Everybody wants to be happy. So, what’s keeping us from it and what does faith have to do with it?
I’ve been getting hate mail these days. They don’t actually spell H-A-T-E, but by the time I’m done reading, I feel pretty rotten. Last week, I was on the hook to speak at a women’s group at church last week and the nasty messages arrived fast and furious.
Let me give you peek into one of these letters —
What makes you think you’re so special? I know what you’re really like. You keep making the same mistakes over and over gain.
You second guess yourself, worry and buckle under pressure. You’re just ordinary. Such a bore.”
On a regular day, these notes can be even more vicious. My emotional attacker loves to lodge words like insignificant and mundane into my heart.
You’d never guess who said these awful things about me.
I wrote these letters.
The world loves dropping these deceptive messages for us, too. Successful people who appear happy tell us we either lack drive or ended up stressed out because we have too much of it. If we’re troubled in relationships, we’re either settling for too little or bring too much baggage ourselves. One book promises we’ll achieve balance to life in 10 steps, while another tells us to reach within ourselves to find true peace.
I’m guilty of searching the Scriptures for a turn key solution, too. I’ve memorized verses as if they were vaccinations against human frailty.
I mistake God’s word for a magic eraser for my insecurities and negative emotions. God’s word is more daring. He invites me to come to Him as I am.
We wrestle with God like Jacob did with an angel, clinging to Him until we hear an answer. We can be impulsive and emotional. Even in this, God will bless us.
We can be stressed out like Elijah, caught in the drought of circumstances. God’s sends TLC: bite-sized food, sips of water and rest. We want to use our hands. God wants our hearts.
We can view our doubts and weaknesses as annoying emotions that keep us from God– or we can see them as the doorways to intimacy with God.
Do you remember a first love letter?
I remember mine. My throat gasped in disbelief as my head swam off to sea. My heart was standing in front of cheering thousands, I was so nervously euphoric. I was the victor, having captured someone’s heart.
Were these words written about me?
I’d read and re-read. If the day got tedious, you would’ve never guessed it. I could recall how a sentence wrapped around, where a comma was placed, with photographic memory like never before.
All the Dear Jane letters that littered my past disappeared in that moment.
For each nasty letter I wrote to myself, how many times do I pull out God’s love letters?
Quantity can be advantageous, but not required in the language of love. How many wounded, fighting soldiers guarded their hearts with a well-worn love letter out in the battlefield?
If we really believed God wrote us love letters, maybe we would read them more often. Maybe then, we would dare to be happy, even in the face of imperfection.
I decided to call my own bluff and read my nasty letter aloud to the group the next day. Imagine the gasps that went out in the room. Imagine the silence that gripped the air when I told them that I wrote it myself.
Then, imagine the hearts that broke open when I read God’s Love Notes.
If we want to experience true happiness, it can only be found in being loved. Without faith, it is impossible to believe what we’re craving is really what God is offering. Faith is the one choice we have for happiness.
Take out that shoe box and start dusting off those love letters. Read them fresh and keep your eyes open. You’ve got some of God’s love letters coming your way.
God’s Love Notes (GLN)
Here are some of the nasty words I shared and GLN’s sent in response.
1. My Regrets.
I will make up for opportunities you think you’ve lost. You can trust I have something worth the trade of your heart.
“Then I will make up to you for the years that the locust has eaten.” Joel 2:25
2. My best efforts are nothing compared to my failures.
Don’t despise small beginnings. You are big in my eyes. Your heart is more valuable to me than the results of your efforts. Don’t be afraid. I will never give up on you. Don’t give up on me.
“Who despises the day of small things?” Zech 4:10
“My Spirit remains among you; do not fear. I will fill this temple with glory. .. The glory of this latter temple (our imperfect selves) shall be greater than the former (self-made lives).” Haggai 2:4,5, 8,9
3. My Negative Traits/Mistakes prove I’m not fruitful. I’m a failure.
You can’t do this. That’s why I’m here. You are not a failure. Growing takes time. One day, you’ll have no idea how it happened, but you’ll be surprised my words have an effect on you.
“This is what the is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself , the soil produces grain.” Mark 1:26-29″
Relax. I am your love, not your critical judge.
“Rely on the love God has for us…
because fear involves punishment and
the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
1 John 4:16-18
Which letters are you spending time reading?
What are God’s Love Notes to you?
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
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Today’s topic: How Does Your Faith Connect To Your Happiness?
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Next week’s 10/28 Topic: How I Am Hearing From God
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