other false truths, and the devil will allow us to grow in faith following a lie, because he knows we can’t ever grow enough towards a life of great happiness or even a saving faith for eternal happiness unless we follow the saints. Please don’t be deceived. Eternity is forever!
We will never be truly “holy” or faithful or happy without running from the pleasure…and running to the cross. Remember, we can’t truly follow Christ, without loving the cross…like the saints, who have given us the correct example. The cross is the way to Eternal Life and to a true life of peace. To learn more please read, “What is Penance.”
The Wrong Way
So as was said, there is a very wrong way to find happiness, which is quite the opposite of God’s way, that sadly, even many of the faithful, have been deceived into following and are unknowingly leading many souls astray.
This is the way we want to learn how to leave, so we can obtain the happiness of the saints and truly follow Christ to Heaven. Eternity is forever!
The WRONG Way to Happiness is by seeking the following to make us happy:
- The Way of the World – things, people (family, friends), food, hobbies, sex, fashion, beauty, sports, money, entertainment, vacations, indulgences/finer things, relaxation, comfort, idol conversations, etc.
- The Way of Pride – success, complements, respect, health, power, control, talent, knowledge, authority, accomplishments, love from others, approval, beauty, wealth, praise, attention, credit, justifying our sinfulness as not so bad or not even admitting our sins (covering our sins/trying to prove we did nothing wrong), etc.
Yikes, if we have really read the above list well, with eyes that want to see our failures, so we can change, we should be able to easily see how we have made many of those things and plenty of other things in the world and of our pride, our source of happiness…meaning we have made them our god; they are an idol…what we look to fill us.
“Let us flee [self-indulgence] as quickly as possible, lest we voluntarily choke ourselves to death.”
–St. Basil the Great
Sure before we found Christ, perhaps we sought the world in an even greater way, but we still have much to change; we are not saints nor in perfect peace. After we have come to know Christ, most have still not freed ourselves from all bondage to the world, and are still attached to many of these deadly ways of living, just in different, or perhaps less obvious, ways–like in our ministries.
Christians–true Christians–are looking to humble ourselves to nothing (run from complements and truly know we can’t do anything good–only God working through us can) so Christ can be everything, and we are picking up our crosses that God allows us to bear (learning and changing through them) and even seeking out the cross (not what we like, but what we don’t like) so we can be conformed into the image of Jesus…wanting to suffer to love God and save souls. This is the way to fantastic joy.
“[Think of ] The greatest joy that can be experienced on earth, and then realize that the happiness of the one who bears his sufferings in the right way contains, and even surpasses, all of them.”
–St. Louis de Montfort
Oh, yes, following Christ to find The Way of Peace and Eternal Life is quite the opposite of the worlds way to happiness…but the joys it delivers far surpasses anything in the world. Truly, ridding the things of the world that bring us happiness–opens up our hearts to accepting God as our source of true happiness. As long as we run to world to fill us, we will remain broken.
Understanding why seeking some of these things written above, as not being The Way, might be hard at first, especially since we can use the things in the world, but only to better know, love and serve God…not to keep us from His love. But hopefully after finishing this article, we will have a greater understanding of what truly following Christ towards His happiness is and what isn’t.
“It is certain that no one lives more happy in the world than he who despises the things of the world, and lives in continual conformity to the will of God.”
Who is Following Christ?
Who is really living their life by the way of the cross and humility? Who doesn’t choose the comfort, the pleasures…in life? Is there anyone choosing the cross (what we don’t like or like less) to love God and save souls?
For example: Who doesn’t plan their next great meal to satisfy their bodily desires with something we like…we don’t just eat focusing on nourishing ourselves so we can serve God well. We are focused on eating what we enjoy, choosing pleasure, not the cross…we aren’t focusing on loving God (saving souls) but focusing on loving ourselves….then we find our happiness in our food…not loving God.
If we do choose what we don’t like, it is to diet..so to care or love of our bodies, finding happiness in our successful diet, not in loving God or neighbor. Oh, we don’t understand the cross. And we aren’t living by it, nor receiving the joy from it. To learn more please read, “How to Love The Cross.”
Sadly, some of us are even addicted to good food and many eat well more than we need. “Deny himself” (Luke 9:23); we don’t practice that. We overly satisfy ourselves, since sadly, “their god is their stomach [what we seek for happiness]” (Philippians 3:19) as we see from our focus on eating yummy food or from our horribly over-weight bodies from gluttony (unless of course we have a metabolic disorder).
But truly, food won’t satisfy the longings of our heart. It won’t bring true happiness. It can satisfy our hunger and provide temporary pleasure. But that is just a momentarily fix. Truly, indulging does nothing to love God or our neighbor, like self-denial does. Self-denial of our will is where the much grace is found…the grace we need to find “great peace.” Let’s follow the saints, who know how to really find God’s love…it is by way of the cross.
“The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Of course, to get to the point in ones faith to where we would have the strength or even want to choose foods we don’t prefer for the cross, takes much grace. Therefore, to intentionally choose the cross so Christ can send grace to others for the salvation of souls–to live a life of penance (of course without telling another, to boast of what we are doing), we must first stop being attached to food…stop making food our idol.
We must stop making food or anything what we run to for comfort, pleasure, relaxation and/or entertainment. We must stop thinking about it and dreaming of our next great meal. Avoid all food or anything of the world we take great pleasure in. That is what we are attracted to (what we desire for happiness that isn’t God)…that rejects God’s true joy and even Eternal Life. Just let it all go.
We can’t love both God and the world. God must be what our heart truly desires and to not be deceived, it must be proven by our actions.
“It is not possible to take great pleasure in anything without becoming attached to it. If you lose property, and find yourself grievously afflicted at the loss, you may be sure that you were warmly attached to it; there is no surer proof of affliction for the thing lost than our sorrow at its loss.”
–St. Francis de Sales
Food or anything must be used for what it is intended, which is to better know, love, and serve God for the salvation of souls…and food is intended for the nourishment of our bodies and on rare occasions for celebration (thanksgiving) and even if necessary to socialize–to come to know God’s children so to better help one another for the salvation of souls.
But no matter what we do, we must make sure all is done for the glory of God and if we gather, we need to be careful with all we speak so as to not fall into vanity or idol chatter…following the example of Christ and the saints.
But like with anything that we do which is pleasurable, we must be very careful we don’t become tricked into indulging or desiring it for the pleasure it brings (become attached to it) so to fall back to square one.
However, after we receive grace from rejecting the foods we are attached to (our favorites) and only seek it to nourish ourselves, we might have enough grace to reject the foods we like for less preferred food or even distasteful foods as a beautiful cross for souls.
“I resolve to deprive myself of all taste or preference, and to give it to God…I follow this rule even now in all things, in regard to meals, drink, sleep, in talking, looking, listening,and going to any part of the country, etc. The grace of God has helped me a great deal in the practice of mortification, of [self-denial], for I know that this habit of denying oneself is indispensable necessary.”
–St. Anthony Claret
This is where great happiness will come from…not because we are forcing ourselves to sacrifice, since, lets say, it is Lent and we want to be “good” Catholics, so we give up something, but because we want to love God…knowing that by not satisfying ourselves, we are literally helping to save someone’s life and love God through the cross. Wow!
Also, please don’t say, “Oh, I eat lousy food every day. I must be saving lots of souls.” Well, actually, unless you have truly offered up your “lousy” food to the Lord with the intention of it being a joyful cross for souls…you didn’t help save anyone (no grace was sent)…it is a heart of love for God and our neighbor’s soul through the cross that God can use to send grace to another…not just because we are “suffering.” Suffering alone does nothing…suffering because we want to love does everything. Please don’t be deceived…Actually, there are many ways the evil one can deceive us…even with sacrificial love and make it actually a self serving action. Beware!
To help promote rejection of pleasure for the cross, LiftingOurValues.com has made “Piacular Beads” to move us toward a truly happy life on earth and for all eternity.
Therefore, now is the time to change and learn how to leave our attachments to the world’s pleasures, whatever they may be, one at a time…little by little if we are going to, learn how to carry crosses for souls, obtain a life of peace and win the race to Life. To learn more please read, “How to Become Attached to God and Not the World.”
How to Remove Stress and Anxiety
Oh, you have so much work to do; you simply can’t do it all. You want it to turn out well so badly, you are trying so hard, but you think you are going to just pass out with anxiety trying to make it happen. Yes, that is stress and anxiety. This isn’t the life of what someone experiences who has God’s calming peace in their heart. So, let’s learn how to abolish all stress and anxiety and embrace Christ’s peace.
Feeling overwhelmed with work is from having a fear of failure. We have many fears that can lead us into stress anxiety. Some have a fear of rejection, bugs, heights, germs etc. Now, any fear we have can be good or bad. It can lead us to Christ or away. It can be rational or irrational. But, we know for sure it is not moving us towards Life when we are moved outside of peace with our fear.
We suffer with stress and anxiety over our fears when we lack trust in God and His will. Having a natural fear of let’s say, bugs, in and of itself isn’t sinful…but what you do with that fear is what determines our sin or lack of sin. Sure we all have a fear of failure to motivate us to succeed, which in and of itself is good. That keeps us working hard trying our best, which is what we want to do. But when taken outside of moderation, to the point to where we are now in stress and anxiety over the fact that we might fail, that is where the sin comes in.
We must not allow our desire to succeed to be what determines our happiness. We must be OK with failure, if that is God’s will. God wants us to do our best trusting in Him to make it all happen.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)…but when I fail…that is OK too. Therefore,
“Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God’s own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus.”
The main reason we are so unhappy or lacking the fullness of happiness is because we are focused on trying to make ourselves happy…we are trying to do what is best for ourselves…not what is best for God, which makes us self-concerned…selfish.
To find this fantastic life of peace God has waiting for us, our main focus shouldn’t be seeking for God to love us…running to God so He can bring us happiness, comfort and love, but seeking for us to love God…to make Him happy. Then, when He wills–as for most it won’t be instant gratification–but when it is best for us, He will reciprocate greater love than we could ever obtain seeking it.
How do we make God happy? By not offending Him. When we lose our self focus, we will want to give ourselves completely to God…and it won’t be a false driving desire still greatly pulled by self-love but one driven from a true spirit of selflessness. We will sincerely seek to never offend Him again–to follow His law perfectly–and work with all of our heart to do what He wills; yes, we will honestly strive to become a saint….being content with no sinful ways of ours again.
“The law of the Lord is undefiled law, converting the soul’ (Ps. 91.7) to be of charity [love]; because charity alone is able to turn the soul away from love of self and of the world to pure love of God.”
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux
By the way, it is our sins that reject God’s grace…the grace that is meant to convert our souls to bring us happiness. Therefore, focusing on the removal of our habitual sins is the first step towards finding this life of perfect peace…because our sins not only reject happiness, they also reject God’s strength to be able to walk by the Way of the Cross.
If we never grow in faith to learn how to put our mind on loving God and remain focused on ourselves, caring for ourselves…then we will never love God above ourselves and we will lose the true happiness on earth and for eternity that God has waiting for us.
Therefore, we must seek to stop our sins against Him. This is the most important step towards happiness that must be taken first. How much pain our sins cause us and God; we must leave them. Oh, we can’t receive God’s grace of fantastic happiness if we are constantly beating Him–rejecting Him–with our unchanged sins…we will constantly seek happiness through the world. To learn more please read, “How to Stop Sinning.”
Then, after we work on amending our sins, we need to put our focus on surrendering what we want (our will) and only seek to do what God wants….not just in our actions…but for our every thought and word too. This is how we love God. If we love God, we will obey Him and do what He wants. God knows what is best…doing what He wills is how He will lead us to the life of peace we seek.
Yes, God is our source of happiness…especially when we don’t focus on God making us happy. But of course it is not selfish to seek Mercy for grace to help us so we can better know, love and serve Him (help to stop sinning)…or to help to bring us peace, if we are without it or when something bad happens or threatens to happen…God wants to help us. But with this help God provides, we seek to use it to help us to sin no more. Yes, our main focus must be on LOVING GOD…that is where the main grace from God comes…losing our self-loving hearts and gaining natural hearts of love for God is what we must desire.
“When the good God calls us in this world, he finds us full of vices and sins…this is the extraordinary road alone which God conducts the soul, and his first work is to give us the instinct to practice virtue [stop sin/attachments], [but then, when it frees his will for God’s], God is its director and guide without the help of any creature. In this state [of trust in God’s will], the soul is in such peace and tranquility [since it found The Way of Peace]…This is constantly progressing, and everyday the soul understands more clearly that the end for which man was created was truly for love and to delight himself in this pure and holy love.”
