Be Happy - Part 6
Updated: Jun 3
Summary of the book The Law of Happiness by Dr. Henry Cloud
People view their work in three ways:
1) They see their work as a job. It provides a paycheck and a living.
2) They see their work as a career. The purpose of the career is advancement to bigger and better things.
3) They see their work as a calling. The purpose of their job is for a higher purpose which contributes to the greater good.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the person that views their work as a calling is the happiest of the three. Where does a calling come from, though? Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God has placed in each of us a calling, and some of us might experience many callings throughout life.
As a Christian, I caution that you don’t make the mistake believing that your “calling” must only take place inside the church. This couldn’t be further from the truth. God calls us to take what we learn inside the church and go into the world. As one pastor told me, “I teach you every Sunday what God is saying, but then you take what you have learned, and you are the one that actually goes into the trenches on a daily basis.”
The author of The Law of Happiness makes an important point in helping people realize their calling. He says, “…your sense of calling comes from realizing that your life and your talents are gifts from God.” When we use the talents God has given us, we find true joy and happiness. Someone might be an incredible painter. When they paint, they feel joy and happiness. They are using the talent God has given them. They are living out their calling. We may discount our ability to be a great painter and wonder, “How can this be God’s calling on my life?” It really doesn’t matter if we know the “how.” God may choose to reveal to us how our ability to paint helps others, and He may not. What matters is that we are doing what we are called to do, which ultimately makes us happy.
So, my question to you is, “What makes you happy?” It’s usually not hard to figure out. My husband, who works in the investment world, loves using this extreme example when talking with young people who are trying to figure out their future. He says, “Figure out what you love to do in life, then figure out a way to make money at it. Not the other way around. Don’t chase the dollar. Chase the passion. If your passion is spending all day on the beach, then save enough money to get yourself down to one of the Caribbean islands and buy a jet ski. Start renting out that jet ski. Soon, you will have enough money to buy two jet skis. Eventually, you will have a nice business and, guess what? You are living on the beach all day. You may be living in a shack and eating beans while you try to survive, but you will be fulfilled and happy, because you chased your passion.”
The point of this example is to follow your heart. If we are following our heart, then we are most likely following the path God has set before us. When we are in the center of God’s will and doing the work He has planned for us, then we find true joy. When we live with true joy, we act as God’s hands and feet to minister to the world around us.
Many people, especially women, minimize the work they do. Whether we are full-time volunteers, businesswomen or stay-at-home moms, we often fall into the trap of thinking our work is trivial. Or, that we are not making a difference. If we are doing what God has called us to do, though, then we ARE making a difference.
There are seasons in life. Some of you reading this post are still in your teen years. Others are newlyweds, and many are on the other side of the empty nest. I want to specifically say to the moms who are in their child-rearing years, “You are awesome, and you are irreplaceable!” Your days consist of running errands, doing laundry, making dinner and keeping the house from falling apart. Many hold a full-time job to help ends meet. These moms spend the few precious hours they have doing what others want them to do, instead of fulfilling their own dreams. If they are stay-at-home moms, they can oftentimes feel a void in their mental stimulation. They can get caught in the trap of feeling like their work doesn’t matter. Yet, they know this is where God has placed them, and if they are honest with themselves, they love what they are doing. We are truly happy being moms, because we are living our calling.
I used this story in another post, but it’s worth repeating. “When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town, so I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.” –An Unknown Monk (1100 A.D.)
Moms, you can change the world by first, working on the things in your life that need to be worked on, and then, through your positive influence, help enact change in your family! What you do is not trivial, it is powerful. Dr. Cloud says, “When we realize that we are working for God, every task becomes significant and meaningful. We are stewards over his gifts, and we each have a calling.” And I will remind you, our families are a gift, and we need to take our role seriously. Figure out your passion, follow your passion, and live the life God created you to live!
Together with you,