Today’s post is by my sweet friend, Jodie Barrett, from North Carolina. Jodie, along with her friend Donna, leads Faithfully Following Ministries. This is the final post in the Happiness and Joy Series. Click on the video for more about Jodie and ‘One Jar at a Time.’
Marketing genius would have us believe there’s one for every dilemma; a formula that will make you stronger, one that will make you thinner, one that will make your wrinkles fade, and even one that will make you happy. Or is there?
When I was younger I determined my own formula for happiness. After my nuclear family fell apart at the age of eight I concocted a plan that would equal happiness when mixed and stirred just right. If I could live in a two story house with a white picket fence, have a handsome husband and five children then I would be happy.
Right? Perhaps. I really can’t tell you.
I’ve yet to live in a two story house with a white picket fence and after two children I decided that was all this momma could mother. That handsome husband? Yes, he’s by my side, but that was just one part of the magic happy formula I created.
My formula fell flat, but I am happy.
However, for many years I was not. Despite my deepest desires to be, I was not.
Allow me to condense my mistake into a nutshell. Crack open my heart and mind and inside there was brokenness that needed Jesus and without Him life was empty; void of the rich life that I thought came from the formula of one house +one husband +five children + a perfect wife and mom (forgot that part).
Today, we do live in a two story house. We started in a tiny trailer with bullet holes, prickly plywood counter tops, and a very small hot water heater. I still have that handsome hubby, but he currently serves our country overseas and those two, beautiful children are now in college. The house is empty and I just hung a sign over my bed that says happy. Don’t laugh at how those words typed out. Empty house does not equal happiness; a life filled with Jesus does equate to joy and my happiness is in spite of any circumstance.
Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Learning to live with Christ at the center of our lives is a formula for overcoming our circumstances.
Beneath my happiness sign hung above my bed are four little birds that have the words:
While staring at those little birds, God brought this thought to my heart:
Imagine what happiness you could have if you believe in the hope of Christ and allow His plans be your dreams!
Now there is a formula!
Believing in the hope of Christ +Trusting His plans for your life
Now there is a formula worth buying…except it’s free and it’s priceless. Let’s not be confused. It’s not a formula that leads to a perfect life, but it is one that allows happiness in spite of our imperfect lives.
Psalm 16:5-6 says, “LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
I’m here today, thirty six years after I created that failed formula, to express that my happiness, my joy, comes from the Lord. Yours can also. For years I lived with a deep desire to be happy and I reached for all the wrong things to fill my life with joy. Can I share today that all we need to reach for is Jesus? He alone holds the cup that can fill your life with overflowing joy and happiness.
I’m thankful for that sign above my bed, but simply because it expresses the fullness in my life with Christ!
Praying that you also believe and trust,
Jodie Barrett is a wife, mother, homemaker, office manager, teacher and speaker!
She enjoys using the gifts that God has given her combined with the wisdom gained from the Word and life experiences to motivate and encourage women to strengthen their faith and fitness.
She resides in the small town of Roanoke Rapids, NC and attends Calvary Baptist Church.
Catch up with Jodie on her blog at FaithfullyFollowingMinistries.org