Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Habit of Happiness

I was trying to make room in my overcrowded bookcase and thought I'd purge a few books that I did not love or those that I had bought but never gotten around to reading. I have a hard time getting rid of books; to me, every book has value. Of course, this may not be true but even ones that I disagree with at times have been beneficial.

Some books are too "women" oriented and I don't view myself super girly and all that. (I suppose this is one area I'd do well in trying a bit harder at) So, the easiest ways to purge a book is to look and see if it has "women' in the title.

Have you noticed that most books created for women are almost like a "lite" version of the real thing? I'd rather just read the real thing!

Yet I do see the value to addressing women's issues and seeing things more in that realm. Truly, there is a difference between man and women. I know this. It's quite evident yet it bothers me when things are just dumbed down and marketed to women in more digestible, easier to read ways.

Of course, not all books are like that. Some are just truly addressing the things that women go through. Like being a mother. I often forget that is my God given role and it's utterly important.

So, one of the books I almost purged what Elizabeth George's A Woman After God's Own Heart. I daresay if I read this book I just might hate it, but only because I fall so short of it.

As I pondered getting rid of it, I opened it up and my eyes fell on this phrase: Habit of Happiness. And it's a choice. Its work. It's prayer. It's not just a feeling, it's something cultivated and sought after.

Often I think that it's not true happiness if I have to work and will my way to it but perhaps I'm wrong?

I've posted a few days ago about rediscovering joy, about amazing grace and now I'm being stretched to realize a bit more. I think that one of the reasons I struggle with forgiveness/grace is because I expect much. I know we are supposed to give expecting nothing but I find that hard to do! If I search deep enough, my actions, words all have a motive that usually centers around me.

In Elizabeth George's book she writes that a heart that gives is required of us. We are servant and goes on to say that we should have a heart that is giving, generous, expecting nothing in return and a heart of fun.

The bad thing about books like this is that in the end, I'm just trying to go through a checklist, and I fail. I fail so badly! I'm not saying I shouldn't even try; I know I should try and my life will be blessed for doing these things, being a good wife and mother, friend etc. yet sometimes I think I'm missing something. What is the balance of doing things, being obedient and doing things out of love for the Lord?


  1. Oh my goodness Victoria! I was just finishing up writing some thoughts on this very idea, and decided to check in on the great iPad debate at Challies, then saw your name and comment and thought "Hey!!! I bet I know who that is!" Then, I found your blog and found this.

    You are not off base with the womens' book thing! No disrespect to Liz George or the many women who've been blessed by her work, but I have had the same frustration. And, yes, have had the same book, and pitched it. :) The idea I've been writing/thinking about, and that I'm reworking my blog to focus on, is that the surest path to both joy and godliness, whether as a wife, mother, friend, etc., is understanding what Paul means in place like Romans 8, where he says that the Holy Spirit is IN us. If we belong to God, if we have repented of our sins and believe that Jesus, God in the flesh, lived and died forus, then Jesus' Spirit is in us, and God see us as in Him. Our identity begins there. The Spirit who is in us is the same Holy Spirit who was in Jesus, and who enabled Him to live a perfect life by constant communion with His Heavenly Father. The more we do the same - pursue communion with God - the more He enable us, through the Spirit who is in us, to walk as He walked. We talke more like Him, think more like Him, act more like Him, because He's in us. We still sin, because we still have our flesh, the remnant of our old self that we still have to deal with. But God no longer defines us by our sin. He defines us by the fact that we belong to Him. We're His children, and He loves and helps us the way He loves and helped Jesus when He was on earth. We just need to ask Him. All the time.

    Does that make sense or sound at all helpful?

    You're inspiring me to bite the bullet and post what I've been writing to my new blog. Take a look and let me know what you think.

  2. Oops. :) Here's the link.