–St. Catherine of Genoa
Thriving Off Our Pride
There are many successful people in and of the world, who have accomplished great things, who have figured out how to be productive, who have the appearance of happiness, because they are thriving off their pride…not God’s love.
They could tell us of all the things they did to obtain success…and we could follow them and have success too…but we would be following the world’s way of finding happiness, which will surely end.
Seeking to do great things or even little things isn’t the way to happiness…seeking to love God (success or failure) as we strive to do His will (not what we think we need to do for things to go well) accepting God’s will (trusting in Him) and loving of the cross is The Way.
It is our pride that tells us we must be successful. But we don’t have to be anything. Don’t let anyone convince you that you must be anything but what God wants you to be.
Sure, God wants us to put forth our best effort and to learn from there. But doing our best to fulfill God’s will is all He wants. And if we fail by sin or a mistake all God wants of us is to repent (if we sinned), learn (to the best of our ability) and grow…that is it.
Yes, God simply wants us to love Him by humbling ourselves and focusing only on doing God’s will (whether it is “successful” or not). That is what God considers successful, and we should too. We must learn how to WANT FOR NOTHING…just God’s will alone.
If God wants us to be successful, before the eyes of others, that is fine. If God wants us invisible and seen as nothing before others, that is fine too. However, the latter is far better for not growing in deadly pride.
We should avoided, as much as possible, having others see us as successful, since it is very hard to find God’s happiness if we are receiving complements and attention from others. This is because our self-love (pride) very well might cause us to seek that praise and attention for happiness and not to live for God and His will alone. This is very common even among our very little accomplishments and is what leads bounds of souls to our doom. Beware!
We must gain trust in God and seek only what He wills and be fully content with that. He knows what is best. Then when we humble ourselves to surrender what we want to be, for what God allows and wants us to be, then God can fill us with much grace, for trusting in Him and His will for us. This is how God’s light will shine upon us so we can find The Way of Peace.
“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79).
Don’t Seek Success
Like was said, one of the major reasons people feel miserable about ourselves is because we feel like a failure because we don’t have the success we think we should have. But seeking success is the opposite way of finding Christ’s way to true happiness. That is The Way of Pride. Even if we are doing the following ways we seek success listed below to “serve God”, they are wrong and won’t lead to true happiness.
We seek success in various ways. By wanting:
- accomplishments at work
- to be more attractive
- increased knowledge
- greater wealth
- more talent
- better kids
- nicer spouse
- to have better/more possessions
- greater health
- increased athletic skills
- more accomplishments in our ministries…
I could go on forever. Actually later in this article, I list a billion of our complaints…our wants for success, so we can more easily see our failures, for a greater hope for change. It is something different for everyone…but it all leads to unhappiness.
Not that acquiring any of these things is technically “bad”. The problem is we WANT THEM. Then we focus on obtaining them. Then we don’t focus on doing God’s will, which is what our entire lifes focus should be. But mistakenly, we put our focus on obtaining what we desire, thinking it is good. But ONLY God’s will is good.
Oh, we want and we want and we want. We have great ingratitude for what God has given us or what God has allowed us to have, and we think it should be more or better. Sure, sometimes what God wants and what we want are the same. And of course, since we should be seeking God to guide us in everything, we should pray for what we feel is best.
But we make the big mistake in seeking our will, thinking we know what is best. We don’t ask God for help/guidance trusting in His will by saying, “If it is Your will, please….(then asking Him for what we feel is good).”
No. From our pride, we pray to God with a surety in our heart that what we are asking for is good and needed. We ask God fulfill our will, being sure we know what is best and not God, who truly knows what is perfect for us. Then when we don’t obtain what we want, we are unhappy. We are far from peacefully accepting what God allows as being what He wants and truly best.
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving [for all God allows], make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Then from lacking in peace with what God has allowed, many of us, will strive and strive working ever harder to obtain OUR GOALS, instead of LEARNING and GROWING from what God allowed, trusting in Him to teach us His blessed ways in everything...since there are many sins and things God wills for us to change in all He allows so we can grow towards obtaining a truly wonderful life. But most never see them. We are focused on our will.
Sometimes God even leads us towards the goals we desire but through trusting in Him–not by demanding our way. And for us, who can’t seem to obtain our goals we want through our greatest efforts or from becoming too depressed to even try, we just wallow in self-pity.
“I’m so stupid…so ugly…so fat…so useless…I have no talent…I’m sickly…I can’t do anything right” are just some of what those with low self-esteem say, which all comes from our pride.
Let’s say, we are lacking knowledge. Perhaps it is because we slacked in school and that is a consequence of our sin. Let’s learn from that. Well then, now is the time to repent and change and try, to the best of our ability, so to learn at our rate and ability which God gave us, for His honor and glory. God always wants us to repent, change from our sinful ways and make right our wrongs, by doing the best we can, within moderation, so we can better know, love and serve Him. We should do this with all of our short comings that are a result of our sinfulness…repent and change.
But perhaps, our cry stating our “stupidness” is us just not liking how God created us. Yes, God didn’t make everyone with all the same intellect and for a good reason. The way He made us is exactly how God wants us to be and it fits perfectly into God’s plan for the salvation of our soul. He doesn’t make mistakes.
Even if our lack of knowledge or lack of anything is from someones else’s sin, God allowed that for the good of our souls too. He allows everything, so we can learn, grow and change into great faith for a life of peace and our salvation.
We are not better if we can learn more easily or have greater knowledge or a better memory, etc. God made everyone wonderful exactly the way we are. Don’t we trust Him? God will put our stupidity to great use, if we allow Him…and stop being embarrassed for our mistakes or for being inferior at something. These weakness are good!
“I [St. Paul] am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [I rely on Christ, embrace my cross], then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Even if someone puts us down because of we have something less than another or from no neglect of our own, we goofed up when doing something…we know who we are, we are “wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Pray for the poor soul and delight in God’s imperfections for us…they are helping to save our souls (making us humble, and reliant and trusting in God), if we allow them.
“Who knows? Perhaps if God had given us greater talent, better health, a more personable appearance, we might have lost our souls! Great talent and knowledge have caused many to be puffed up…in their pride…How easily those who have these gifts fall into grave danger to their salvation…’But one thing is necessary’, and it is not beauty, not health, not talent. It is the salvation of our immortal souls.”
We must kill our pride. It is our deadly pride that leads us into despair over who we are, wearing masks, thinking we have to be or do something like others and never being happy with ourselves (mistakes and all) or only when we do what we consider to be well…Oh, but of course we should never be happy with our sinfulness…that isn’t OK. How can offending God every be just fine? But how God made us is perfect. To learn more please read,”How Does Our Pride Kill Us.”
But perhaps our issue is wanting to be more attractive. For the most part, that is always sinful derived from vanity oh vanity. Sure we should desire to be clean and look presentable…and should want to maintain our appearance accordingly. We want to look humble, simple and poor…not disheveled.
But we don’t want to alter our appearance so others will see us as attractive. I’m not saying, if we are struggling with acne or some other condition, we can’t within moderation try to solve that problem. But please make sure we only do everything within moderation and happily accept what God allows….however an even a greater good, if God has given us a great joy in suffering, would be to ask God for even more conditions to befall us…to fill us up with His Joy in our hearts.
Also, please be careful we don’t try to make ourselves look more attractive for the sake of building up our pride…or perhaps trying to be in someway like another (which comes from jealously)…or because we hate an imperfection we have or that we are aging. Remember, as St. Alphonsus say, wanting to be more attractive leads to our death. We don’t want that. Remember, we are made just how God wants us, and aging is God’s way of removing our deadly pride of vanity…don’t ruin God’s gift, embrace it.
Ok, so you looked at that list above and said…”Ah, I don’t want to be better at anything or have success in anything. I’m happy with things just the way they are.” Oh, really. Do you become worried or upset, frustrated or impatient when things go wrong? How about when someone treats you poorly? Are you really happy with things just the way they are?
Yes, there is a much greater desire for success than most think about. That is the desire to get what we think is best, to get what we want, to have people treat us the way we desire…Yes, our quest for OUR WILL. The constant success we seek.
Really, if we can’t see how we want success–wanting things our way–then, we really need to take a better look at ourselves. I doubt we have the perfect personality and have surrendered our will perfectly for God’s and love our crosses. And all of those failings are from us wanting our will. If we want to see where we are failing to find happiness, we need to look for where we are going wrong so we can change.
Want To Suffer and Be Tempted
If we really want this life of indescribable happiness, we must follow Christ correctly. This means we must carry our crosses as we accept our temptations and sufferings, like Christ did for us.
“He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:13)
God is giving us the medicine we need to grow into a wonderful life of peace, to crush our pride and to help us grow into true faith that saves, but we don’t want it. He is allowing us to bear crosses of all sorts–fantastic medicine to cure our ailments (everything that is keeping us from truly living the faith). God is allowing: humiliations, sickness, loss, uncertainty, disrespect, inconveniences, problems, etc.
But we don’t want to suffer or be tempted; we think our temptations and sufferings are the cause of our unhappiness. But that is only true if we don’t want to be tempted or suffer, according to God’s will.
If we have little to no desire to suffer or be tempted, so to learn God’s ways and receive grace, then carrying the cross is going to be a big problem for us…and it will be our main sources of anguish.
But the cross is supposed to be our greatest source of grace…therefore we must learn how to embrace God’s will of temptation, suffering and all.
Instead of running from our embarrassments and hiding from the people we have offended, who are upset with us, or who have seen us sinning. Humble ourselves. Not everyone has to like us or see us “perfect”. Allow others and even ourselves to be seen as a sinner. Oh, how many of us cover our sins, since we can’t stand to acknowledge ourselves as a sinner. But we are.
Oh, but we can’t humbly admit some sins or be seen committing certain offences, we think…not because we don’t want to scandalize the faith, but since, from our pride, we can’t bear having others see our sins . This is torture for our pride. This is why we are so unhappy with who we are, and why our confessions are so poor, we can’t admit or accept our sinfulness; we can’t stand to be seen as a sinner…the true sinner for who we are.
As a result, we have spent our life building up our pride, justifying/covering many of our sins. Now, we can’t see most of the sins we love. To learn more please read, “How Can I see My Sins.”
We hate criticizem. We live greatly distressed if someone even points out a mistake…never mind a sin. We become angered, feel embrassed (to be seen so weak) or try to justify our sin as not sinful, when someone sees us failing. Oh, we are enveloped in pride.
But we are great sinners. ACCEPT REALITY. And now live in peace with who we are. God already knows we are sinners. Who are we trying to impress?
Therefore, instead of trying to be who we aren’t allow others to see our weakness. Of course apologize, for our sin if we have sinned against another, and always apologize to God, since our sins always offend Him, as we work hard to sin no more. But embrace our weakness along the way. We are all sinners, just in different ways; all in need of a Savior–who loves us greatly and wants us saved despite our great sinfulness.
But of course with some crosses, it is fine to pray for a cross: suffering or temptation, to leave. But if God wills it to stay, we must “boast all the more gladly of my [our] weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me [us]” (2 Corinthians 12:9). That is the greatest good for our soul. Believe!
“Therefore, to keep me from being too elated [to keep me from growing proud], a thorn [temptation] was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [to avoid sin], for [my] power [in you] is made perfect in weakness”…Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong [from humbly accepting God’s grace to help me bear the cross].” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Yet, most run from our crosses (temptations and sufferings). Oh, but we are running from the way to the greatest graces meant for our souls…graces that can deliver such joy filled happiness…even ecstasy’s with God could be ours…if we would only trust in God and carry our crosses.
Truly, this joy–from carrying our crosses–won’t come from trying to maintain our pride or from a pleasure in the world…just God…nothing can compare with this happiness that carrying our cross delivers. But we are missing it all.
For example: Let’s say we just got done eating, but we are still craving food…sweets. We have a sweet tooth. Instead of carrying that cross of being tempted to indulge in sweets, since it is so discomforting, we look to end that cross (temptation), and we run to our pantry looking for something to satisfy our bodily cravings (lusts of the flesh). Now, we are happy; we removed our craving/temptation with some yummy snack and feel gratified. To learn more please read, “Why Does God Allow Temptation?”
But we chose to satisfy our flesh with the world, rather than love God by carrying that cross…and have rejected God’s love–the grace which could have helped us grow into true happiness–all to momentarily love ourselves.
What we should have done was either to pray for the strength to bear that temptation and/or ask God to remove it. Accepting His will as being what is best for our soul.
This refusal of accepting temptations doesn’t only lead us into indulging in worldly pleasures like with food, but it also leads us into much greater sins too.
“The one who is self-indulgent is dead” (1 Timothy 5:6).
