It is easy to think “if only I had more, I would be happier” or “if only I had this one thing, my life would be perfect”. We look at celebrities and wealthy people and think that their lives must be perfect. They always have the newest, greatest, best stuff. They go on vacation to exotic places. They get to do cool stuff that many of us only dream about.
We have to remember that you never know what their life is like on the inside. What may be a perfect picture to you might be an emotional disaster. And the pursuit of newer, better, greatest is exhausting and unattainable. You might eventually reach the top in one area of your life, but you are never going to be able to be the best of everything.
I think what we really want when we see people who have all the things we want is perceived freedom to do whatever we want. That if we had more money we would have more freedom and less restrictions. And with that freedom we expect that we will be happier and more fulfilled in life.
The reality is that stuff doesn’t make us happy.
In Philippians, Paul says that he has had all of the riches and respect that comes with wealth and has been starving and imprisoned. In both circumstances he has found that he can be happy because he has God in his corner. The hole we feel in our lives that drains us of happiness is filled by God.
God is the one that whispers to us constantly: you are loved, you are worthy, you are beautiful, you are good enough, you are as I made you. No matter what is going on in our lives we can curl up in the fact that we are fully and completely loved by God.
God’s love is what gives us satisfaction and contentment, not the stuff we spend our money on or the gifts we get.
I’m glad in God, far happier than you would ever guess—happy that you’re again showing such strong concern for me. Not that you ever quit praying and thinking about me. You just had no chance to show it. Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me—it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.
Philippians 4:10-14 MSG