Saturday, November 1, 2014

How Much Does it Cost to be Happy? Learning to Embrace Simplicity

Are ya feeling happy?....Most of the time?

Ever find yourself sliding into a state of glum?

What do you do when life begins to feel dreary, dull?

I wonder... how many of us are guilty of using a little retail therapy at one time or another when gloom is hovering overhead and has threatened to darken our day? If you just had a flash of  Isla Fisher frantically grabbing a pair of boots in a scene from the film Confessions of a Shopoholic and are ready to proudly shout out an emphatic...

"Whoa, that is NOT me! 
Don't enjoy shopping for clothes, accessories or cosmetics at all. Not a Diva, not me!"

You may want to hold off on busting-a-move. Let's take a look at what the word "retail" really means. 

Retail is the sale of goods and services from individuals or businesses to the end-user.

Hmmm, retail = sale of ANY goods or services. 

Okay? Still not sure? Well, let's wade a little deeper... goods and services are the outcome of human efforts to meet the wants and needs of people. 

Goods and Services would/could be: food, a new song for your playlist, coffee, socks, going to a movie, a pet, a haircut, a new car, a new house... oh, the possibilities are simply endless. Now, if we rewind to my original question of... Have you ever participated in Retail Therapy to help you feel better?  I am guessing every single one would have to agree to the fact, indeed we have.

I mean really, with our culture swooning us with the latest, fastest, most improved technology. The daily reveal of the hottest new product, that we simply can't function in our daily lives without. The more effective work out method or health product to keep us in our fittest, best looking condition. The new trends in fashion that you long to showcase, avoiding being left feeling like a slumpy dog around your friends. And let us not forget the cost of education...we must have all of the information we can possibly stuff into our brains to be informed in the areas we care about, with the extra bonus of impressing WHATEVER COST. I mean it simply makes us better people right? Isn't that the lie that we have been making a silent agreement with?

Wouldn't you agree the world we surround ourselves with tells us there is a certain look to having it all together? No matter what "style" category you personally fit into - a nerd, hipster, a fashionista, sporty, earthy, what have you. There is a look to it. You must have certain clothes, items or knowledge to pull it off. To feel good about yourself.

And really don't we believe having it all together brings us into a state of happy? Is there the slightest chance we buy into the belief that if we can't have it all together, we can at least impress others with the appearance that we do...which would make us SEEM happy?

I think we see the counterfeit of this in our head, but still...

Does this cycle of trying leave you in a space where you really end up feeling happy with yourself?

With your life?

Or more, like, exhausted.

How long does the joy of your latest purchase last before you feel the need  of acquiring something else? Doing something else? Being something else? Knowing something else?

This leads to a more, MORE, MORE pattern. We must keep trying until we finally find the precise spot where we possess happiness, or are perceived as happy? Go bigger, go better!!! Someday you will finally arrive at your destination.

Or will you?

I am thinking not.

No, you will not.

I will not.

No one will.

EVEN IF you get what you want.

It just won't EVER work. In the blink you receive the desired possession, the next blink will leave your eyes gazing upon something else desired.

No matter how hard you try, how many hours you work, how much money you spend looking great. It will not bring happiness. The harder you try to fill up your life with a counterfeit, the more empty you will end up feeling. The bigger, the better, the higher the cost - the deeper the void.

I am certain of it...

Encouraging, huh?

1 Peter 3:3-4  Don’t try to make yourselves beautiful on the outside, with stylish hair or by wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes. Instead, make yourselves beautiful on the inside, in your hearts, with the enduring quality of a gentle, peaceful spirit. This type of beauty is very precious in God’s eyes.
{Source: Pinterest}

Let me get even more encouraging....

The bar of "BEING" is rising with each generation. Our houses are getting bigger, cars per household are increasing, recreational vehicles are on the rise, annual vacations are a requirement if you are anybody. If you are an actual somebody, you will visit someplace tropical or European at least once every few years. There is a COST to feeling RECOGNIZED as a SOMEBODY in our world, people.  We silently believe we must do GREAT things, or have GREAT things, to be recognized as GREAT by ourselves and others.

Do we actually? Is this truth?

I would be surprised if this was not resonating with you on some level. It may be a little painful to face head-on, yet you understand it on a gut level. Girls, we are striving so hard because we are starving for TRUE satisfaction. For TRULY being accepted right where we are - right AS we are, bare of anything or heaped over and stuffed with everything. We long to be seen as great in our TRUE BEAUTY, the very core of who we are.

Deep down most of us probably know all of the things in the world will never fully satiate us. Oh, perhaps we will pretend we don't know better, we will keep trying and we will starve ourselves unto death as we are in the process of stuffing every.single.thing we can into our lives to create happiness. Stuffing to Starve. Oh,, when will it stop? PLEASE, make it STOP!

The first step to filling that empty, starving place inside of you is to admit He, Jesus Christ, is right there. Talk to Him, get to know Him. Start reading some Bible Verses. Ask Him to reveal himself to you. Yeah, starting a relationship with Him is that simple. If you already have the relationship but are lacking the depth - talk to him, get to know Him better- plug into some good teaching (love Beth Moore, Stasi Eldredge has a terrific new book - Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You)

Embracing True Simplicity starts by getting down to the basics. Reducing the "stuff" will help you to free up some time to add some quality. So, are you ready to release your grip on all of the stuff you are stuffing yourself with?  Well then, reach out to God for wisdom on where to start embracing simplicity.  God is at the heart of everything that makes you great! He designed you with perfection. He knows what will fill the void and make you shine.

It's not that fashion, health, style and education can't be a piece of who you are, but they won't ever MAKE you. They so quickly get wonky when they become our measure of identity and success. Without the creator of us speaking into what we are meant to be, we find we have flip flopped our lives to a state of upside-down that, like mentioned earlier, retail therapy has no hope of tipping topside back up. Don't get overwhelmed,  it is as simple as an ask, He will show you bit by bit.

If you would like to read up on some practical ideas of how to start simplifying, the article link below by Relevant Magazine is a must.

A Guide to Living with Less by Relevant Magazine

Living With Less: America's Quest for Simplicity

-Simply Sublime

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