Like with the sexual temptations we all have. If we hate temptation and don’t seek grace for help to exercise self-discipline, we will seek to satisfy our sexual desires, for self-gratification–not for procreation or to express our love to our spouse (even though we might try to convince ourselves that is why we seek sex) since the temptation seems unbearable for us.
But, God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist the temptation. If we humbly seek His mercy for strength wanting to suffer the temptation if He wills. Then from God’s mercy (strength) we will resist the temptation and obtain much grace for carrying the cross.
“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Please know, God doesn’t want us to sin from any temptation but to grow in wonderful grace from the cross.
But if we have grown our appetite through the constant satisfying of our temptations…resisting temptation has become even harder. And much strength will be needed to resist such habitually satisfying temptations. Yet, frequent confession and receiving the Eucharist–for souls who are sincerely working to amend their sins, if the habitual sin isn’t mortal–will be of great help. With God, if we persist in seeking Him, His power can concur all temptations…and we can grow in great grace.
But sadly, most think the cross is bad. There are self-help books out there that have a different thing we can do, even quoting Bible verses, not to learn how to “deny himself and take up his cross and follow me [Christ]” so God’s true happiness can be ours. But to learn how to beg God for help to avoid all crosses, as if they are poison. What a shame!
Sure God wants us to seek His help, when somethings goes wrong or when we think something might go wrong. God is to be our help in times of trouble…but we must seek His help wanting whatever He allows knowing God, who loves us, is going to use all that is allowed–the good and the bad–to bring us into great faith (happiness/love of God). Therefore, trust in God and carry our crosses out of love for Him.
Oh, Our Self-loving Bodies
When we stop focusing on what our self-loving bodies desire…and seek to sacrifice what we want, by way of the cross, to do God’s will at all moments, then God can do great things through us. It won’t be us being tricked into doing great things to boost our pride seeking success, yet thinking it is for God. It will truly be God working through us so we can love Him in all we do.
We will stop doing things wanting success; we will do them wanting to love God: success or failure. God’s will–what He allows–is all we seek. Sure it will take some time to see all of our distractions that are pulling our mind towards sin and not God and learn how to let go of our will, since there is a constant pull to do what we want within us (we have a desire to sin), but with seeking God for more and more grace, we can change. To lean more please read, “What is the Desire to Sin.”
However, once we think we are doing something for God’s will, we must be very careful, for at any moment, when we aren’t looking, the evil one will sneak in and give us a heart that wants success, approval or praise all over again…then we won’t be content with God’s will (content with loving God). We will find ourselves complaining, wallowing in self-pity if we don’t get what our hearts desire…as we clearly prove our heart isn’t content with God and His will alone. We are seeking to love ourselves all over again.
Therefore, always examine our conscience to see why we have any anger, sadness or joy…is it sorrow because we are sorry for our or others sins (which is good) or from not obtaining what we want…is joy because of God’s unfathomable mercy and love for us or great joy because we obtained what we desired (which is bad). We should seek to be indifferent with success or failure…and praise God for all He allows.
Oh, how many praise God for the good He sends but cry in despair over the bad? Aren’t they both God’s will? When we are equally content with both, we know we truly trust in God’s will….and have found The Way of Peace.
But please know, we can walk by the Way of Peace for a day, a week, a month, a year or even years, but if we aren’t vigilant, we will fall, it might not just be one fall and we get right back on the Way of Peace. No, we could unknowingly habitually fall be right back to square one. So always stay alert…the evil one is prowling around looking for someone to devour.
Also beware, even if we “say” our works are for God, like most of the faithful do, most are still caught into doing our works because we like doing them…not really to love God. The pleasure that comes from doing our works is what is driving us. We really need to take an honest look into why we do what we do…so we can change our mind set and remove what isn’t God will, which is self-glorifying. It takes much effort to put our hearts and minds on doing all to love God according to His will…the love of pleasure easily drives us. But that rejects the perfect peace God has waiting for us.
Of course there is nothing wrong with liking what we do, but we can’t run to do anything because we like it. It must be God’s will for us at that moment or we will wind up neglecting to do what we should have done from our thirst for pleasure.
Yes, we are to strive to do everything because it is God’s will for us and when we live for God and His will or even truly strive to love God in this way, He rewards with unfathomable grace…grace we can only imagine. To learn more please read, “What is God’s Will?”
When We Seek God’s Will, We Are Successful
When we live for God and His will, so to love Him and not ourselves, like I said, instead of putting off doing the things we don’t like to do, we will pick up our cross and do what we should do not what we want to do.
If our intentions are sincere, we won’t do the hard things just to be “successful” like those successful people not really following Christ do, who are caught building up their pride. But we will do the hard things, when they need to be done, because we want to love God through the cross.
Many of our time wasting things we used to do to placate our slothful bodies will leave and success will naturally come…all by seeking to do God’s will by way of the cross.
God doesn’t will us to squander a moment of our life on fruitless things…social media, day dreaming, watching TV, idol conversation, etc. A most magnificent plan has been created for every moment, we don’t want to throw it away…on things that don’t love God or bring true happiness.
To find the wonderful life of happiness God has waiting for us, we must truly follow Christ and give our everything to love God…not ourselves. That means we won’t neglect what is the greatest good to do what we will. We will let go of our desire to do what God desires.
Therefore, we won’t overlook doing the dishes, because we don’t like that chore, to read a book instead, which we do like…Yet, knowing what God seeks of us to do according to His priorities can be tricky to understand. It is found by looking into ourselves to see our aversions and praying and asking God what He wants us to do right now…seek God to learn what is the greatest good and putting aside our aversions, picking up our cross and doing it. Then our life of procrastination will end. And success according to God’s will will occur.
But what we should be aware of is what the world thinks is fruitful and good to do and what God considers fruitful and the correct thing to do, much of the time, are not the same.
Therefore, the hardest part of finding this Way God has planned for us to obtain all of His/our goals for our faith, is to figure out what God wants us to do at all moments–in literally every thought we think, word we utter and action we make…because God has a wonderful plan for everything, most of us just never do it. But this is The Way to obtain the life and eternity of peace we and Christ desires for us. We just need to learn what it is. To learn more please read, “What is God’s Will.”
The Way of Humility is The Only True Way
There are many people, who are successful in the eyes of the world, who aren’t truly following Christ. They are successful because they have figured out how to motivate themselves and how to stop wasting time and distracting themselves, so they can obtain their goals. But instead of being motivated to love God and carry their crosses seeking His will alone, they are being moved by their pride (wanting success).
They motivate themselves, to keep on going, when the going gets tough by words of praise for themselves, so to build up their pride, so they won’t think of themselves as failures when things go wrong and quit. Then they become determined to do what is necessary, like any worldly athilete would do.
This is how sadly many Christians try to excite others to have self-value too…by telling othersthey can do anything if they just put their mind to it. Well, that is The Way of Pride and leads souls to death not Life. Please don’t be deceived.
That isn’t what the Christian should be doing. The humble Christian hangs their head down low and knows they are nothing and can’t do anything without Christ moving them. They don’t find their happiness in self-love. They don’t build themselves up, so they can do anything. Instead of seeking their own strength to be fruitful, they humbly seek Christ’s and His grace, so God can do everything through them, as they focus on God and doing His will alone…as God fills them with His love.
Then being moved by God’s grace, they are successful (according to God’s will)…perhaps they are not “successful” according to how the world views someone being successful, but who cares about that. All the truly faithful care about is if we are loving God and pleasing Him. God is our source of joy.
God has a most magnificent plan for each person. Yes, God created each person with a wonderful plan for how they are to love and serve Him so they can obtain wonderful happiness on earth and for all eternity…and to bring others to this wonderful life too. We just need to seek God to find out what His plan is for us.
But if we are Christians, we don’t want to do anything self-glory (to make ourselves feel value or special) we want to do everything according to God’s will to love Him.
when we seek God’s will, we won’t want to offend God an will seek to not wast time so to not offend God who seeks to use all moments for His glory. So But to find God’s happiness, we learn how to let go of our pride and learn how to surrender our will for God’s, we will stop doing self serving things that keep us from being successful, and all the things other, who found the way to success, but do it to fill their pride, God will have us doing to love and serve Him. And if by doing our best to live for God’s will, we still fail–if that is God’s will–that won’t matter at all to us, since we aren’t living for success but for God and His will. We have left our pride.
This is why most of the self-help books fail; they are really teaching us how to inflate our pride…not how to humble ourselves and love the cross…sadly, they even using God’s Word and some truths, which greatly deceives us. This is why we are so lost.
Following Christ is done by leaving our desire to be “successful” (surrendering our pride)…leaving the pleasures of the world that we crave (our attachments to sin and the world) so our hearts can be HUMBLE and desire God and His will alone…as we seek the things of Heaven, so to LOVE GOD.
Frankly, we want to be nothing (lose all pride)–lose all desires to be anything: popular, liked, loved, successful, healthy, smart, respected, approved, etc….is what we want our goal to be.
This effort of seeking God’s mercy to transform us into Christ…towards a saving faith (where peace is found) and into a perfect self-sacrificing saint is supposed to be a constant Christian battle we should to be fighting to achieve. But for most, it is forgotten or lives very confused within us, since we love filling our pride and satisfying our desires for the world’s pleasures, which makes us looking for peace and happiness in all of the wrong places and never truly finding it.
When we seek out these for happiness we put ourselves and the world as our source of happiness. We make them our idols, but God alone is to be our source of joy.
The more we rely on inflating our pride and running to he world for happiness, the more we will crave them–like a drug–to fill us, as we become deeper and deeper addicted to them. And if we can’t keep up with our addiction (can’t continue to satisfy our desires), when they leave, we will suffer a great longing for them. To learn more please read, “Become Attached to God and Not the World.”
“No misery is more genuine than is false joy [found through the world].”
–St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Sadly, this false joy is what most of us seek out to try to make us happy. But of course, when it fails–in 10 mins or in 2 days etc. depending on how long our source of happiness sustained us, we are left craving our next hi. And the cycle continues.
Then we run out trying to find something to fill us. Oh, we plan our next vacation…go to our favorite restaurant…pick up the phone and chat with our favorite friend…go shopping to get another thing…watch the next sporting show…check out our growing bank account…work hard to obtain another accomplishment..seek love, attention, equality from another….oh, whatever it is that fills us; we will seek it and when it wares out the cycle continues.
But if we can’t obtain our drug…we suffer in great sadness over our loss. Yet when we live united with God’s grace, the only mourning we will be doing is mourning over our and other’s offences against God. We will desire nothing but Him…and He is always with us…therefore we are always content.
Therefore, let’s learn what we need to change so we can follow Christ and lose all we desire that isn’t God, find The Way of Peace and Eternal Life.
“Happy lot of the soul…[when] one is able…to empty his heart of all desires [of the world/pride], so as to draw near unto God.”
–St. John of the Cross
But I don’t suggest we look at the faithful for guidance since we live in the time of great darkness, sadly most are caught in this evil trap and wear a facade of happiness, since even the faithful have never learned how to humble ourselves, rid our attachments and seek/love the cross. Most faithful still spend our time seeking happiness just like the rest of the unfaithful world. When we should be spending our time seeking to make God Happy.
Don’t Strip Someone of God’s Lesson Through the Cross
We want others to be happy, which is great. But how many of us go about it all the wrong ways. And are only filling other with temporary happiness, never showing them how to obtain true happiness.
What do we say, “Visit the lonely.” Why? Because we don’t want them to be unhappy. But we mistakenly do this so the lonely can find their happiness in us…so we can become their idol (what they need for happiness). Yikes!
That isn’t why we should visit the lonely. We should visit the lonely to teach them how to find Christ the source of our true happiness.
The saints, who truly knew Christ, LOVED solitude, since they could be undisturbed with their Love. When we have Christ, the cross of loneliness, is joyfully carried…or it isn’t even a cross at all.
We aren’t supposed to visit others to remove their crosses, unless that is God’s will, but to help them carry them and/or teach them how to carry them so they can obtain the blessings God has waiting for them through the cross…so they can find the wonderful life with Christ God has waiting for them. Then the cross won’t be a burden any more and they can come to truly love Christ for the salvation of their soul.
However, horribly, from being so wrongly influenced, we don’t want the cross…not big or little crosses. We won’t even relent our will–to surrender what we want–to do what another wants, especially if we think it is bad. We don’t want to be a suffering servant to others, like Christ was.
Christ tells us to nothing that is self-serving…and to do all for the love of God through loving our neighbor.
“Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests” (Philippians 2:3-4).
We will fight tooth and nail to do what we think is best…which isn’t following Christ. If we have to do what we don’t want, we do it full of complaints and frustration (rejecting peace) or we will expect to receive something in return for our sacrifice. We are far from peacefully carrying our cross like Christ seeking nothing in return.
