Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Beware of Selling and Modeling Cheap Happiness

I was at a festival of sorts the other day, one of those gatherings in another state where people came from all over to hear a lot of bands, eat food, hang out, buy crafts . . . you know what I mean?  There were thousands of people there. And I was one of them.

And it was a fun night in many ways. There's nothing wrong with listening to some music, enjoying some not-so-healthy-food and seeing more than a few really weird people out in public now and then. There can be something uplifting and reenergizing when you go out and have some simple, uncomplicated fun.

But the problem is that for many of those people, at least I would guess, that evening was pretty much what they look forward to over and over. They will attend another gathering - a bar, a patio, a concert, a backyard - where they will do pretty much the same thing - talk about the same old topics, have a few drinks and burgers, sit and listen to the same old music, try to impress somebody with some accomplishment and go home.

That's what I mean by cheap happiness. We settle for the same old thrills that may make us a little happy for a while or perhaps just dull some other pain and we think that's all there is.  Watch college and university students out on the town and you'll see what I mean. And often we lead our spouse or kids into the same lifestyle and never introduce them or ourselves to something more, something better, something richer.

Let me suggest a couple of ideas to help you to get in touch with a few opporutunities that will more likely bring you joy and add something to your life that's actually worth doing over and over.

First, take a deeper dive into something.  If you like music, great, but become a student or expert or follower or healthy fanatic. Perhaps you like to hike, then go climb a big mountain. If you are fascinated with a country, learn the language some and take a trip there.  If you have a skill, talent or resource that could help others then start volunteering, giving and serving and bring your spouse or kids along to participate.

Second, add variety to your fun.  Don't keep doing the same things over and over.  Perhaps do more by going to less. We love to travel but can't afford to be going all the time.  So we plan some bigger trips that we can look forward to but that also add some special locations to our itinerary.  We've gone to Alaska, Switzerland, Austria, France, British Columbia, the Smokie Mountains and the like.  Next month we're off to Yosemite National Park and San Francisco.

We do go a few places on a more regular basis but we can't stand just doing the same thing.

Third, ask God to give you a mission or ministry. I've been to Russian fifteen times and have a heart for the people there that I never dreamed would happen years ago.  Others have local commitments to help feed the hungry, help the homeless, work with special needs kids and the like.  It doesn't matter as long as you become invested in it and use your gifts, talents and resources.  It's this kind of involvement that changes lives, including yours!

So, don't settle at your house for cheap opportunities to feel a little better doing the same things everyone else is doing.  Because if you do you will someday look back and wonder what you did with your time.  But if you try something new, meaningful and unique you will more likely wonder why you didn't start sooner.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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