Temporary happiness

In the last post, I looked at finding happiness in the journey. This time I want to look at pursuing temporary happiness, living a life just for hedonistic pleasures. The pursuits that rarely bring fulfilment but which we can so easily become trapped in. They are the ideas that easily deter us from what we are meant to be doing and who we are meant to be. Temporary happiness is something that I struggle with because it is the easiest option to turn to. However, it is something I am trying to make amends of in my life so that I can learn to find a fulfilment that is long lasting. As always, I will be looking at it from a faith perspective, Focusing on the Gospel of John and the account between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

John 4:13-14

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks that water I give them will never thirst, Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Trying to find the fulfilment in the wrong things will never give the security nor the contentment we want. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman who was trying to find purpose through relationship. Her relationships were not working out for her, she had gone through five husbands and was now with another man. I cannot speak for this woman but she must have had self-worth issues. In regards to her ever failing relationships, there was no contentment nor the chance to settle.

Similar situations are found within our daily lives, we do various things to try and find pleasure and contentment. However, many of us are left feeling empty and unfulfilled. We pursue alcohol, relationships, money and various other activities to attempt to find satisfaction. There is nothing wrong with having a few drinks or being in a relationship or enjoying things that bring you happiness. However, if your worth is only going to be determined by another person or materialistic/pleasure seeking activities you are only going to be disappointed. Everything is susceptible to change, nothing stays the same. Relationships can quickly end. Money can be as quickly lost as it is gained. Too much alcohol only leads to you feeling worse for wear the next day. People easily get bored of entertainment and need something else to fulfil them.

This was the issue that Jesus was dealing with, the pursuit of the wrong things.

The Samaritan woman was labelled right from the beginning. They were not accepted by the Jewish community, even though they adhered to similar beliefs. She would have also been seen as promiscuous due to her relationships. In general, they were a pretty isolated community. Jesus came to change that, he did not care about her past or her labels Jesus cared for her. What Jesus was bringing was inclusion not exclusion. She no longer had to believe that she was not worthy or that she did not fit in.

 

(4:21)

“Woman,” Jesus said, “believe me a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem.”

 

(4:23)

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.

 

Status, origin, etc would not matter. It would be authentic worship which would be led by the spirit. Not just empty words and actions. It would no longer be contained in one specific place.

Jesus is the same for us today. In no way does he want us to be unfulfilled, constantly pursuing things that make us question our worth and leave us unhappy. Over the past few years I have seen how people have disappointed me and how I have disappointed others. I was allowing them to have the say on who I should be and what I should pursue. Therefore, I was deterring from what I was meant to be doing and who I was meant to be. It was hard to deal with getting over finding my self-worth in people because that had been a massive part of my life. However,  I was never satisfied when I did pursue that and I am happier now that I have been detached from all those peop\le.

I am not perfect at all and I know I will constantly make mistakes in my life, I hope I will learn that my contentment can not be found in glazing over those mistakes. Rather finding redemption and salvation through the grace that Jesus gives. There is so much more life to be gained through Jesus and so much hope.

Going back to the account of the Samaritan woman. Not only did she gain new understanding and belief, so did the other people within her community. The account finishes with

V42 ‘They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said, “now we have heard for ourselves and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.

 

We must learn to pursue things that are so much more meaningful than what we have been doing. It can be so easy to miss out on opportunities to serve one another and to grow as a community because those ideals do not seem fun nor gratifying. If we choose to be ignorant to what is going on around us; then we are failing people who need help the most. That is something that I need to constantly remind myself too, that there is more than just pleasure seeking. That there is also purpose within the hard work, that it will not always be pleasant but there can be joy found along the way.

May we find hope in Jesus just as the Samaritan woman and her community did. Knowing that what Jesus gives will never leave us unfulfilled but will give us renewed purpose and hope. May you remember that Jesus does not care for the labels that have been put upon you through your life, Jesus just cares for you. May you find freedom and life through him.

Have a blessed week!

Love Victoria.