We don’t want to carry a cross from someone else’s sin or have to go without what we desire. This is one of our main sources of our lack of happiness. We don’t want the cross. We want things our way, which is the path to unhappiness, since the cross is the way to Christ’s peace.
What we want:
- others to love, respect, care for us
- financial security
- well behaved children
- to be healthy
- to have nice things
- to have no problems
- praise from others
- to be treated equal
I could go on forever…we want billions of things, and when we don’t get what we want; we live outside of peace since we don’t want the cross.
When we reject our crosses, we sin. And when we sin, we are offending God…which is the opposite of loving Him. If our hearts and minds were focused on LOVING GOD–not offending Him–we would happily suffer and do whatever He allows–for the love of Him–and suffer and sacrifice joyfully, like He did for us, as we do for our neighbor, but we don’t. We are self-absorbed. We don’t want to suffer (carry our crosses), and as a result, we live outside of peace.
Want to Be Nothing
The way to happiness is in wanting to be nothing. Oh, what a problem this is for us. We want to be everything…we want complements; we want praise; we want success. We don’t tolerate our failures and for most pridefully cover them or dwell on them. Our pride wants us to be who we aren’t. WE don’t want to be a better person so to not offend God; we want to seek to improve so we can feel better about ourselves…we love ourselves and have little love or concern for God. This is why our focus must be on LOVING GOD…and becoming nothing…and even succeed at nothing, if that is God’s will.
Oh, how hard this is, because if someone doesn’t approve of us, or listen to us, or treats us like we are nothing, we are grossly offended…and thrown way outside of peace. We don’t want to be like Christ.
Please know, it doesn’t matter how others treat us; it matters how we treat them…that is if we don’t want to offend God. God will bless and judge us on what we do…not on what another does.
To find happiness, we need to love…not seek to be loved, and carry our crosses with Christ sending grace for the salvation of souls…especially to those who don’t love us.
“But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28)
Don’t we know we are nothing but great sinners? Yes, we are nothing….without God’s grace moving us, we can’t do anything truly good. Let’s stop trying to pretend to be who we aren’t. That leads to great depression and low-self esteem. If we can’t humble our pride and embrace our sinfulness…accepting our horrible failing spirit, we will remain greatly outside of peace…trying to impress others, wearing a mask…being dishonest to ourselves and others.
But our pride seeks out people to justify our sinfulness…to complement us…to tell us our sin are not so bad…that God doesn’t want us perfect. When our sin are just terrible…even the slightest, and God most certain wants us to “stop sinning” (1 Corinthians 15:34)...not to pretend like our sins are fine. Oh, we are seeking happiness through a lie. And we will never truly find it…or eternal life doing that…we will reject forgiving mercy for not truly hating sin.
God tells us to “sin no more”(John 8:11)…not to be complacent with sinning, but to strive “to make holiness perfect in fear of the Lord [fear of sinning]” (2 Corinthians 7:1).
God might love us, even though we are sinners, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t hate our sinfulness…and we must too. He wants us to love Him…to never offend Him. This must be our goal. Or we are never going to find true peace pretending like our sinfulness isn’t a problem…it is a big problem. We must desire to perfectly love God…or we will constantly reject His peace He desire to give us.
Sure our short comings, imperfections and lack of talents aren’t a problem…we are made exactly how God wants us. How we are made is what is best for us to obtain a life of peace and a saving faith–if we trust in God (and even some of these qualities God will change if He wills). But our sins are absolutely horrible…no matter how naturally drawn we are to them; we must have a horror for offending God and work with all of our heart to stop committing them. That is how we love God.
Trust in God
The saints know The Way, as their lives have proven. They walked by way of the cross and humility and found The Way of Peace. Even in great suffering, they were in unmistakable peace from letting go of wanting their will and truly trusting in God’s will: knowing that in all God allows–the good and the bad (even our sins)–our loving God intends to use everything for the good of our souls, if we allow Him…if we can learn, change and grow from everything God allows since He is teaching and helping us at all moments.
“You maintain peace; in peace, because of our trust in you [God]” (Isaiah 26:3).
Those who trust in God don’t run to someone or something in the world to console them when something goes wrong, they fully believed God will make everything good. They know the cross was the way to Christ.
Therefore, the way to true happiness is in learning how to:
“Love [trust in] the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30)…not ourselves.
When decide we really want to love God, we will we stop wanting to love the world, our pride and even ourselves, but seek God alone, wanting to love Him…trusting in God (in all He allows) to make it all happen. Then we will obtain “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), which will remove everything of bitterness in our lives: any great despair or anxiety, all the way to even our daily life frustrations. We will have found the path of peace. Praise God.
Therefore, if we are looking for unfathomable happiness or even just a better life than what we have, our goal needs to be that of leaving the world’s way of finding that peace–by removing the things we are doing wrong and replacing them with God’s way of achieving perfect continuous joy.
“Since happiness must be attained through certain acts, we must therefore consider human acts so as to know by which acts we shall attain happiness [God] and by which we shall be prevented from attaining happiness.”
–St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church
How is Happiness Found
Happiness is found by coming to:
- hate our sinful-self (Romans 12:9)
- love our created-self (Genesis 1:31)
- hate our sinful will (Isaiah 55:8-9)
- love and trust in God’s will (Proverbs 3:5)
- hate the world (1 John 2:15-17)
- love the Creator (Luke 10:27)
We need to truly hate what is bad (the world/pride) and love what is good (God and His will).
“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good”(Romans 12:9).
The whole reason we lack happiness is because we aren’t doing those things correctly–we aren’t living our faith properly–like the saints have done, since “the effect of righteousness will be peace” (Isaiah 32:17).
Therefore, we know if we live a life outside of great peace during suffering–like when people mistreating us, or during sickness, or loss, etc., then we are not with a saving faith…since we still don’t really trust in God—not during the cross–not in all He allows as being for our ultimately for our good. Because, how can we trust in God to save us, if we don’t truly trust in Him? We can’t.
When we are growing closer to God, from living our faith correctly, our anxieties and complaints are progressively leaving and peace is steady increasing. This by no means we won’t have a fear of sinning or great sadness over our offences committed against Our Lord. That isn’t the peace God offers. We must have a great hatred for sin/sadness over offending God. To learn more please read, “Good Scruples or Bad Scruples?” God offers us wonderful peace during life’s crosses, which will lead us to a saving faith, sanctity and an eternity of joy.
There are some, who have found a relatively happy life with the successes and pleasures of the world or perhaps, we have grown somewhat in faith to experience some of God’s peace. But we still aren’t experiencing the true happiness that God has to offer, since when tragedy occurs, we don’t “rejoice in our sufferings” and “peacefully carry our cross” like those with true faith do. But please don’t be deceived, peace during the good doesn’t prove a saving faith…we prove our faith during our tests.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
From God’s love for us, so we don’t stay blind to our lack of faith, God tests us. That way we can see if we are in fact living the faith properly so we can have a chance to repent and change, so we can obtain a saving faith. He does this by means of allowing us to bear trials/crosses (life’s problems). Each cross is a fantastic gift…even little ones like: when we are running late, all the way to great illnesses like cancer. God allows us to SEE if in fact we are living the faith in ALL circumstances so we can run to Him for mercy (help) and grow as we unite our suffering with Him on the cross for the salvation of souls…plus there are many other blessings in the cross; to learn more please read Lifting Our Values book, “Why God Allows Suffering.” But tragically most never see any of our crosses as a sign of God’s love, but rather quite the opposite.
When we are in the faith correctly, the cross (challenges/suffering) always brings us closer to God and in greater peace. And the bigger the hardship (crosses), the greater peace we will experience. But when we aren’t truly living the faith properly our trials and crosses become a source of complaints and anxieties.
The cross–no matter if it is slight or great–offers us two paths to travel:
- right to God’s Sacred Side,
- right into the hand of the deceiver.
And the more perfectly we carry it, the greater closeness with God we will have. To learn more please read, “How to Be Happy Suffering.”
The saints, who suffered bitter anguish, did so with in great happiness–a peace that surpassed all understanding. Why? Because they accepted God’s grace, grew in faith and accomplished the above means to happiness correctly. We can learn how to live the faith that brings great peace in all circumstances too.
“[Live in] the joy coming from the [true] communion with God –the only certain source of happiness.”
–Pope St. John Paul II
Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if we could be in great peace even if everything wrong would happen in our life, if people didn’t treat us well, and if we were in much pain. Wouldn’t it be great if our happiness didn’t depend upon if we felt good, had things go our way or if others treated us well?
Well, that kind of happiness is waiting for us. Truly, we can have happiness and give thanks to God in all circumstances knowing God desires to use all moments of our life for the good of our soul…if we trust, learn, change and grow.
Yes, from God’s grace, we can learn how to let go of all we desire that isn’t God and His will and become truly content with all God allows to happen from little inconveniences, to even devastating tragedies, to anything in between…truly all of the time, with God’s grace, we will be in wonderful trusting peace….even if something so horrible such if losing a child may be allowed.
Of course there will be a sadness in our heart for not having our child whom we desire to be with, but at the same time, we will relent our will and then there will be a “peace of God that surpasses all understanding”(Philippians 4:7) which God provides if we will accept that grace. It is an unmistakable peaceful trust in God’s will that leads us to Heaven that causes someone to be HAPPY TO SUFFER that loss, united with God, to send grace like Christ did for us, for the salvation of souls.
That desire to trust and love like Christ makes any bad into good. Oh, it is the way of the cross that transforms everything from little inconveniences all the way to horrible devastation into a wonderful means to follow Christ for the salvation of souls.
But when we are attached to sin and the world, even little things bother us. We don’t rejoice in the cross, but complain and seek our will, kindness, health and all sorts of things. Then when we don’t get what we think we deserve, need or want, we are all out of sorts.
However, the more correctly we can truly do these six things listed above–the more we can truly follow Christ–the greater happiness we will experience because we will be growing in greater trust and love with God, through his grace, who is the source of all happiness. We will be growing in true faith.
So if we are struggling in life over various hardships, sufferings and anxieties and just can’t find happiness, please know if we can grow in our faith, God has great peace waiting for us. We just need to learn where we are going wrong, so to repent and change and receive His unsurpassable peaceful grace.
“On this happy day [when the soul finally lives their faith] the soul not only ceases from its anxieties and loving complaints, but is more over adorned with all grace, entering into a state of peace and delight, and of the sweetness of love.”
— St. John of the Cross
However, to do these six things I listed above well, so to obtain this life of the sweetness of God’s love, can be quite challenging…not because they are hard to do, but because most simply don’t really want to do them.
Why Are We Unhappy
People in general are unhappy for four different reasons:
- Don’t like myself
- Don’t like my situation
If we honestly listen to our complaints we will see why we make ourselves unhappy.
Don’t Like Myself: For example some will complain: I can’t believe I made that mistake. I’m so stupid. I’m ugly. I don’t like my hair. I wish I were tall. I can’t do anything right. I procrastinate in doing what I should...OK, all of those reasons and alike are how we don’t like ourselves and wish we were different.
Sure some things about ourselves we don’t want to like, like our sins but our non-sinful attributes or limitations that we seem to have which appear less than what others have, that Our Lord, who loves us has designed for us, we should delight in as God’s will. But we don’t want God’s will; we want our own because, from our pride, we don’t want to be humbly less than another.
From all sorts of jealousies and vanities that we suffer from, most of us are living wanting to be someone we aren’t, and being embarrassed with who we are. So we try to cover up our imperfections and live a lie. This refusal to love who God made and even accept our sinfulness, from our pride, leads to much unhappiness and seeking the world to change us–not to stop our sins but to become like someone we idolize.
Don’t like My Situation: Then there are complaints like: He treated me badly. I hate my job. I’m worried I can’t pay my bills. My spouse doesn’t love or respect me. He was so rude to me. I don’t want to be sick. I do all of the work around here. She didn’t listen to me. I can’t believe my co worker messed up again. My computer broke and I lost all my files. I’m lonely…OK, now those reasons and alike are how we don’t like our situation and want those problems to leave as we reject the cross and the grace they send resulting in us never learning what God wills to teach us nor growing in peace.
Everything that God allows: poor treatment, difficulties, unfairness, everything is to help us leave the world and our will so to grow in greater faith/trust in Him and of course send grace for the salvation of souls. But if we don’t relent our will and accept what God allows as ultimately good, while looking for His lesson, doing what He wants us to do next in His plan for our lives, so to follow God and grow in faith, we reject the blessing from the cross and stay in bitterness over our struggles. Our struggles won’t be a joy but a curse.
