How to Supersize Your Happiness Today by Jennifer Dukes Lee
“That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.” Galatians 5:26a (MSG)
Recently, I ran across an old photograph taken when I was dating Scott, whom I’d eventually marry.
In the photo, Scott has his arm around my waist. I’m smiling, but it looks like a smile I’m not feeling inside. I remember why. Before our date, I stood in front of my mirror with a mascara wand, nervously pinpointing flaws and wishing I were someone a little … different.
When I saw the photograph 20 years later, I took pity on the younger me. She was beautiful. She was falling in love. She had a great job offer in front of her, and a few days later, she would take it.
She should have been happy! Instead, she was missing her own life.
Hindsight is a terrific teacher.
Looking at the photo, I thought about all the happiness we give away while wishing for something different.
This year, I took a dare from God to cultivate more happiness in my life. During my Happiness Dare, I identified four major Happiness Hijackers. One of those hijackers tries to convince us of this: If you could just be like her, then you’d be happy.
We calculate how much it would cost us to get there: how much hustle, how many Fitbit steps, how many promotions, etc. And then we live like machines instead of people. How exhausting!
At the root, we’re playing comparison games. The apostle Paul called comparison what it really is: pointless. “That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives” (Galatians 5:26a).
This is what I’m learning: If we want to be happier today, let’s stop wishing for someone else’s life and discover happiness in the life we have. We begin by halting comparison.
Let’s see others as imperfect people going through some of the same challenges we are. Comparison is rooted in idealizing people rather than humanizing them.
Furthermore, let’s say another woman gets what we want. We could actually be genuinely happy for her. Our happiness is automatically limited if we can be happy only for those dearest to us.
Let’s not wait until we come across an old photo, only to realize we walked right past the happy that was in front of us all along.
Sister, go easy on yourself. You are a person — not a machine! You don’t have to work so hard for the happiness that’s already yours.
Let this be our declaration:
I am a person.
I am not a machine, spreadsheet, agenda or résumé.
I have a heartbeat, skin, scars and a soul.
I am a person.
My worth isn’t calculated in efficiencies, results or ladders climbed. I am not the sum of my accomplishments — or the sum of my mistakes. I am not my ambition, energy level, approval rating, mass appeal or worth to the company store. I am not an A-plus or D-minus. I am not a mess or a miscalculation.
I am not a mistake. Rather, I am a miracle. And so are you.
Because I am a person, made of love in the hands of God.
I will be a person today. I will be me. I will resist the urge to believe I’ve got to fight for my piece; God says there’s more than enough to go around.
I will see the best in others and recognize the best in myself.
I will reach for virtue more than trophies, dignity more than stardom. I will choose encouragement over envy. I will rejoice with those who rejoice.
I will stand tall on the inside, even if I’m feeling weak on the outside.
I am a person, a citizen of the Kingdom, where there is unending grace for me. Because I am a person, and I belong to Jesus.
Dear God, remind us that you created us as people, not machines. Remind us happiness isn’t bought in a store, earned by our hustle or found by trying to be someone we’re not. Thank You, Lord, that happiness is found in You alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Galatians 6:4, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: If I could just be like her. How have you experienced this Happiness Hijacker? Make a list of three things you can appreciate about the life God created for you. Studies show that gratitude significantly boosts happiness. Ask God to help you focus on where you can be thankful today. © 2016 by Jennifer Dukes Lee. All rights reserved.
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