 

 

Finding satisfaction on your journey

20170817_200447

Many of us are in the pursuit of happiness, or at least contentment. I feel a lot of us forget to find happiness in the journey. The journey is never straight forward, and it can be hard to see the purpose as you travel along. Some of us will hit a lot more obstacles than others and most people will find their journey daunting. There are so many lessons to learn, through all the hardship there is always the chance to grow and develop. There should be satisfaction found as we travel along, as we keep moving forward may we find a joy that we are constantly pursuing what we want to do. Even if you are feeling so unfulfilled now, may you find peace and happiness as you continue your journey to find what you love.

As I mentioned, satisfaction should be found throughout the journey and not just in the goal. I do not know what your perspective on life is, but I know from mine I have spent many years being unhappy because I had not reached the goals I had. I was watching my siblings and friends pursue what they loved, and I could not keep up. Choosing to be unhappy made my perspective on life alter. I would often question myself what the point was, if I had no purpose how life would continue. Which is a sad state to be in because there was still so much beauty and life around me. However, my vision had become incredibly clouded with negativity so that I was blinded to the beauty around me.  I still had passions, but I was choosing to neglect those because they did not add up to how other people were fulfilling their lives. It is a woeful way to live to simply follow in other peoples’ footsteps. That is not the way we were intended to live. We can learn from others but do not be replicas of one another.

One aim that can so easily tear people apart is the pursuit of money. Money in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, it is a much-needed necessity in which to live. If our sole purpose is the pursuit of money over anything else, then that will be truly unsatisfying. It does not matter how much money you earn, you will always want more. You will do whatever you need to get it. If you chosoe to pursue what you love, as long as you have to money to get by I do not think being rich will be the main aim. I hope you can earnestly pursue what you love. Whether that be reading, writing, painting, music, walking, painting, etc.

Faith has helped me to in a way stay rooted. I understand that not everyone shares the same faith or ideals, but these truths have helped me in my life. I have not always been the most obedient at following them but they do help to give perspective on what is important.

Key passages:

Luke 12:15 ‘Then he said to them. “Watch out! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in abundance of his possessions’

Matthew 6:21 ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’

Romans 13:8 ‘Let no debt  remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.’

One quote that has given me perspective on how I live my life is that by Dave Ramsey and I think gives a stark reality to how we live within our society.

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.’

 We need to make sure that all our happiness is not simply placed in materialistic items or gains. Instead investing it in the passions we have and surrounding ourselves with people who love and support us for who we are.

Sometimes our dreams and passions will change along our journey. That is not a bad thing. Time has not been wasted, you can use the skills you have to drive you through this new passion or dream. Life is an adventure (sorry for that overused cliché) but one day is never the same as the next. No matter how monotonous your routine may be. Drive yourself to try something new and do not be afraid of failure for it is only evidence that you have tried. May you learn to find beauty and purpose in life, even in your hardest days. Be kind to yourself, you do not have to have it altogether just because those around you do. Just keep working hard and always try to pursue what you love.

Happiness can be found even in the simple pleasures, just because those around you are not happy does not mean you are not allowed to be. The world needs more kindness and happiness!

May you have blessed week. xx

To know grace!

Definition of grace: unmerited love of God towards man.20170419_131546

Grace is such a wonderful gift to receive, there is nothing within us that deserves that grace and yet God is still willing to give it. Grace can be a hard gift to receive, as it is a gift that is not so common among humankind. We always expect to pay for our mistakes and we expect to be condemned as people remember our faults. God does not work like that, condemnation is not of God. There is conviction, which appeals to the conscience that what you are doing is not in line with God’s will. It is not to condemn but to correct. The beauty behind the grace of God is that he never leaves us nor forsakes us, God is consistently faithful through all our highs and lows.

 

What does the Bible say about grace?

(Hebrews 4:16) ‘Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.’ It is the use of the word confidence that amazes me, that we need not be ashamed but we simply need to come as we are. It also shows that grace has the power to help us through the tough times too.