Fear: To continue to see our cause for unhappiness, of course we should look into our fears. Oh, those fears that keep us from living for God’s will (the way to happiness) that we allow to control us. “Oh, I can’t do that,” we think as we reject God’s will for our own to stay in our comfort zone. Or if we do something that we don’t feel comfortable with, we are a nervous wreck. Or if something does’t go well, we are all stressed out since we want our way and/or fear failure. All of which is truly from lacking in trust and acceptance in God’s will.
Those who truly trust in God, simply do their best and are satisfied with that no matter if they succeed or fail. They are content with serving God. What does it matter if we serve God and succeed or not? God just calls us to serve Him. It is our pride that demands success. Those who trust know all that happens is God’s will and good, since they fully believe God intends to use each moment to teach and grow us into greater closeness with Him. When we truly trust in God we never worry about a thing and are truly at peace during any outcome in life. That is how we Live our faith….we learn and grow from it.
However, from our anxieties, many miss out on life and only do what we think is going to avoid conflict, keep people liking us, reduce our failures, obtain what we want and/or placate our anxieties. Then from living a life outside of trust, we suffer great distress over life’s challenges and failures. As a result of allowing the devil to control us through our fears, we never move forward in life as God really intends, never come to really following Christ, nor do we do what He wills. Then we lack the life of happiness we should be experiencing. Sadly, the time God gave us to grow in faith, through trust, we let pass away. What a shame!
Selfishness: Loving ourselves (our sinful desires) instead of God and God’s will–is what keeps us living in sin and misery. Selfishness keeps us choosing and loving evil and not good. There is no happiness in anything evil…never, even if it feels good for a moment, sin ultimately brings much unhappiness always. Doing good, sacrificing and living to serve, not to be served, while seeking to truly follow Christ is how true joy is found.
However, if we do try to be truly selfless (not seeking to be liked or to receive complements when doing good, sacrificing living in comfort/pleasure, etc.), from a lack of grace, living The Way of The Cross is hard and seems unenjoyable at first, so most quit or wind up complaining about our supposed selfless act…never growing in the grace needed to make living The Way of The Cross a pleasure.
“Oh, I already worked hard…I’m tired” we say to the person asking something from us, as we seek rest and personal comfort as our happiness, instead of being a servant and loving how Christ loved, since we like the instant gratification–like a drug–that taking care of ourselves brings. Yes, that selfish response feels good for a moment, but rejects much much grace, the grace we need to obtain true happiness.
Or some say, “They deserve what they get,” as the unloving/selfish person says of the lazy homeless man, from greatly lacking pity and compassion, living boastful of our own abilities from degrading another. Sure we should work for what we eat, but don’t we realize we don’t “deserve” any of the grace God sends us. Reality is we are all nothing…just a misery of sinfulness, just in different ways. We should never lack understanding for another’s sinfulness…no matter what it is. Of course, we don’t justify the sin, but we must know it is from a lack of grace.
It is our selfishness/self-love and pride that justifies sin and keeps us rejecting God’s grace from the desire for sin and loving bounds of worldly attachments instead of God and His will. Truly, if we were only to delight in God’s law, instead of our selfish wants and pride and the pleasures of the flesh, we would have such great peace that nothing would cause us to stumble, but we seek to serve ourselves instead of love God.
“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).
Our complaints can certainly intermingle in-between each category…as many bouts of self-pity in which we are complaining about our situation can come from low self-esteem or vice-versa. And for every reason why are are unhappy, there is a reason or several reasons for that reason, that leads us into unhappiness, which I will speak about later.
However, to learn how to become happy, we need to see why we are unhappy so we can know what to run from. So the next time we feel unhappy, stop and ask ourselves, “why.” That will bring us to understand the first level of our lack of happiness.
And all of those reasons really boil down to having a lack of gratitude for what God allows from lacking trust in God’s will–which is having a LACK OF FAITH.
How Do We, Broken People, Find Happiness?
Sadly instead of finding happiness with loving and trusting in God and His will there are many things of the world we run to to ease our stress and disappointments.
When we are upset about ourselves, we tend to run to the world…looking for complements, love and approval from others to build up our pride. If we don’t like our looks, we might go on a diet or color our hair, or do many other things to improve what we don’t like so to find happiness with our appearance.
While others turn to complaining about their neighbor’s imperfections, to try to lesson theirs and build up themselves. And yet others, turn to food, sex, drugs and other instant means of gratification to ease their pain. Or, maybe, we become people pleasers, complementing others, looking to avoid any conflict and make friends so to feel like we are “good people.”
But of course, we don’t want to do any of that since the real source of happiness–what will calm us and bring us peace with who we are–is from God alone…and if we can’t let go of the world’s way of loving ourselves so to feel good about ourselves, we simply won’t be able to obtain the happiness, which God provides.
When people are upset about their situation in life they do many of the same things that people do who don’t like themselves. Many also cry for attention as we run off to tell the next ear that will listen about what terrible injustice has occurred to us to find peace in complaining. Then we tend to do all we can to remove our crosses too…not that God necessarily want us to keep every cross, as some times God intends to use that cross for just a moment and then remove it, but most of the time, we simply just want our pain or difficult situation to leave, which is only a big rejection of the cross, which isn’t God’s will and doesn’t lead to true happiness….as the cross is the way to Christ.
We must learn how to let go of our will and embrace God’s, as that is the way to lasting peace.
Sinful Self / Created Self
Over coming low self esteem isn’t hard at all, but many people never achieve this goal or those who do obtain high self-esteem have gone about it all the wrong way, a way which boosts their pride, and covers their sins, which actually leads to their doom. Yikes! We don’t want to do this incorrectly as the consequences are eternal.
If I were to tell you to, “hate yourself” from not understanding what I’m talking about, you would probably think I had a real problem. But self-hatred is the path towards true happiness…not low self-esteem but wonderful peace filled joy. Of course, I don’t mean for you to hate the wonderful person that God created you to be, but to hate the sinful person God didn’t create.
Within each person there is a created (good) being and a non-created (sinful) being. The problem with the world today is we don’t know how to separate the two.
We know it is bad to hate ourselves (the good person God created) but in trying to over come this problem, most have talked ourselves into liking our sinful being too, which is deadly, as we all know it is very wrong to like any sin. This is a great reason why we never gain true self-esteem or real unsurpassable happiness…we are trying to like everything about ourselves…sin and all.
Our Created Being
God creates each one of us according to His divine plan (divine providence), which is absolutely perfect. This we MUST BELIEVE. God doesn’t make mistakes!
Some of us are tall, some short, some smart, some not so smart, some attractive, some less attractive, some with disabilities, some without, some with great skills, some with few, some with illnesses, some without. We are all wonderfully made. If we think God made a mistake in creating any part of us, then we are telling God we don’t like what He made us and what we want to be is better. By thinking this, we are rejecting our Creator’s perfect plan for our own plan. Obviously our plan for happiness isn’t going to obtain true happiness at all. Therefore, we must accept ourselves how we are. God That is the only way God can bring us to the life of happiness we are seeking..
We are all different and for very good reasons, and we don’t need to spend our precious time trying to be like someone, who was given gifts we weren’t, that keeps us from knowing, serving and loving God according to His will….and keeps us from the life of happiness we could obtain. We need to let go of our jealousies of others and be happy for others and ourselves just how we are.
Sure we can increase our skills and gain new skills if we work to gain them…but we shouldn’t do that to build up our pride, so to be better than others, but rather to use any abilities, whatever we can acquire, to know, serve and love God more perfectly. And, when we do our best, we must be satisfied with who we are and what we can do…errors and all…sure we should learn from them as God intends to use all moments of our life, errors and all to help us grow in faith. But we shouldn’t despair over our limitations or failures.
But most of us long to be like someone else…which leads to all kinds of unhappiness. We aren’t happy with who God made. “Oh, I wish I had hair like her,” one might say as our vanity takes over. Or, “I wish I could be fast and accurate at my job,” the other might complain as one’s lack of humility depresses us. Or,” I wish I wasn’t so shy around others,” someone might complain about their disposition.
Sadly, much of the time we don’t like our appearance, abilities or personalities. We think God made a mistake in giving us such traits, which simply isn’t true. As a result we never feel adequate and strive to be who we aren’t, not loving who we are.
Of course if we have a poor appearance due to neglect that needs to be changed or if we lack success due to laziness, that needs to be repaired too or perhaps our personality isn’t from how God created us but rather our pride or from a sinful disorder God allowed us to have but wants us to run to Him to remove. Therefore, our qualities that aren’t related to sin…are perfect just how they are…believe! And humbly accept who we are. God loves His creation and we should too.
If God gave us a brain that forgets a lot, don’t pretend like we have everything all together, since we don’t want to appear less than another. But humble and admit our limitations.
God didn’t make a mistake…and our limitations are good. God intends to use those imperfections to bring us to a life of great peace and into a saving faith. Instead of covering our imperfections, admit them, saying, “I don’t remember things very well.” Then, without embarrassment, take out a note pad and paper and write down what we need to remember. Simply understand, we don’t have to be good at anything…we just have to be ourselves.
Not everyone is equally smart, capable or talented; we all have different intellects and gifts. But the world is all hung up on being “smart,” “skilled,” and “talented.” Those who lack self-esteem will want those and have a hard time admitting their errors. They want to be seen as smart, skilled and talented and will lie and exagerate reality to feel superior.
To satisify their need for happiness they fill up on praise, approval and success. They reject God’s grace which would provide them with real hapines. and if we aren’t there is something inferior about ourselves, which in God’s eyes simply isn’t true at all. Do all smart people go to Heaven? No, intellect has nothing to do with Eternal Life. But from our pride, we don’t want to accept who we are, but pretend like we can do things we can’t. But if someone admits they aren’t “smart” at something, people will not e
Happiness is found by seeking to rid our life of our vanities and jealousies and loving/accepting ourselves exactly how God created us to be.
Now that doesn’t mean we use our limitations as an excuse to not work and do well. No, with our limitations and all, we are to work hard, for God’s honor and glory and do our best…what ever that is, learning, growing and changing and being content with that. Perhaps God desires to remove our limitations with schooling or therapy or life. But perhaps He wishes our condition to worsen. Please understand, none of our limitations are given to us for our doom. Whatever God wills is good and perfect for us as God intends to use it to transform our lives into great peace and faith. Have faith and believe at least this much! Therefore, we do our best and trust God with the rest, because happiness is not found wishing things were the way we want, but letting go of our desires and being perfectly content with what God allows.
Divine Providence: God's loving care over us, which if we follow His will for us, guides all His children to a life of peace and Eternal Bliss in Heaven.
To grow in self-esteem means to love ourselves, who God created us to be, exactly how we are…knowing that God doesn’t make mistakes and has a fantastic plan for us, if we only grow in faith to live for His will alone.
But remember God didn’t create anyone to be a sinner but rather to be a perfect saint….so we aren’t to accept our sinful ways as good, which is a horrible pit may fall into. We are to simply accept our physical and mental limitations, if they aren’t acquired by sin. But even if our physical or mental challenges are a result of sin–not part of God’s plan–we need to accept our consequences of sin since that is what God allowed. Now, if we turn to God, He will use anything bad and turn it into good. If we work to accept God’s grace, so to change and become whatever God now plans for us for our salvation.
You see, God has a perfect plan for our salvation, but when we don’t follow any part of it, we will suffer. But God still wants us saved, so He will take that suffering (consequence of sin) and use that suffering to redirect us to God’s now revised plan to save us, so to bring us towards the true path of Life.
Oh, we are created good, but from original sin, we have a very sinful being within each of us too. Our imperfections that God allows us to have are wonderful, but our sins simply can’t be found to be acceptable. That notion would be an abomination of love towards God, whom we should be loving with all of our heart, since the slightest sin causes our infinitely perfect God of love infinite malice. We must truly hate all sin.
Therefore, to find self-esteem, we must never approve of any sin, that doesn’t lead to a life of true happiness. That offends God and rejects His grace that is meant to lead us to true happiness. For example: Some of us suffer from low self-esteem from being over weight. We want to be thin. Since we aren’t, we long to be something we aren’t, which is a sin. Wanting to be thin comes from vanity…wanting to look good. And that vanity and all vanities and jealousies must be banished if we want to become truly happy. We must never desire to be anything but what God calls us to be.
However, being overweight is sinful for most. God calls us to take care of our temple of the Holy Spirit (our body the best we can without going outside of moderation) and being over weight isn’t healthy. Sure some of us suffer from old age or a medical condition that keeps us from not being able to lose weight eating the correct amount of food, but most of us are overweight from lacking self-control and being a gluten: eating more than we should. Those are sins.
