In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, July 22, 2011

In Others' Words: Happiness

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony." ~Thomas Merton

I used to think happiness was all about more, more, more.

As I've gotten older, I've discovered that happiness (think contentment) is all about less.

When I was younger, I always had a list of "this is what I want" for my birthday or Christmas. Now, more often than not, I'm hard-pressed to think of anything. It's not that I don't want things ... It's just those things aren't important. 

I look around and realize, hey, I've got a lot of stuff. And, while I like a lot of it, I could also get rid of a lot of it and not miss it.

My happiness isn't about turning the volume of my life louder. Or going faster. It's found in the moments when I've more than enough time to spend with those I love. Or when I can step back and watch my family as they talk and laugh--and nowadays they often do this while cooking together.

In Your Words: What makes you happy? How would you define happiness? Contentment? When you think of happiness--what memory comes to mind?

photo by sinanacar/

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At 6:34 AM, Blogger Patricia said...

This is so lovely, Beth.

There was a time in my life that I was weary of discontentment that led to envy, and I remember the day I turned it over to the Lord. It truly took the work of the Holy Spirit to change my heart, but the Lord knew it was my desire to find true happiness in Christ alone...and He was faithful to answer that prayer.

Do I have moments of discontentment still? Of course, but they are fleeting because I've learned to recognize them for what they are.

Contentment is at the heart of stewardship and learning to live frugally and not wastefully. Scripture says that God loves a cheerful giver, so I want to be a cheerful giver. If I'm trying to hold onto my own stuff, there is no way I can be who I want to be in Christ.

LOVED this, Beth. Thank you for the reminder.


At 8:00 AM, Blogger Wendy Paine Miller said...

I'm happy when I'm creating something. And brainstorming. I love to brainstorm.

This reminds me of a talk I recently had with my mom. She had a craft business over 20 yrs. ago and I wondered if now, all these years later, if she'd have interest in getting back into it. She said maybe, but that she believed her time was best spent investing in relationships.

I haven't forgotten that conversation and in fact, I think of it a lot whenever I am tempted with the big MORE.
~ Wendy

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

Loved this post, Beth. It's true, I have so much(especially when I think of how most of the people in the world live). Contentment is a hugely important contributor to happiness. My happiest memories all involve being with others--playing with cousins as a child, hiking with hubby or friends, doing things with others, talking with others. Interesting.
P.S. I love your posts about cooking with your family--especially as your son-in-love has become a part of that mix. :)


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