We live in a culture that is very self-absorbed. Self-absorption leads to depression. So is it any wonder that we have an epidemic of depression in our society.
Our culture is also very materialistic and perfectionistic. We are constantly being assaulted by the media with messages that we are not good enough. We are told that unless we buy certain products, or look and act in certain ways, we will not make it in life. We are conditioned to see our glass perpetually empty, and never full.
We allow ourselves to get swept up in this tide of negativity without ever questioning what is really going on. All the peace and joy gets sucked right out of our lives. Like hamsters on our wheels, we ride an endless merry-go-round, looking for the magic missing piece that will make us happy. Folks, it’s all a lie! There is no missing piece! This is nothing but spiritual warfare. It is one giant deception. And, unfortunately, many of us are falling for it!
The truth is that we need only one thing to be happy. That one thing we need is the Love of God. We already have that! We are wasting our lives in fruitless pursuits of things that we don’t need. We are squandering our precious resources (our time, our effort, and our money) on distractions, counterfeits of the real thing. And in so doing, we are missing out on the true joy that God has in store for our lives. Truth be told, you already have all you need to be happy in your life right now!
If you don’t believe me, try this little experiment. What do you have to lose? I promise that it will be well worth your time and effort. Here’s what I want you to do. Get yourself a little notebook. It can be plain or fancy. This will become your gratitude journal. I want you to use it to catalog the blessings in your life. You can start by acknowledging the basic things like good health, or a safe place to live. These are things that we often take for granted. Then you can think of people in your life that are blessings. This can include family members, friends, mentors; you get the picture. Then you can include things outside of yourself like the beautiful day, a fragrant flower, or a bird’s song. Once you get going it gets easy to find more and more blessings. For instance, you get a good parking place or the last box of your favorite cereal on the shelf. You start to notice how good your life really is.
As you begin to catalog your blessings, make a special effort to thank God in your heart. You will soon become very aware of two things. The first is that there is no way you can catalog all the blessings. You begin to be overwhelmed by the goodness in your life. The second follows, you begin to know in your heart of hearts that God really does love you! You begin to trust in God’s Love, His Protection, and His Provision for your life. This knowledge gives you the confidence to face your life head on. No longer do you try to get through life under your own steam. You now know that you have the Power behind the universe on your side. You have the confidence to say with St. Paul, “If God is for me, who can be against me?” (Rom 8:31) You now have the peace and joy of God in your life! This is the key to personal happiness.