Those sins should never be justified as acceptable so we can love ourselves how we are. We can’t love sin…any sin, not even the smallest. That isn’t the way to self-love. That is the deceivers way to keep us offending God and rejecting much grace from God…leaving us truly unhappy…loving sin, which is deadly.
To be a true Christian, we aren’t supposed to indulge in the pleasures of food and eat past moderation. Christ didn’t do that. We are supposed to live a life of self-denial choosing the cross for the salvation of souls. (cf.Matthew 16:24-26). Oh, if we only lived a life seeking to love God–how He loved us–like God commands of us…saving souls with our time, like the saints have done, then we would receive fantastic grace and obtain that “peace of God that surpasses all understanding”(Philippians 4:7).
We can’t do this over night, but to get there, we need to little by little reject one lie at a time, telling God we are so sorry for offending Him with whatever sins we justify to love ourselves. And then work to stop the sin. To learn more please read, “How to Stop Sinning.”
To be happy…truly happy, we need to, at least, work hard with God’s grace to leave our sinful ways. Just our real honest effort alone will send us much grace, and we will grow in wonderful happiness. Yes, we must work to leave all the sins we justify as good by choosing to repent, and make resolutions to change so we can truly love God and live the life of real happiness God has to offer. To learn more please read the book Lifting Our Values Book “A Life of Joy is Waiting for You.” And the article on this website, “How to be Happy Suffering.”
Don’t Like What Happens
Even though we do suffer with much self-love…by not hating our sinful self, the main reason we are unhappy, is from not liking what God allows to happen–the rejection of His will. You see we are selfish people, who think we know what is best and don’t want to suffer any difficulty or pain or do anything outside of our liking. Then, when something happens that we don’t like, we are not peacefully accepting of God’s will, but we have all kinds of complaints that cause our daily life of unhappiness.
The Root of Our Unhappiness
There are a gillion self help books out there. The problem is most of the self-help books don’t go to the root of the problem of our constant despair, which is SIN. Yes, the only reason we are outside of peace, in any circumstance, is from our sins. But we just can’t see it much of the time since we justify our complaints as acceptable but they aren’t.
Complaints are our way of rejecting God’s will pridefully wanting our own. And being attached to the world and not God leads us into complaining/being upset when we don’t have something of the world that we want as our joy.
This is a very easy to see sin if we know how to look, but for most since we can’t, or should I say, don’t look, we don’t see. Lets learn how to look. For example, after church lets say we enjoy saying hi to our friend, which can be is fine. But much of the time, that is a deadly attachment…something we want or even look forward to that socialization to be happy instead of seeking happiness from God alone. Lets say today our friend seems busy with someone else and didn’t even make the effort to make eye contact with us or if they did they looked unhappy with us.
How we react to that event will tell us if we have a disordered attachment to wanting attention from others or not. If we are unfazed by the event, and perfectly fine with God’s will, we don’t need the love from that person to fill us nor do we have to have our wants fulfilled to be happy…at least for that situation. But if we seek the created, not the Creator, to satisfy our longing for happiness, when we are ignored or treated poorly, we will be in distress or at least unhappy. The saints said they ran from socializing so to not fall into this trap…maybe we should too?
Much of the time we think our unhappiness is the other guy’s fault, since they have hurt us or because things didn’t go well or the way we want. But truly, our lack of joy is from our sinfulness. It is from our own rejection of God’s will–the cross. When we suffer any pain without being in peace, as the saints have experienced, who underwent great loss, abuse, hardship, ridicule, and suffering of all kinds, while still remaining in wonderful blissful peace, we know–WITH GOD’S GRACE–we can be in peace too.
They learned how to embrace the cross and grow from it, but sadly when God allows us to bear small crosses and even large ones, most of the time, we just complain about them. We don’t grow in holiness from life’s challenges, as all crosses are intended to do, but we sink in our misery away from God and His happiness He provides in all circumstances. So every time we feel in distress over anything, we know that comes from sin. But we don’t have to be in despair, we can obtain what the saints have found. God has it waiting for us to bring us to a true life of peace. Believe!
But since we don’t know how to obtain what the found, we continue to live in unhappiness, going from a moment of happiness to a moment of despair. Some even dwelling in great despair, because we are blinded to our very sins which are causing our unstable life of unhappiness.
From this blindness, we never change. Then because we long for happiness, we seek it with the world or we only partially obtain happiness with God, since our many sins, that are rejecting His grace, still remain causing us to reject much grace (help) from God, grace which was meant to bring us to a life of wonderful of CONTINUOUS peace/happiness.
Sadly, we tend to blame everything and everyone else for our unhappiness, and even try to change everyone else thinking that will bring us into happiness, but the truth is our unhappiness is through our own fault (our own sin). That is the only reason we suffer outside of peace in any circumstance, as the saints, who truly lived the faith, who many suffered great abuse from others, proved.
What Causes Us to Despair?
Lets look more in depth into our lives and see what we worry about; why do we suffer depression, anxiety, or anger. What is it that we don’t let go and accept as God’s perfect will, so God can use it to help us grow in faith/happiness. What have we allowed ourselves to live outside of peace with demanding what we feel is good?
Where is our pain? What is our negative thinking? What are our worries, conflicts we hate, anxieties, and fears? They are all different for everyone, but much of them are the same.
Yes, those are actually sins…truly not only is lying, greed, treating others poorly, etc. sinful….every worry, moment of inordinate-stifling fear, every bout of anxiety, moment of self-pity (outside of true uncontrollable mental disorders), all of our complaints are sins and come from different sins.
To end our life of unhappiness, we need to be able to “see” our sins. After we see what we feel is causing us such unhappiness, then we can get to the root–the sin under the sin–which is really leading us to our misery.
Therefore, lets honestly look into ourselves and ask, “What do I see as the causes of my unhappiness? What are my worries? What are my complaints? What are my fears?” so we can go to God for grace, make resolutions and rid them from our lives…so we can embrace God’s will with great trust in be in wonderful peace.
Don’t Like My-Self:
- I don’t like my personality (too shy, too loud, too silly, etc.);
- I can’t forgive myself;
- Someone doesn’t or might not like me;
- I pretend to be someone I’m not since I not satisfied with who I am;
- Something about me is not attractive;
- I embarrassed myself;
- I don’t feel desired/sexy;
- I’m a failure;
- I can’t do what is necessary to accomplish my goals;
- I’m addicted to drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex, gambling, etc.
- I’m stupid;
- I’m gullible/naive;
- I’m not a good person;
- I have no patience when things go wrong;
- I made a huge mistake;
- I’m compulsive;
- I lack self-control;
- I can’t do everything I need to do;
- I never stop making the wrong choices;
- I can’t find anyone to love me;
- I was disrespected/treated rudely;
- I’m worried people won’t like me for who I am;
- I was called names;
- Rumors are being spread about me;
- I’m left out;
- Others are embarrassing me;
- I’v been sexual harassed;
- I have no real friends;
- I’m ignored;
- I’m being threatened;
- I’m belittled;
- My friends don’t really care about me;
- I’m lonely;
- I miss my loved one;
- I have nobody to listen me;
- I’m taken for granted;
- I’m not appreciated;
- I have been used;
- I have been abused;
- People are fighting with me;
- I hate my job;
- I work too many hours;
- I don’t get paid enough;
- My boss hates me;
- My co-workers don’t care about me;
- I’m treated badly;
- I’m board;
- I work too hard;
- I have more work than I’m capable of doing;
- I don’t make a difference;
- I’m never going to get anywhere with this job;
- I’m taken advantage of;
- I work harder than everyone else;
- I’m disrespected;
- My employees don’t do their job;
- My spouse is always complaining about me;
- I’m not good enough;
- My spouse doesn’t love me anymore;
- My children don’t love me;
- My children disrespect me;
- My children never call me;
- My siblings rely on me to take care of them;
- My kids take all of my time;
- My elderly parents take all of my time;
- I’m treated like a slave;
- I never have any time to my self;
- I’m not understood;
- I’m bossed around;
- I do all of the work;
- My in-laws/parents are meddling in my business;
- I’m treated like a child;
- My father and/or mother don’t care about me;
- We never do anything I want;
- I never have sex with my spouse;
- My spouse is always thinking about him/herself;
- My spouse is controlling me;
- My spouse yells at me;
- My spouse hits me;
- My spouse is impatient with me;
- My spouse can’t handle conflict;
- My spouse is demanding;
- My spouse can’t compromise;
- My spouse knows nothing about our kids;
- My spouse does nothing for me;
- My spouse puts me down to the children;
- I never see my spouse;
- I’m bored with my spouse;
- My spouse doesn’t want to talk;
- We argue often;
- I’m hungry;
- I’m in pain;
- I’m sick;
- My child is sick;
- Nobody knows what is wrong with me;
- I’m dying;
- I’m tired;
- I’m disabled;
- I’m illness is keeping me from doing what I want;
Not Enough Money:
- I can’t buy what I want;
- I can’t pay my bills;
- I can’t afford a vacation;
- I can’t do what I want;
- I have squandered my money;
- I lent money to someone who never paid me back;
- Someone has stolen from me;
- I lost my job;
- My spouse who works has died or left me;
- I’m scared they won’t like me;
- I’m afraid of conflict;
- I’m afraid of failure;
- I have an inoridinate fear of flying, bugs, getting sick, etc.;
- I’m afraid of being alone;
- I’m afraid something bad will happen.
These, of course, are only a handful of the pains which we have allowed to cause our unhappiness. If we look we can see just about a billion other reasons why we are angered, frustrated, irritated, with anxiety or upset…like when someone cuts us off in traffic, when something breaks and we have to fix it, when someone doesn’t do what we want, when someone criticizes us, when we have to talk to an angry person…Oh, there are endless instances of things happening which we don’t like, and if we don’t have the grace which surpasses all understanding they will take away our perfect peace and create anger and all sorts of stress.
The first category is from a lack of self-love and the next few are from not accepting God’s will and loving our situation. And the last are from a lack of trust in God’s will. Then of course, I didn’t even mention just flat out, easy to recognize sin…as all sin rejects happiness for misery.
Please understand every challenge, wrong doing done to us, difficulty or even our negitive thinking and sins are our crosses…yes, everything I had written above and more are the blessed cross that we are allowed to bear. Crosses aren’t bad, unless we don’t go to God to learn from them and grow in holiness because of them. God sends fantastic grace through the cross. However, if we neglect our crosses or run from them, they can lead to a life of great despair.
God, who loves us beyond our understanding, allows each cross to befall us for us all to grow in wonderfull holiness and happiness. Yes, happiness…even when the most horrendous cross comes our way, God will make it good, if we trust in Him.
With each cross we have a choice to turn to God, looking for help so we can learn how to follow Christ so we can carry it and/or change (our sinful ways) so it can leave, if it is God’s will. If we don’t we reject God’s lesson, refuse much grace and suffer in despair while complaining, blaming others and trying to remove our crosses, with the pleasures of the world, that were meant to save us.
True happiness isn’t found in seeking to remove our life’s struggles or by building up our pride with praise…it is found in learning how to trust in God and follow Christ–truly follow Christ by learning from and carrying our crosses as we CHANGE into a greater image of Christ.
All of this pain we are suffering with, if we don’t obtain enough grace to suffer with joy, as we trust in God, will all be in vain. Sure this isn’t the life of happiness we had hoped for…that life without pain, is in the next. Here, there is joy and much grace through the cross; we just need to learn how to obtain it. Then our suffering will become welcomed lessons and God’s welcomed means of delivering grace for the salvation of our souls.
We need to run to God so we can learn God’s lessons from our suffering, change and grow into a greater image of Jesus (aiming towards perfection)…so one day we can have the wonderful life of perfect peace He has in store for us.
Perfect Peace Awaits
“May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Do we really understand what awaits us? Is it possible for me to place a picture in your mind of what this life of great peace really is? If we only experienced it for just a moment, we would seek it out with all of our hearts. Oh, God’s peace…wow! It is truly a peace beyond all understanding.
Imagine, experiencing a horrific tragedy like seeing your beautiful child being crushed to death by a truck right before your very eyes and being in the perfect peace of Christ…trusting perfectly in His will. Imagine not having a complaint or worry or a thought of despair…just perfect trust in God’s holy will as being what is truly good during that horrific tragedy.
Think that isn’t possible? Think again. With God’s grace we can truly have peace at all times. It is true, this fantastic peace God offers is impossible for man to obtain on his own, no matter how much we want to have this trusting peace, we can’t have it without much of God’s grace. But if God wills it, He gives us this perfect incredible peace–in ALL circumstances, and it is more incredible than I could ever describe with words.
