I hate it when I’ve been cleaning the house all day long and then realize it’s only been fifteen minutes.
I’ll admit, cleaning is not my happy place. Of course, I had five kids in seven years and “clean” has always been a bit…well…relative. Mostly because it would somewhat depend on which relative was doing the cleaning. Not that we allowed food in the kids’ rooms or anything [clearing throat], but I do remember having to say to a teen at least once, “Son. You have to clean your room. We’re out of spoons.”
When my three boys were teenagers, they shared a bathroom that they “cleaned” themselves. Three. Teenage. Boys. Every once in a while I would go in to check on it. I would stare for a few minutes, fighting back hyperventilation. Then I’d think: Yeah, maybe a controlled burn. Then I would quickly exit and head to the kitchen for sanctuary with a really strong pot of coffee.
Ah, the coffee pot. Anytime someone tells me to go to my happy place, I still instinctively head there. And who doesn’t want a happy place?
Happy places might actually be rather relative too. When Jesus began His Sermon on the Mount, the first thing He taught was the list of Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12). Twelve beautiful “blesseds.”
The word translated “blessed” is “makarios,” which means contented, blissful…“happy.” But when we look at the list, we see the very first two are poor in spirit and mournful. His list takes us all the way to “persecuted.” Sounds like anywhere but a happy place.
What Jesus was speaking was revolutionary. It changed the way people saw and understood happiness. People who don’t follow Christ think happiness means doing whatever they want whenever they want to do it. They think it means having money and fame and power. Maybe even a clean house and a full pot of coffee. But Jesus taught that we won’t find happiness there. If we want “blessedness”—happiness—we need to think differently than the world does. We need to think like Jesus does. It means engaging an entirely different mindset.
Paul said, “So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth,” (Colossians 3:1-2, HCSB).
Our happy place? It’s where Jesus is. Not where circumstances are perfect and clean and caffeinated. That Greek word “makarios” speaks of being happy in a way that doesn’t depend on our situation. That makes sense since our ability to be truly satisfied comes as we understand that our soul is impoverished apart from the righteousness we have in Christ and we mourn our sin—the first two Beatitudes. Knowing Jesus makes us look at every one of those Beatitudes in a different light.
Lord, help us set our minds on you and think differently than the world does. Show us every place pride and worldliness has crept into our thinking and behavior. Make us look more like You. May we experience happiness exactly the way You’ve designed it, all for Your glory.
Living His way. I’ve learned that’s the only truly happy place.
And on a side note, I also learned when my kids were teens that before I took on their bathroom, I should make sure I had plenty of coffee. Also all my immunizations.