Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I think the saying "happiness is a journey, not a destination" is a profound truth.  It may sound like a trite cliché that looks great on a sign you hang on your wall, but I propose that it's a good guiding motto for life.  Too often I've lived with the wrong mindset that I'd be happy if this person would change, or that circumstance in my life were different.  Happiness became as elusive as chasing the wind.  There were two events in my life that dramatically changed that way of thinking for me. 

The summer I turned fifty I went to the beach by myself overnight.  I knew there were some things twisted up inside my heart that could only be straightened out with a good long talk with God while I walked by the sea.  My heart was full of unforgiveness and bitterness towards others and about circumstances in my life that I was unhappy about.  I can take you to the exact spot on the beach where God spoke to my heart these three simple words, "Build your life".  He gave me the understanding that I had been focusing on all of the unchangeable things in my life, other people and certain circumstances that I had no control over, while I had been ignoring things I could change. Shortly after that I quit a job that had become way too stressful and which was limiting my availability for ministry at our church.  I also began pursuing things I love to do,  such as writing and photography.  
Not long after that trip to the beach, I also began to keep a gratitude journal, which I have now been keeping for over six years.  Every day I take notice of at least three things to be thankful for and I write them in my journal. Each Sunday evening, I write a blog post about all of the blessings that I counted from the previous week.

It was those two things, choosing to shift my focus to the things I could change about my life rather than focusing on what I could not change, and learning to see and give thanks for the many daily blessings in my life, that caused me to find happiness in the journey of my life.

(You can pre-order my friend Jennifer Lee's new book The Happiness Dare.  Find out how here!)

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  1. Such wisdom - taking the beach trip and offering your heart to God. Enjoying the visit with you via #thoughtprovokingThursday.

    1. Thank you so much for popping over from Lyli's!

  2. Sometimes we need that time and space to just straighten it out with God. You describe it so well- so glad He was clear with you. Thanks for sharing the wisdom (I'm loving the Happiness Dare book as well!!)

    1. "Straighten it out with God" is exactly what happens for me every time I get away and take a long walk on the beach and talk things through with God. I need a lot of straightening, evidently!

  3. Great post! It is easy to think happiness depends on our circumstances and to be constantly disappointed, waiting for things to change, but changing our attitude and looking for things to be grateful for makes a big difference. I'm enjoying the book too!

  4. One of the reasons I wanted to buy my little, vintage trailer was so I could head to the beach for a personal retreat. Maybe that can happen one of these days. It's a great place to spend time with God! Thank you for redirecting my focus. I've been thinking I need to 'resurrect' my gratitude journal these days to help me get through the muddle of everything that demands my focus and energy.

    1. A quiet time alone at the beach sounds heavenly!


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