But even in moments of great sorrow, when we have much of God’s grace, we have wonderful trusting peace. This life of happiness that I speak about doesn’t necessarily remove shock or sadness during horrible tragedies, but it most certainly makes us happy to suffer any pain–knowing it is God’s will–which we believe with all of our heart is truly good and the way to Life.
This peaceful trust turns our sorrows into joy. Joy in the cross…knowing it is part of God’s perfect plan and sends fantastic grace to God’s children for their and our salvation. If we want this fantastic peace, which is most certainly real, not just for some but is waiting for all of us, then we need to change our lives and seek to obtain it like the saints have done before us.
“My heart is peaceful like a tranquil lake…I do not long for the life of this world, my heart is thirsting for the waters of eternal life…”
–St. Theresa of Lisieux
The Grace From The Cross
There is much grace waiting for us in every cross. Like I said, we need to look at what we feel is causing us unhappiness and then look for the sin that is really leading us to our misery.
Lets look at why we don’t like ourselves. Some people, who mean well, but don’t know any better will see us with the cross of not liking ourselves or something about ourselves and tell us we must like ourselves…that we are good.
It is as if we can’t dislike oursleves. But that isn’t the truth; the saints say we must come to hate our sinful-selves if we wish to be saved. Without true hatred of our sins, we will lack true sorrow for them or some of them and reject God’s saving forgiving mercy and die.
So teaching someone to like everything about themselves isn’t The Way. That isn’t giving someone true self-esteem, so they can be happy, but rather teaching them how to not hate their sins, reject tuns of grace (the way to true happiness) and ignore their offences so they can feel good about themselves regardless of what they do. That advice guides us to our doom.
Remember all crosses are beautiful, even if we are not liking something about us that we should. We just need to learn from that cross–that sin. To understand how we obtain happiness from this cross we need to look into seeing if our reasons for not liking ourselves is truthful or exaggerated, good or bad.
Lets say we feel depressed because we believe we are not a good parent. Perhaps that is truthful or exaggerated. Perhaps there are means in which we can improve and become a better parent. Or perhaps we are having a moment of self-pity blaming ourselves for our children’s sins, when we are not involved, which is sinful and need to be amended. We need to honestly, humbly (wanting to see our sinfulness so we can repent and change) look into ourselves to see if any part of our declaration of being a bad parent is truthful or not.
Then if we see an area in our parenting that is lacking, we confess our sin with sorrow, accept God’s grace, and work towards changing. Aw…we saw the lesson in the cross. That cross is leading us to great happiness. Then we can rejoice in God’s love and mercy towards us even though we are so sinful and come to find that perfect happiness he has to offer those who truly seek to amend their sins and trust in Him to do it. To learn more please read the Lifting Our Values book “How to Love My Self and Hate My Sinfulness.”
“The why to happiness leads through the confessional”
–Pope St. John Paul II
But please remember if our goal is only to make us “happy” not to look towards God to learn and grow/change, from that cross, then we will just try to rid our cross and gain nothing from it.
The solution to all of our problems isn’t by building up our pride, gaining respect, wanting equality, comfort, and all of the finer things in life, as society has us doing. That isn’t The Way Christ walked.
Truly, happiness is found by gaining HUMILITY…knowing we are a wretched sinner who deserve nothing because of our life time of sins and only wanting to spend our lives giving it to know, serve and love God.
Yes, that line of thinking brings perfect happiness. Seem impossible? It is true. If we stop wanting everyone to treat us well, wanting things our way and seek to become like Christ; if we come to want nothing but to be the servant, carrying our cross as God wills and live to do God’s will…trusting in Him, we will become the happiest of all. Believe! This is what the Jesus and the saints did. And even though they suffered they “rejoice[d] to the extent that you [they] share[d] in the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13) and obtained eternal bliss in Heaven.
“I learned by experience that true happiness on earth consists in being forgotten and in remaining completely ignorant of created things.”
–St. Therese of Lisieux
But the great deceiver has us looking for attention and knowledge of the world, so we can be approved and feel important. But we must let all of this go if we want a life of real happiness.
To do this we must be learning from our crosses. And we can’t learn anything if we can’t be honest with ourselves, to see our errors, so we can make resolutions and change daily into a greater image of Jesus.
Sadly, we don’t imitate Jesus. To feel instantly good about ourselves, from our pride, we like the instant smile we place upon someone from the complements, approval and praise we give, giving them sympathy and pity for their burdens, or complementing others for their good work, but that harms us and others…it doesn’t bring either of us to true happiness, but encourages us to be people pleases and brings others to delight in the world of attention and run from the true happiness God has to offer.
“I am only too glad to be in a cell where I cannot be heard by the Sisters, and can suffer alone; my happiness goes [leaves] when I am offered sympathy and attention.”
–St. Therese of Lisieux
Sadly, we give others instant highs–an instant feeling of satisifaction–with our complements or notions of sympathy, which fades away and then we just fall back into despair all over again because we lack faith in God–since we don’t seek Him as our source of happiness.
Humility tend to think those who deflate themselves, who loath themselves, are humble….well, unless they are loathing their sinful self, it is quite the opposite. Those feelings of inadequacy that people dwell in comes from ones pride too. The devil uses our pride and convinces us we need to be “someone” to be of value, that we must be “successful” to be of some worth. And when we don’t have those seemingly worldly qualities that people admire, or do things incorrectly, we put ourselves down as we wish we were someone we aren’t. We don’t accept our imperfections and failures as God’s will and learn from them. We don’t want God’s will, we want achievements and success.
That, pride–wanting to be someone we aren’t–leads to all sorts of unhappiness. However, it is in being honest with who we are–not deflating or inflating–but being satisfied with who we are (the qualities God gave us and disabilities we have) that leads to a life that can grow in true humility and wonderful happiness.
If we are unintelligent, unattractive, or seemingly untalented, we should never try to convince ourselves we are smart, attractive, and talented, if we truly aren’t. The devil wants us lying to ourselves so we won’t be satisfied with who we are. That lie, of telling people they are something they aren’t, is societies way of boosting our self-esteem, not God’s.
Is there something sinful with not being the smartest, the priestliest, or the most talented? Not at all. Actually, it is far easier to avoid great sin without those qualities. The devil uses our blessing and distorts them into things we can use to build up our pride which causes great blindness and love of ourselves, when the Word says we need to come to “hate…even ourselves” ( ). The constant bragging about those qualities God has given us or seeking those qualities from the world makes it seem like that is what life is all about…getting the greatest qualities to boost our pride. Sadly many people spend their whole life in pursuit of those worldly goals, completely loosing sight of what Life is truly about: seeking salvation by learning how to know, serve and love God which is how someone will truly be happy.
God wants us to love ourselves–the qualities He gave us–the way we are. He didn’t make a mistake with the gifts He gave us and wants to use us to do great things for Him exactly how we are. Now, I’m not saying, God won’t increase our talents for His glory, He will, but all He does shower upon us isn’t for us to brag or for our vain thoughts of esteem, it is to be used to love Him by loving our neighbor.
Lies are sinful; they never help. When we promote lying to ourselves or others to try to make them feel “happy,” to make them feel smart, attractive or talented, to build up their self-esteem, deep down we are hurting them. They might smile for a moment, and feel inspired for a moment and believe the lie for a bit, but when reality hits and they can clearly see they struggle with learning, aren’t the prettiest, or lack talent compared to the rest, because they never gained value for themselves the way they are, and they will start the self bashing all over again. This pretending we are something we aren’t is very harmful.
Encouraging others to do our best and be satisfied with who we are, the good and the seemingly bad is the way to live. Actually we should teach others what we see as “bad” like being unattractive, slow to learn, or having less talents than others is God’s plan for the good of our souls and is exactly how He wants us. If we had it all we would have a much harder seeing the need for God. Having beauty, intellect and being greatly talented can easily lead to an out of control inflated pride as many pride themselves on being “better” than others with the slightest increased in talent, completely loosing sight of the goal in life–loving God.
Truly, God cares about our heart of love. The qualities He gives us are so we can use them to serve Him, not boost our pride or serve ourselves. If God doesn’t want us pretty, smart or talented, He does’t wish to use those things to serve Him. Therefore, we have different attributes He gave us that He wishes to us so we can know, serve and love Him. We don’t need to be pretty, smart or talented to love God perfectly….none of what the world values is of real value in the true scheme of things. God didn’t make us all equal for a reason and it is all good. Exactly how we are made is perfect, if we trust in Him to use us exactly as we are to do wonderful good through us.
Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t encourage others with compliments to grow into the person God wants them to be using the true gifts they were given. Compliments can have their place, especially in children, but false complements (building up what isn’t there in the first place) or constantly feeding someone compliments, so they become addicted to them and live for them, is always hurtful in the young and old. We can easily get addicted to the compliments and begin doing what we do for the praise of man not love of God.
If we have a hard time learning, that is fine. Accept it. Don’t pretend like we are smart or tell someone they are smart, if they aren’t. Now I’m in no way saying those who have trouble learning can’t, with God’s help, if it is His will, we can over come that short coming and advance in intellect. Also, I’m not saying to tell someone they can’t learn either or neglect to help motivate them with the areas they are skilled or even not skilled in, as we all have some intellect and ability to learn. But we are to use what God gave us, which is perfect for us, to the best of our ability and grow at the rate God desires towards salvation. But we should never pride ourselves on the gifts God has given us to boost our self-esteem thinking it was our great skill that did something well, when it is God’s grace which allows us to do well, which is to be nurtured to become the best skill if can be to SERVE GOD.
What is intelligence, talent or beauty? Is that want makes a person good or happy? Not at all. It might gain us pride, and temporary happiness, as we like to pride ourselves on our outward “gifts” and if we think we need to be “smart” to be of value obviously if we aren’t given the gift on great intelligence we will be quite unhappy, but if we believe we are valuable as a beautiful creation of God and perfect exactly how we are, we won’t desire to be anything but what God allows us to be. Intelligence, talent and beauty has nothing to do with living a life of wonderful peace and happiness knowing, serving and loving God. Being honest with ourselves and loving who God made does. Is there something wrong with the way God made us? Of course not. God doesn’t make mistakes. We need to trust God has a terrific plan for our lives exactly how we are…even with our seemingly flawed lives, or should I say, especially with our seemingly flawed lives. God tends to use those, who have less “visible gifts,” the most so His light can shine through them the greatest. The more talents and gifts we have the more proud we tend to become, and that pride stifles God’s light and blinds us from being able to properly serve God and from knowing the true way to earthly and eternal bliss. So stay far away from anything that tries to build up our pride; it is deadly.
Some Have True Mental Illness
It is true sometimes we can’t always control our feelings nor properly work to obtain God’s grace to come to control our feelings. Some people can’t even begin to find God’s peace because of true mental illness. Some people will have fear and anxieties that are unfounded (there is nothing occurring in their life to fear or be sad about) and others have mental issues that aren’t in their control either resulting in mental dysfunction which are all from true mental illness.
For us with such issues, either a healing from Christ or nutritional/medical intervention will be greatest way we can begin to come to find the path of Life and peace. But we must always remember, even if we are allowed to suffer a true mental illness and there doens’t seem to be a cure or even help from nutrition or medicine, God heals. If healing us is God’s will–what is best for our salvation–God will most certainly cure any illness, when and how He wills, if we have faith and sometimes even if we don’t have much faith by the intervention of another or even if we have little or no faith, if that is God’s will. So never doubt God can show His love for us by healing us. But of course, the greater we are living the faith, the greater our true faith really is, the more healing power of God will come through our prayers because we aren’t rejecting His power from unrepentant, unchanged sins.
Much of the time, even if we have little faith, it is God’s will for us to see God’s love for us by healing us–so we can grow in faith and desire to love Him in return (seek to stop offending Him). God allows all (even the worst of illnesses) to occur in our lives and intends it for our good. He will use all moment to draw us closer to Him and the path of peace, if we allow Him. Sometimes a healing will occur, but it will be different than we expect; but it is God’s will. If we continue to trust in Him, when things don’t go as we plan, trusting in His plan, God will lead us right to the path of happiness. Nothing God allows is to lead us to our doom. God wills to use all moments, if we allow Him–from our love and trust in Him–to bring about the salvation of our souls and a wonderful life of joy.
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
We Must Increase Our Faith to Find Joy
But weather we have a mental illness or not, we must increase our faith if we seek a life and eternity of true peace. For most however, our fears and anxieties, angers and despair, and I truly mean most of us, our issues aren’t from a true mental illness, despite what the world says. It is from our lack of faith that causes our problems. And by lack of faith, I mean our lack of seeking to stop our life of sin. Remember it is our sins that causes us to suffer in great anxiety. Because if we had much faith, we would know what sin does to Our Lord who we should be loving.