(Romans 3:24) ‘And we are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is Christ Jesus’ This verse is the reminder that grace cannot be earned, that is not the way it works. That it is a gift that can only be given through Jesus and the sacrifice that he for all humankind.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ’But he said to me ”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”’ This is one of my key verses, God does not see weakness as a bad thing but rather in as something that he can work through. I do not have to fear that I am not good at everything but that what I am called to do, that God’s grace will be sufficient to get me through whatever is ahead of me.

 

How have I seen God’s grace in my life?

Honestly, this is on a daily basis. The fact that I can enjoy life. That the past does not have to determine who I am or where I will end up. I see God’s grace ultimately in his faithfulness, I can tell you about countless times I have tried to walk away from my faith. Being unwilling to listen or to wait. I can tell you about the times I have tired to do stuff in Jesus name without any heart. I have chosen to be so unfaithful time after time and yet God has not given up on me. Each time I chose to come back and chose to be faithful, God gives me his unconditional love. There is no condemnation or remembrance of the past, it is just the present that is focused on. There is so much truth in what is proclaimed in (Psalm 139:9-10) ‘If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength support me.’ There is nothing that surpasses God, he is all knowing. God has a hope and purpose for me as well as he does for you but only when there is a willingness to receive it. God is so willing for us to be known as his children. I think I can be so consumed by the world and its desires that I never allow myself to focus on what will give me purpose.

 

For this past week I have been on this journey on reconnecting with my faith and that is why I find grace such an incredible gift. I had lost myself in being consumed with regrets and what could have been. I guess I felt hard done by and I put the blame at God’s feet. I had been in this state for months and like I have just talked about God’s faithfulness, it led me to going back to church. To be honest I was not expecting a lot, but I began to feel at peace through the worship. Then it got to the sermon and it was about focusing on things above. Instead of focusing on the reality of the situation choosing to focus on that there is more, Jesus gives life and fulfilment. He talked about how faith in Jesus will allow you to keep on going and about remembering not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. This is truthfully the message I needed to hear, my mind had become so preoccupied with all this negative thinking that I was not thinking on the truth at all.

One other blessing, is that last Friday night the new Hillsong Y&F album was released, and I was amazed at the truth that it proclaimed. The first song I listened to helped to put everything into perspective.  I will share some of the lyrics

And I’d been ‘round in circles

Living for the moment

I know I ran so far

Was acting kind of crazy

Coming up with empty

Felt like I had lost my heart

Now I’ve found a love that

Is clearer than the deep blue skies

It’s true you were right there

I can see it in the days gone by

Hillsong Y&F- Days gone by

These words just represented the past few months, trying to do life on my own and finding fulfilment through other means. I just did not feel fulfilled, I just felt empty and emotional. I am thankful for the truth that even through the roughest day, God was still working through each of them leading to the moment in which I would realise his love and his grace. It is still a work in progress at the moment, there are parts of me that want to rebel about this goodness because I am just not use to it but I know to go back to how I was living would not bring fulfilment.

 

Some of you may be thinking about how I could fall out of faith but still be writing blogs about God. I guess there was a willingness to try and believe the truths that I was writing. I wanted to help others but also, I think I was trying to work it out for myself too. I pray that God has still used those blogs to minister to people. In the next few months I want to be doing more authentic blogs that do come from the heart.

 

I pray that if you have been struggling for a very long time either in reconnecting with your faith or if you have no faith at all, that you would just be willing to open your heart to God’s grace and love. As it states in that song that God has been with you through all your days and has not given up on you. He loves you, you must be willing to receive that. Life does not get simpler just because you have a faith, it does give you a better hope and perspective. May you remember to focus on things above, that all we see now is not all that will be. Grace is a wonderful gift but do not take it for granted, learn to live in the freedom that Jesus gives. It states in 1Corithians 7:23 ‘You were bought at a price, do not become a slave of human beings.’ Human beings will only ever take because all they want to do is consume that is just the way life is. Learn to find your peace in a world that is so crazy. I know I began to find my joy and happiness when I put my faith back into action.

You are so loved and beautiful. May you have an incredible week, God bless.