How Can I Find Happiness
Our Life Long Struggle to find happiness is over
Perfect Joy is Waiting For Us
How can I stop feeling lonely, depressed, stressed or upset? How can I find true happiness in a world of cruelty, pain and suffering? These are questions people have been searching for the answers for all time. 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?
You see, there is a worldly way–a false way–to obtain happiness, at least some relative experiences of happiness, which provide us temporarily relief…but they quickly fade and can even lead us into greater misery as we can crave more and more of the world–like a drug–to fill us.
“No misery is more genuine than is false joy,” as St. Bernard of Clairvaux warns us. Yet, sadly, this false joy is what most of us seek out to try to make us happy but of course it fails.
Oh, the things of the world we want or run to for happiness: material possessions, good food, attention, fun with family and friends, success, sex, respect, praise, relaxation, love from another, things to go our way and a billion other things–that aren’t God! It is no wonder why we are suffering so greatly. We seek the world. Yet, the world doesn’t truly satisfy…only God does!
“Happy lot of the soul…[when] one is able…to empty his heart of all desires [except God and His will], so as to draw near unto God” as St. John of the Cross proclaims.
“You are my God. My happiness lies in you alone.” (Psalm 16:1)
Yes, this source of true happiness comes from God alone.
We don’t need to follow the world’s failing way of finding happiness…truly, even many people of faith, who believe they are guiding us to the way of happiness correctly are misguided, as the evil one has tricked most, and we are still unknowingly following much of the world’s failing guidance.
That is why many self-help books only work for a minute. They aren’t following The True Way, The Way of The Cross…like the saints have followed.
The saints know The Way, as their lives have proven, as even in great suffering, they were in unmistakable peace from letting go of wanting the world, their will and truly trusting in God’s will allone: knowing that in all God allows–the good and the bad–our loving God intends to use everything for much good, if we allow Him. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad” (Psalm 118:24).
“You maintain peace; in peace, because of our trust in you [God]” (Isaiah 26:3).
Therefore, the way to true happiness is learning how to “not love the world or the things of the world” (1 John 2:15), surrender our will for God and truly “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).
But on top of that, there are many things we do which reject God’s peace that we must learn how to rid from our lives so we don’t prevent God from filling us with His great perfect lasting peace.
This godly way that brings fantastic happiness, which if done correctly and fully, can obtain “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), which will remove everything of bitterness, even our daily life frustrations all the way to wiping out any great despair.
Therefore, if we are looking for unfathomable happiness or even a better life than 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 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)
The whole reason we lack happiness is because we aren’t doing these 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).
When we are growing closer to God, from living our faith correctly, our anxieties and complaints are progressively leaving and peace is steady increasing. There are some who have found a relatively happy life with the successes and pleasures of the world or those who have grown somewhat in faith to experience some of God’s peace. But for those, they aren’t yet experiencing the true happiness that God has to offer nor growing towards it from not truly living the faith.
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, as 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…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 unsurpasable 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.