Sure we might have a greater inclination towards a certain sinful behavior than another, but that isn’t mental illness. All of us will be tempted and if we don’t seek God grace to rid the temptation, we fall into the sin much of the time over and over again. Then, if we don’t run to God for the grace to amend, that sin grows and grows and become habitual in nature. That habitual behavior of sin can strip our life of much joy. Even if our actions are labeled as “mental illness” the the world of psychiatry, that behavior isn’t derived from a true mental illness, it is derived from sin. Sure it can grow so great that is needs medical help to control, but that still doesn’t mean the problem is from mental illness but sin.
Since most people don’t know any better, from our misguided love, we try to help one another but we go about it the wrong way and steer many people away from God’s healing, helping mercy and to drugs alone to help them find happiness. Many justifying our or other’s behavior as not sinful or “just the way we are,” which isn’t the truth. Unless we are truly unable to choose a sin or haven’t matured enough mentally to know right from wrong, our sinful behaviors, no matter how hard they are to reject the temptation, are most certainly sins.
These drugs we run to for help much of the time only lead us into masking our need for God’s grace. These drugs help us cover our sinful behavior. But seeing our misery is supposed to give us self-knowledge of our sinfulness and need for God’s mercy. But if we don’t “see” our misery, because we have covered it with drugs, we don’t see our need for God’s healing mercy and die from pride thinking we are holy when we are far from it. For example: If I worry often when things don’t go as I plan, and can’t calm down but stay up all night and relive event after event trying to control life or wishing things were different and can’t find peace, but I turn to drugs or alcohol that calm my mind to where I don’t worry so much anymore and can finally sleep and not seek to control so much anymore but now relax, am I now a person of greater faith from the drug? NO, absolutely not. Drugs aren’t God’s healing grace that brings the true faith we need to be saved. Do we now, after we have the drugs alter who we are, have greater contrition for our sins and greater trust in God, truly believing all He allows to happen in our life is His will and good, and that is why we no longer worry, we finally trust in God. NO! Don’t be deceived.
Drugs can help for some with extreme and true mental illness and even for others as a first step towards a saving faith, but for the rest of us who haven’t abandoned sin, they don’t help us towards a saving faith at all, but make us more blind to our misery and need for mercy. They increase our pride and don’t help bring us to the humility we truly need. Drugs don’t lead us into greater trust in God and hate for sin, but for most cause us to live in even greater blindness.
Many will say, “I will be so angry, and impatient without these drugs. Then with the drugs I’m much more patient and a happier person.” Tell me, does that mean after the drugs our faith grew and that is why we are acting more in the image of Christ? Of course not. That sin’t proof we grew in grace. If we intentionally cover our imperfections, so to not have them and avoid working hard with God’s grace to remove them, we will die blind thinking we had a faith, we simply didn’t.
No matter why we are sin, it is still a sin. No matter what were born with, no matter what thorn we were given in our side, God desires to use it to bring us to a life and eternity of great peace, if we trust in Him to teach us how to change our lives to find the path of Life. Believe!
The reason we suffer so much is because we are looking for happiness in all of the wrong places. If things don’t go our way, we don’t trust in God, and live in peace. We want our will. We struggle against God’s will and insist that things go as we wish and as a result suffer with all sorts of anxieties and depression when God’s will isn’t in accord with our own.. Trusting in God in all circumstances for a life of perfect peace is lost in most of our lives.
We don’t want the cross; we want what we want. We don’t want to suffer and we want comfort. Yet a life of fantastic peace is found by letting go of our desires and rejoicing in what ever God allows to occur in our lives as His perfect will. This life of fantastic joy is found through love of the CROSS. Truly, there is joy in even tragedy and great pain…in all circumstances. That is what the Word says. Believe!
“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ).
Only if we could obtain the faith to have such grace to truly rejoice always, life during every circumstance, wouldn’t be full of such despair. Well, we can have such a faith. It isn’t as hard to achieve as someone might think. Those who don’t think faith (Jesus) can remove all anxiety and despair are simply deceived into justifying their sins with the hopes to find happiness pretending like these is normal acceptable behavior, when it isn’t. Anxiety, despair, and worries are all signs of a faith that needs healing. Those with strong faiths, don’t suffer those issues anymore. Jesus heals!
I’m not saying we won’t be terribly sad when something horrible happens, but we will be more than happy, even in great joy, to suffer and pray, united with Christ on the cross, to suffer in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world from carrying the cross, than from any comfort we could partake in. This sounds crazy, I know, for those who have had to suffer horribly from tragedy or pain in which they couldn’t bear the burden, but this is the truth.
However, this reality isn’t possible without God’s grace, and much of it. This is the grace that is waiting for us when we walk towards the path of Life. Truly, with God’s grace, we will be glad to do what Christ has done for the salvation of souls. But we just won’t be glad, we will be enveloped with God’s love and joy to such a degree that it trumps a million times over again anything of enjoyment we could ever obtain from the world. This is “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) that the Word speaks about, which is available to all of us. Truly, all of our sorrows will be turned into wonderful incredible joy.
To get to this place of true happiness, we need to look for where we are falling short of trusting in God and living the faith so we can change. Most of us tend to bash ourselves when failures occur, and that can lead to all sorts of problems, but that isn’t the real issue. The real problem is that we feel we need to be something we aren’t. We are content with where we are in life. We aren’t content with our suffering, with our challenges, because we seek our will and not what God has allowed.
Those “build yourself up” books many people seek for guidance can make people temporarily feel good. Some of the advice in them can even be truly good, and sometimes God will even use them (broken advice and all) to help us a little bit. However, if we stay with them as our guide, and never keep on looking for the truth (the true way to lasting happiness) we will never find the correct path in life which leads to the peace beyond all understanding we really want.
But we must be careful we are following the right guide. Those who aren’t following God’s way to happiness (love of the cross), who aren’t following the same path of the saints–who found wonderful true happiness–those who don’t know the way themselves can’t help us obtain what they haven’t found themselves. There is only one Way to this life of wonderful peace, and we know for sure the saints have found it; we can’t go wrong following them. To see a list of great books authored by the saints click on the link at the bottom of this article. Even in great suffering, the saints have obtained the grace needed to “rejoice in their sufferings” and have been filled with great joy for their crosses.
Happiness isn’t in learning how to rid our life of our challenges and sufferings, it is in learning how to embrace them as God’s perfect will for us. Not that God wills necessairly wills for our challenges and sufferign to stay, but He most certainly intends to use them to lead us to a life and eternity of great joy.
Yet, sadly many of the self-help books, that are not written by the saints, leave out the most important direction that leads to a life of true joy–love of the cross. Some of them even give the exact opposite advice of what the saints teach. However, because we don’t know the Way correctly either, those “build yourself up” books’ guidance might seem real good, but much of the time they actually lead us away from receiving God’s peaceful grace. They tend to help us with a false truth and like any false means of happiness that only dwindles away and then the sorrows return all over again.
If someone doesn’t study and study and learn the path of Life the saints teach, and obtain God’s wisdom–not from a book–but from the constant removal of sin (the constant desire to love God), and strive to live the doctrine (live the faith)–proving their success by living a life of true happiness especially during their challenges, sufferings and problems (crosses)–how can they guide anyone else correctly to true happiness if they haven’t found it themselves? They can’t.
But we tend to see someone doing better than ourselves and think we will follow them. We ask advice from our friends or practically anyone when we are lost and boy do we receive the wrong guidance. Even if someone has made a successful life on earth, but they are wearing a mask of happiness as they live a worldly life–they aren’t on the path of Life. Unless someone is truly striving to live a life like a saint: that of self-denial of worldly pleasures–removing the things we think we need to be “happy” and seeking God alone–they aren’t saved and are simply living deceived and deceiving others too. All of these vainties we strive for simply aren’t the Way. Having some knowledge of the faith and relationship with God surely isn’t proof of someone being on the path of Life…it is in living their life like the saints have done before us.
We need to become familiar with what the saints say is the Way to correctly know if others are guiding us properly or not. Therefore, unless what a book says is in line with what the saints, the Church (Catechism) and the Word teach, who have more wisdom than any non-sanctified authors does, the guidance from those books isn’t correct. It can’t be. There is only one Way. The problem is we don’t know what the true Way is so we think the guidance of others is correct, and we follow their misguidance to our doom.
The Word tells us to follow the wisdom of the saints, who acknowledge Christ by truly living His Word, who literally chose to leave the world to follow Him (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:19). There is only one way to true and lasting happiness, and the saints are the ones we know for sure have found it. “Do not trust every spirit [person] but test the spirits [people] to see whether they belong to God” (1 John 4:1). The saints have written many many books. We need to seek their counsel. We shouldn’t just read their books to learn about someone elses life but read them to become inspired in our life to seek out to do what they have done. With God’s grace, we can live lives like them one day. On this site I have many links to different saint books. Please spend the time to read them over and over again to learn the messages they are giving. They will lead us to the wonderful life we should be experiencing.
Are the people we are looking to for guidance really living the Word, truly following the examples of the saints, or are they not really any different from us. We need to look carefully–the best we can–to see if what is being said by their word and example is truly following the same doctrine as Christ. Of course we might be wrong as we can’t read anyone’s heart, and we can mistaken the truth for a lie or a lie for the truth, but God wants us to discern the spirits the best we can and follow those whom we believe are sincerely striving to become one of God’s holy ones (saints).
Sadly, so many people are being led astray by the good intentioned but misguided direction of others. Would we ask someone to teach us how to read, if they can’t read? Of course not. But so many of us run to our friends for advice, when they live greatly broken lives as well, and yet we think their advice is sound because they seem to be doing a little better than us or seem to give good support. Why should we take advice of how to find a life of wonderfully happiness, if someone hasn’t found it themselves? That would be foolish. We need to seek the guidance from people who are truly living the Way, not only in word, but most importantly in deed, as all others still lack the wisdom needed to correctly guide even themselves. There is only one way to a life of true happiness and if we follow a different way, we won’t find it. We must be very careful who we follow, as our life and eternity depends upon it.
“Be imitators of me [Saint Paul], as I am of Christ [living the Word]” (1 Corinthinas 11:1).
You might not know what God’s true way to happiness is but hopefully after reading this, God will enlighten you more so you can pick the correct guide to follow to a life of true joy. There is a real reason why you haven’t found true happiness yet, but with the right direction, you can learn how to obtain God’s wonderful grace that is waiting for you.
I Found the Way
With all that said above. You might ask yourself if I have found the path to perfect happiness, since like I said, you should’t listen to anyone who hasn’t. Please hear this with all humility in my heart, because I am a miserable sinner who certainly doesn’t deserve to know or have anything. But, I have to tell you, God from His great mercy for wretched sinners most certainly has touched me with His grace. His grace has changed my life. The story of God’s transformation of my life is written in the Lifting Our Values book, “The Joy of Suffering.” I was given this incredible grace of fantastic peace in literally all circumstances (unless I fall into a sin that God wants to guide me away from), and I’m certainly not even a saint, but I do strive to become one like as we all should.
God blessed me with this unfathomable grace after I learned how to live His Word when my daughter was suffering a horrific illness for over two years. She was dying a horrible death that nobody could successfully help her escape. I suffered horrendous agony after agony as it was an unspeakable illness (as I explained in the book) that was so horrific, but God took me–a truly wretched sinner–and showed me perfectly how to obtain the most incredible peace during the worst of sufferings…truly a peace beyond all understanding was given to me by letting go of my will and striving to perfectly follow His will and trust in Him. I won’t teach anything the saints and I haven’t proven is the Way by our own life experiences.
How to Begin to Find True Happiness
To begin to find the life of incredible happiness, we need to believe God is the source of true happiness. I needed God. I went to Him to heal my daughter when nobody else could and even though I didn’t have the faith at first, praise God, I at least had the faith to know God could heal her. I had that much belief. Without this basic belief, we can’t even begin the journey. We need to believe He wants us happy and saved and can heal us of any ill to bring us there.
Then we need to understand what is the source of all of our sorrows. It isn’t our spouse, kids, neighbor, job or from any life circumstance. It is only from OUR SINS. Nobody nor anything “makes” us unhappy. It is OUR SIN alone that ruins our lives of peace. This we must believe. We need to stop blaming everyone else, even if we are suffering much abuse, as it is our sins alone the rejects God’s blissful peace that we could be experiencing in any circumstance…mostly the sin of lacking trust in God.
It is true we might need to leave people who are leading us to the path of death, as one of the steps towards a life of peace, but they aren’t the root of the problem. The root of our suffering is ourselves–our sinfulness. Because those who are following the Way, no matter how someone treats us nor what occurs in our lives–from God’s grace strengthening them–are filled with GREAT HAPPINESS even during great sorrows.
more coming soon