“Are you happy?” It was a silly question I asked my husband each day after he got home from work to gauge his mood. Over time, a funny thing happened. As my son learned to talk, he picked up on this phrase. Often times when we were out in public or meeting new people, the first thing he would say to them was, “Are you happy?” This question caught so many people off guard. The reaction was always the same. They would laugh, pause, think, smile and say, “Yeah, I’m happy…”
Recently I was reading a pre-release copy of an Ebook I was given by Ruth Soukup titled, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. The book challenged me to start thinking about all the societal myths I had accepted as truth for most of my life. Many of those myths were totally focused around the idea of The Good Life and how to get it.
Today I’d like to examine some of those myths and encourage you to make your own good life, your own reality. I’m hoping that if a preschooler comes up to you at the grocery store and asks, “Are you happy?”- you’ll have a real answer for them.
1. The Good Life Has Nothing to With More Money
It seems that some people believe that more money creates more happiness. I would argue that having enough money to provide your families’ needs is where you find the good life. Those nights that you peacefully lay your head down and know that your family is provided for.
Pursue contentment in your financial situation. If you don’t have financial peace, go after it until you get it. Work more if you need to, spend less if you can and pay off all your debts. It’s not about more, it’s about having enough.
2. The Good Life Has Nothing to Do With More Stuff
I believed for most of my life that more stuff would make me happy. We live in a consumer driven culture. Women are fighting daily battles of depression rooted in Pinterest envy. We want the biggest, the nicest and the best of most things. Even though some items make our lives easier, they don’t help us get to the good life any faster.
“Stuff” fills our lives with empty symbols of happiness that just can’t deliver. Choose to be content with and make the most of what you already have. Be your homes gatekeeper of what money goes out and what “stuff” comes in.
3. The Good Life Isn’t Trapped in Your Future
I’ve wasted so much time in my life thinking to the future with an anticipation that if I can just get to the next big thing, life will be perfect. The good life is a choice and it starts with choosing to be happy today, where you are. It’s wonderful to anticipate things. It’s another to ignore your good life today in anticipation of what might make you happy in the future.
In the words of Anna Nalick, “Life’s like an hourglass glued to the table…” Time is moving forward and you can’t go back.
Are you seeking the good life moments in your today? Are you finding joy in simple experiences? Like when the warm sun hits your face on a nice day? The simple experience of sharing a great meal with someone you love? A tender hug your child initiates?
Owning the Good Life
The truth I gleaned about The Good Life from this book is that it has everything to do with you. No matter where you are, what you have or who you are with– the good life is a choice.
It’s choosing to be aware. It’s choosing to be present. It’s choosing to be content with what you have. It’s finding that joy in everyday moments. It’s not letting work or stress steal your joy.
The good life is about your attitude. It’s not easy. It requires work, effort and focus. So I encourage you today to get rid of the misconceptions, bad relationships and negative thoughts in life that have been holding you back from your Good Life. It’s there, just waiting for you to reach out and take it.
My Good Life
In my own life, my peace and joy really come from a faith foundation. From knowing who I am in Christ, knowing that God loves me and being able to trust that when He says in the Bible that I’m His kid and He’s going to take care of me, that He will. I find hope in knowing that His promises are for me, I just need to receive them.
My faith doesn’t change my human brain wiring, it just changes my heart. I still struggle with jealously, negative thoughts and the desire to fill my life with unnecessary stuff.
My favorite part of Ruth’s book is when she talks about praying for contentment each day. Since I started praying that prayer, I can tell that contentment is starting to take root in my mind and it’s helping me change the way I see my life. Now when I walk into Target, I’m seeing all those trinkets and must have’s for what they really are. My Good Life is waiting, and I’m taking what’s mine.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
I received a free pre-release copy of Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. The thoughts and opinions expressed about the book are my own.